I like putting a c-shape on my necks, because that's what I like to play. I've notice a lot of builders just do a round over on the corners of their 1" x 2". To me, they're like baseball bats. I like playing them sometimes, but it's not what I prefer.
I know I can't build fast enough to have an inventory for Christmas sales, if I take the time to rasp out a c-shape. For those of you selling, how are you shaping your necks? How long does it take you to build a ready-for-sale CBG?
I use a draw-knife and rasp. Then finish with orbital sander and then hand sand.Must be aware of the grain direction when using the dknife but makes a smoother shape if one is very careful. Granted, that increases build time but I like learning how to use some of the traditional tools such as the draw-knfe.
I do it much the same way as Ron Lutz with mostly hand tools. The 1-2 hours doing this by hand is my favorite part of building. When I need to hurry (I hate that) I'll use a roundover bit in the router like many other folks. It makes a fine neck once you get used to the feel of it but it's certainly not my favorite way to do it. My total time from start to finish for most CBG's is about 12 hours for fretless and 15 hours for fretted. I always try to avoid any kind of production line mentality like making 12 necks exactly the same and then attaching them to 12 identical boxes. The fun and creative spark disappears when I've done that in the past.
I use a router with a 1/2" roundover bit to start, then use a rasp, utility blade to scrape. Finish it off with sandpaper.
Some hardware stores sell Hickory sledge hammer handles that are rounded nicely or broom handles. You can cut a flat side on a bandsaw or table saw for fret boards or leave them round with a high nut/bridge for playing slide.
A roundover bit will make a perfectly playable neck. Just takes a bit of getting used to.
I also prefer a C neck. My method for shaping is as follows. If I am tapering the neck to be narrower at the nut I cut the fret slots and glue the fretboard to the neck. I then cut the taper on a bandsaw. I use a flap wheel on an angle grinder to rough shape. Followed by a rasp, orbital sander, then hand sand. I have a piece of floor sander paper on a piece of plywood to level the bandsawn taper. Then more handsanding, running my hand over the neck until it feels right. Add frets.
Total time to build a neck like this is probably 6 hours. this includes scarf joint, adding headstock wings. and headstock shaping. I don't care what tools I use, I am just looking for the best result.
I guess I am cursed coming from a 6 string background, but I like good guitars.
Total build time is 20 to 25 hours if I build a body. I like to build one at a time.
The fastest I can build a basic guitar is 12 to 15 hours like Jim.
I sell a few mainly to keep the pile at home small.
Yes your right about coming from a guitar background, you end up trying to make every neck like a guitar neck.
The thing about these CBG necks is they don't need to be tapered since they have less width and the shape can be larger to make them more comfortable.
My fist couple necks were tapered, then I just started leaving them the same width all the way. I like a C shape over the square or D shape. Want to try a V shape too. Also want to try out one of those Hickory sledge hammer handles, they're almost oval shaped.
I build them both ways, but you're right it doesn't really matter.
Yeah Milt, 12 to 15 hours is on a cigar box body. If I make the body it adds another few hours. I've got to get a bunch ready for pre Christmas shows so I'll likely revert to the roundover bit non tapered neck method. These often go to non players who think they make a cool gift and this way I can sell a bit cheaper. The bottom line for me is to make a fun, playable instrument that folks will have fun with and play cool tunes.
I've built for people who just want to hang them on their wall for whatever reason. Even built one as a clock. But I'm like you everyone of these guitars cans can be tuned up and have the living daylights played out of it.
Yeah Milt, even a wall hanger might get taken down and played somewhere along the line. I like the idea that when that happens someone might say "whoa, this is an actual instrument!"
Ok ... Get yourself a Stanley sure form rasp and a furniture Maker's scraper (I got mine at mountain equipment coop ... Used for putting tar on cross country skis.). Put a line with pencil in he middle of the back of the neck. Put another line 1\4" in on the sides of the neck both sides (the fretboArd is not glued on yet.)at the fret board side. These are your guides.
Start pulling material off with the sure form rasp at each of the back corners of the 1x2" neck, working toward the marks you have made. You can see how even you have been looking at the marks on the back and sides of the neck. Keep going till you have it shaped. The pencil marks will disappear. Then, smooth the neck out using the scraper. Takes about 20 minutes.
Never thought of the line down the middle of the neck idea. I'm gonna try that. Bet it works like a charm.