Getting a head start

This summer’s main project is a classical build. Since the traditional neck to body joinery is a Spanish heel, with the sides let into slots cut in the heel, the construction timeline dictates that the main parts of the neck need to be done first. So, after gluing up the rough blank from Spanish cedar, the design of the headstock starts. I tried to draw upon various models from the classical tradition, as well as incorporating elements from my own previous headstock designs. So, I came up with this:

Since there is typically no inlay in a classical headstock, it is the shape itself that is the hallmark of the builder. Being satisfied with this design, I glued on the overlays (and underlay), and began to rough cut the outline. An errant saw cut got too close to the little tip at the top, which meant a redesign was required. At first I was going to go with a three lobe design, using the original idea, just without the tip. But, after refining it closer, I could see that that wasn’t going to work.

So, I added some curves to the outer lobes; again, drawing inspiration from historic builders.

That resulted in a design that I liked even better than my original concept.

Next, the tuner post holes were drilled, and the access slots were drilled, cut, shaped and ramped. Some finish sanding and a little shellac to seal everything and show the true color of the Rosewood, and the head is finished.

Now, to move from head to toe.

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