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 Joe Caruso on July 24, 2014 at 1:41pm

Richey, this is of great help. I've figured out the basic neck shape but always stumbled when it came to the heel and have avoided it - till now. Thanks for sharing. 

Comment by Richey Kay on July 24, 2014 at 8:19am
My pleasure Boxy. I love doing these. The rasp had become one of my favourites, I would encourage you to give it a try!
Comment by Boxy Music on July 24, 2014 at 8:12am

Richey, this is top end stuff, it's great. I have made a bunch of instruments now but never had the bottle to rasp out the neck, but I think I will on this next one. Thanks for taking the time to post all this!

Comment by Richey Kay on July 23, 2014 at 11:35am
Cheers RTZ! ;-)
Comment by RTZGUITARS on July 23, 2014 at 11:20am

 your making it too easy for people. looks strong Good stuff man

Comment by Richey Kay on July 20, 2014 at 1:58am
Not a problem Glenn, and thanks for your comments. As I often say my favourite thing about this site and the larger maker movement in general is the willingness to openly and freely share ideas. More than happy to do what I can to contribute!
Comment by Jon Leslie/Runaway Veal Music on July 17, 2014 at 4:03am
Hah...I know. I really like your guitars man!! Your a great guy to take the time to explain all this and pics. Really thanks. If I get one together I'll be sure to show you what I was able to accomplish from your help. I'm sure I'll have some more questions ...-Jon
Comment by Richey Kay on July 17, 2014 at 3:58am

I would say about 10 hours per finished guitar, the neck accounting for maybe 5 hours of that. You're welcome to come over and do a build with me, although California to Manchester is a hell of a commute!

Comment by Jon Leslie/Runaway Veal Music on July 17, 2014 at 3:02am
I'm more of a visual hands on person. I'd love to see you do this in person...so if ya ever need an apprentice ...hah...wow. I do need a rasp and some better files that's for sure.
Comment by Jon Leslie/Runaway Veal Music on July 17, 2014 at 2:58am
Richey. This is just amazing. How long does this whole process take you approx. totally pro looking

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