This turned out well. I figured the best way to shave down the thickness of the neck was to mark the desired depth and rasp chamfers till that line was reached. Typically I’d just route freehand till that depth was met but I tried something using an auto planer which was unsuccessful so had to correct this all by hand. It didn’t take too long using the microplane hacksaw attachment. This works way better and more aggressively than the similar snap in flat file. Plus the longer cutting surface allows you to be economical in your carving.
I then kept my calipers handy as I measured the thickness of the neck total. From the middle of the fretboard to the middle of the neck. I realized over the years I’d just blindly accepted a super thin neck as being ‘desirable’ for some reason, and that anything thicker than a wizard neck was just unacceptable. After carving my lasts two official builds, Ryan John’s walnut carved top and Jason Kane’s Roasted maple, I’ve realized that a slightly thicker neck (by only a few mm) yields a much more comfortable playing experience. I believe it has to do with the reduced amount of contraction your lumbricals and thenar/hypothenar muscles have to do by simply filling the space instead of requiring your had to approximate the distance between the back of the neck and the Palm.
Anyways after chamfering, I’ll flatten the entire remaining surface till everything’s flat, I’ll know I’ve reached the surface line that way. I’ll carve using my microplanes and my new scraper. It really helps the process to have a nice freshly honed scraper. Turning the hook and burnishing took some practice but I’m floored by how such a simple tool can produce such amazing results.
After the neck was carved i scraped until everything was smooth and proceeded straight to 220 grit sandpaper on the finishing sander. It removed the hard lines and after everything was alright I began oiling using Odies Oil. I’ve worked with this stuff enough to know that it’s probably one of my favorite oil/waxes to work with. I’ll basically saturate a square of 0000 synthetic steel wool and keep it handy for constant reapplication. I alternated between the original oil and the oxi oil to allow some darkening to take place over time.
As of right now it’s at about 400 grit, with about 4 coats of oil sanding in between each coat. Now in some forums they complain that the oil doesn’t dry and stuff. You need to buff everything you can off. Then you let it dry. The wood will take in what it can then in order for that to dry you’ll need to buff off the excess. I’ve included pictures of how the dry odie’s oil will look chalky after sanding. If it’s not at this stage, stop and wait until it is. I’m in southern Cali by the beach so it’s somewhat humid, not crazy so but still. Anyways the neck is ready for Odies wood butter and wax. I’ll use two coats of the butter with some sanding in between with 600 grit. Then finally I’ll use two coats of wax. May seem like an overkill but these have gifted me with results that I haven’t had with most other oils.
So far I’ve also installed the stainless steel threaded inserts and stamped the heel end. I’m using 8-32 stainless steel angles flat head machine screws with these pretty (and expensive) finishing washers. They look really cool though and are very secure. I was initially concerned with them but figured I should give then a try. I also used a 10 mm forstner bit for the tuning machines and there was ABSOLUTELY NO TEAROUT. I loath drilling tuning machine holes and this was so smooth I almost cried. So we’re all good here!
After I’m all recovered from the flu I’ll be routing the hum-bucker cavities and control cavities and then we’re on for my favorite part!—body finishing!!!