Mahogany flowing under my fingers

The last couple of days have been spent carving the neck. Once again, like most luthier tasks, it’s all hand work, with rasp, file and sandpaper. Oh, sure, you can use some fancy-schmancy computer aided carving machine, and get a perfect neck like the big boys, but, really, where’s the fun in that? Where’s the soul, where’s the love? Where’s the tendonitis? Actually, it is rather enjoyable and rewarding, coaxing the curves out of the blocks of mahogany that were carefully glued up. It’s also where some of the artistry comes in to play. The body is shaped to a form, but the neck is all by feel; finding the most comfortable shape for the hand, deciding on how the heel will flow from the neck, finessing the transition from the neck to the headstock. The only critical measurement is to make sure to leave just enough wood under the truss rod channel, around an 1/8th of an inch. (More than that, and the truss rod loses its ability to make adjustments easily; less, and the structure is compromised, and the truss rod might break through.)

So, the shaping is done; although I expect to fiddle with it until the final assembly, tweaking, smoothing, and sanding, trying to get it juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuusssssssssssssssssssst right. Next comes the soundboard glue up and its bracing.

neckbackneckshaped

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