Part 1

Part 2

So up until this point, we have the basic shape of the neck, and the fretboard is as good as done. This would be a good time to level, crown and polish the frets, if you wish. I wrote a 'how to' on that here:

This would be an ideal time to take another look at your cigar box, and cut the neck to fit neatly inside. In the below picture, I have marked out the cut on the neck to fit under the lid of the box, and allowed for room below the pickup:

Once I have made several small cuts down to my markings, I flip the neck on its side and pop the material off with a sharp chisel. Don't go right down to the line, though - it's easy to make a mistake and remove too much material. I use a rasp, file and sandpaper to neaten things up. Notice the angle on the line - this is to allow for the 'back angle' on the neck.

Now it's time to get sanding. I start with 80 grit, and work all the way up to 320 for the whole neck and headstock. Once I'm satisfied with it, I give the neck a rub down with white spirit (mineral spirits) to remove the wood dust. This will also highlight any scratches or imperfections. If you see any...yep, more sanding:

At this point, it would normally be time to start applying finish. However, I like to use oak for my necks, so I find it necessary to use grain filler to smooth over the pores of the wood, and get a smooth finish. I wrote a blog post about the process here. This adds a few more hours onto the process, plus you need to sand again, starting from 220 grit up to 600. For the end result, its worth it!

The below picture shows a grain-filled neck, with the first coat of Tru-Oil.

Nowadays I use Tru-Oil on all my necks. It's difficult to work with, compared to Danish etc, as it dries so fast. Here are my Tru-Oil tips:

1. Store the bottle upside down - you do not want the lid to sieze up! 

2. There is a foil cover on top of the bottle. Do not take it off - just make a little hole to squeeze the oil out of. This stuff dries very fast when exposed to oxygen.

3. Work on an area at a time. I apply Tru-Oil to the neck and headstock separately.

4. Wipe the oil on with a lint free cloth, give it about a minute and gently wipe off the excess with a clean cloth

5. I wait 12 hours between coats. If you live somewhere warmer than Manchester (not difficult), you might be able to get away with less.

6. Every second coat, I (very) lightly rub the surface with dry 600 grit sandpaper. Give it a wipe down before applying the next coat.

7. I generally do about 8 coats of Tru Oil. Apparently you can get a mirror shine if you do about 40, then polish, but who has time for that?!

8. About a week after the last coat, I wet sand with 1200 grit and Tru-Oil, then quickly buff it out for a silky smooth feel.

This is what you come out with:

So there you have it - a finished neck. Here are some completed pictures of the guitars these necks were made for.

I hope this has been of some use.

-Richey Kay

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Comment by Gary Stenzel on November 7, 2017 at 9:22am

This is a very nice tutorial! Thank you Sir!

Comment by Shawn LaMaster on March 9, 2016 at 1:36am

Great guide for making necks, thank you!

Comment by Richey Kay on November 6, 2015 at 2:12am
Jon, the box is hollow under the plate.

Thanks Bluesheart and Hudson!
Comment by Jon Leslie/Runaway Veal Music on November 5, 2015 at 10:56pm
Richey,
Is the Lic plate guitar hollow under the plate or solid ?
Comment by Bluesheart on November 4, 2015 at 10:45am

Wow, great job on the necks and on the guide! Thank you for sharing all that!!!

Comment by Hudson Wolf on November 3, 2015 at 2:46pm

Thank you Richey, very useful guide..

Comment by Richey Kay on July 26, 2014 at 4:24pm
No worries Rodney, have fun!
Comment by Rodney Olsen on July 26, 2014 at 2:42pm

Your instructions are jst what I needed to make the transition away from simple stick guitar necks. Thanks!

Comment by Richey Kay on July 25, 2014 at 12:59am

Not a problem Joe and Jerry, happy building!

Comment by Jerry Morey on July 24, 2014 at 1:46pm

Richey, thanks so much for posting these helpful pics. I just started my love affair with CBGs and your instructions have answered a boat load of questions I had. Can't wait to get started on my next try.

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