Stage 15) Fretting the neck

Get this portion of the instructional below.



Stage 14) Inlay work (fretboard and side marker)

Supplies needed: .5mm mechanical pencil, ruler and some extra things in the video.

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INLAY WORK AT JCS MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS instructional. Learn the techniques involved in FRET & SIDE MARKER INLAY & more!

Check out some of the work at JCSMI below:

Stage 13) headstock work

For the advanced technique in lowering the headstock to the desired thickness, check out the ebook Building Necks at
Using the band saw in conjunction with the fence, set the thickness just over the headstock thickness. Advance the headstock with the back of the headstock sliding flush to the fence. Stop the cut with room to intersect the cut with another angular cut. Make sure to leave enough room to spindle sand a transition to the new face of the headstock.
Block sand top face of headstock with respective sandpaper starting with 60 grit and ending up with 150 grit.

Stage 12) Fretboard radius shaping

The next step is adding the radius to the fretboard. We need to use the drum sander to bring the neck down to the desired thickness. I use 1 inch from the back of the neck to the top of the fretboard. Now we will need plenty of chalk, in a variety of color. The reason for this is my use of multiple colors of fretboard also neck materials. Chalk is applied after every pass on in the sanding and machining process so you can never have enough. a radius gauge and a belt sander. Start by carefully removing wood from both sides of the fretboard and check the surface the radius gauge often. Apply more chalk on the fretboard as the belt sender removes the wood. Rock the neck back and forth over the belt sander trying to keep from removing the wood at the centerline. Using the radius block and 60 grit paper, bring the radius to match the radius template. When matching the radius, use a sanding pad approximately 3/8ths thick in your palm and rub 80 grit up and down the fretboard till smooth.

Stage 11) Neck radius process

This is one of the most critical parts of the neck build. The neck has to feel right in your hand. Take the opportunity to check for the correct fit in your hand often in the shaping process. In doing this, your neck will give you many years of enjoyment.
The first step in the process is to belt sand the sides of the neck. The profile work we did in Stage 11) will leave the sides close but not as flat and square as we need them to be. Once they are flat and square, use the transition templates to trace the line on the back of heel and back of headstock. The lines represent the shape of the flats that have to be preserved when shaping the back of the neck. For the manual removal of stock, use an aggressive rasp file and start by long angular strokes. Using a contour gauge, press down on the back of the neck at the first fret and compare to the curve you are trying to match on the reference paper. Reset the contour gauge and take the second reading at the middle of the neck and compare to the curve you are trying to match on the reference paper. Then reset the contour gage and take a third reading at the 12th fret and compare to the curve you are trying to match on the reference paper. When you have the back of the neck close to the shape you want, use the palm sander with 40 grit sanding paper. Using long strokes back and fourth, remove the rasp filing marks and get as close to the feel you are looking for on the backside of the neck. Check out the ebook for details on how to use power tools to aid in your stock removal process. For the transitions, use the 4 in one file at the heel. For the headstock, use the round file. Shape till comfortable and flowing in appearance. It pays to have a reference neck to look at. Finish using sand paper wrapped around soft sanding cylinders.

Stage 10) Profile shaping

After the clamps are removed from the work we did in Stage 10, it’s time to mount the neck to the wooden template using two way tape. Use clamping pressure in order to have a good bond between the neck blank and the wooden template. I use the 3 inch Robo sander inserted into my floor mounted drill press to sand the profile of the neck. The wheel of the Robo sander rides on the wooden template and the sanding drum removes the extra stock we left in Stage 3. When the 3 inch sander has removed all it can, I take out the 3 inch Robo sander and finish up the neck with the 1 inch Robo sander to clean up the tighter curves at the headstock. In Stage 12, I will discuss the neck radius process. Stay tuned! Jim at

Acoustic fretboard

Acoustic fretboard By JCS Musical instruments