Minibass neck and headstock

I started off today’s work session by getting stung on the arm by this little b*stard. Not a good way to begin.

Now that I’ve received the tuners and truss rod I can get going on the neck and headstock.

I secured the neck to the bench with double sided tape and then, to the right hand side, a piece of straight parallel timber as a guide. The position of piece to the left is less important because it is only there to keep the router baseplate level. Note where I trimmed out the corner of the right hand piece so that it would fit around the headstock – so that I can rout the full length of the neck.

I centred the 6mm cutter on the neck’s centre-line and checked it along the full length of the neck.

I clamped on an MDF stop, so that the cutter would stop at the right place on the neck, making sure the truss rod slot was big enough but no bigger than necessary.

Here is it after the first two passes.

And finally with the truss rod fitted. Note that the nut end is a couple of millimeters wider than the main part of the truss rod. I adjusted the side guide in and out a couple of mm to enlarge the slot to fit. There was a tiny part of tear out on the left side but this will be completely covered by the fretboard so no harm done.

Now on to the headstock. I had sketched out a rough shape on paper, aiming to keep the tuners as close as possible together. I really want to give the impression of this being a small stubby bass and the squat/wide headstock shape will be a key part. I transferred the sketch to MDF and tested it out. I was happy with it so this became the headstock template.

On the bandsaw I rough cut the headstock to shape.

And this shows the evolution of the headstock, from paper to template to neck blank.

I trimmed the ends of the headstock and neck templates, to ensure they fitted together neatly and attached them to the neck blank with my indispensable double-sided tape

A few passes round with the router and this is the neck ready for the next stage.

It is slightly rough around the scarf joint because it is not possible to get the router to run smoothly across the change in angle, and keep the bearing in touch with the template. This is no problem though because this area will be getting extensively carved once I’m ready to start profiling the neck.

The next stage is to mount the fretboard but, before I can do that I need to install the inlaid fretmarkers. I’m waiting for the arrival of a set of plug cutters so that I can cut neat rounds of contrasting hardwood to glue into the fretboard. Once the inlays are in I’ll glue the fretboard to the neck, trim it to shape, sand in the radius and then install the frets. Once they’re in I can profile the neck, cut the angled neck pocket into the body and the finishing post will be in sight.

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