Hold Your Head High

With the body done, save for the binding, its time to turn my attention to the neck. I decided to go with a less traditional neck wood (although it is a little more common on custom basses), and used a 5-way laminate of walnut with maple stripes. Normally I would use a scarf joint for the headstock for strength and to conserve wood; but, since there are multiple grain directions in the laminations, and since I had some walnut that had some unusable bits (sapwood, knots, etc.), I decided to skip that step and cut everything directly form the glue-up. (How’s that for an extended sentence, all you grammar fans out there!) The first step was, obviously, the glue up. The various laminations were milled and planed, glue was spread and Clamp, Clamp, Clamp, the wrists are aching!

After the glue had cured, I took it over to the table saw and squared everything up. This step is crucial, since the tenons, bolt holes, truss rod slot, etc. must be accurate.

From the block, I drilled the holes for the bolts and cross dowels. Then I routed out the channels for the truss rod and carbon fiber reinforcement strips (very helpful to keep the longer bass neck on the straight and narrow). The tenon was cut on the table saw with a tenoning jig. While cutting the cheeks of the tenon, I angle the blade inward, so that when I do the final fitting and angling of the neck, there is only the outer contact area to adjust, rather than a large surface area that would need to be chiselled and sanded to fit.

Finally, with all of the joinery completed, the basic shape can be rough sawn at the band saw. The very last rough operation is to angle the heel, thinning it at the bottom.

With the carbon fiber strips glued in and the truss rod fitted (but not glued), the joinery can be tested.

With all of the joinery and rough shaping done, the side can be tapered and the headstock veneer glued and the head routed to shape. I am using an offcut of figured walnut from the back stock for the head veneer, with the MOP Acorn logo already inlaid.

Binding, shaping and finishing to come.

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