Carving the Neckshaft and stuff

I guess I didn't take any pictures of the neck heel carving process, which was the next step. Basically you spend a while turning a block of mahogany into a symmetrical curving heal the ends evenly where the neck tenon occurs. I guess I also blew it on documenting the neck tenon carving process too.

Well anyway, now I have a neck with a heel and a tenon. Inside the tenon are two barrel nuts that will receive two barrel bolts threaded through the guitar's headblock and into the tenon. This is how the neck will be joined to the guitar. Over the next few months I'll be bolting and unbolting the neck from the guitar several times to adjust the flushness of the fit and the alignment of the neck.

So now, with roughed out versions of a neck at each end, I begin to round the block that comprises the neck shaft using a spokeshave (it's an old tool originally used to make spokes for wagon wheels).

Here's a close up of the roughed out heel:

Again, here's the idea:

I've got a Martin D-28 (love it!) that I'm taking neck curvature measurements against to at least get my final neck shape in the ballpark, then I'll finesse it further until it feels right to me:

Here's the first time I got to bolt the rough neck onto my guitar and actually pick it up! It was actually pretty exciting, since I've been working on this guitar for 7 months; now it's starting to feel like an instrument. Oh yeah, I'm checking the straightness too, whatever. Yes the stove is off (I actually removed the knobs when I left that afternoon - just in case the cat had any stupid ideas...)
Since I've been steadily approaching drawn outlines of the fingerboard while carving the neck radius, I thought now would be a good time to actually make the fingerboard and glue it down so I don't over zealously carve away too much material. Here's the set up I made for gluing maple binding strips to the edge of the fingerboard while maintaining a flush bottom:

Full Disclosure Note about the fingerboard: I chose to buy a "pre-slotted" ebony fingerboard instead of buying a slab of ebony and truing then slotting myself. While I'm confident that I could have done the procedures and measure accurately, it was waaaaaay easier and better for me to spend the extra $10 and essentially buy back a weekend. I still had to taper, bind, inlay, trim, etc. everything, but at least I won't have to spend all weekend trying to make a perfectly flat piece of ebony with limit tools, buy a $75 ruler to measure for the frets, and then make perfect little cuts with a tiny saw. Plus, when this thing is finally strung up and I'm troubleshoots the fine adjustments to mitigate intonation problems, at least I'll know it wasn't because my frets are improperly spaced. I'd HIGHLY recommend buying a pre-slotted fingerboard blank to anyone just beginning their first guitar. It's not cheating (seriously, it's's not...)

Anyway, binding the fingerboard with maple:

After I had bound the fingerboard and scraped the bindings flush with the top, I carefully measured for the fret marker dots (abalone), drilled their holes, glued them in place and scraped flush. I can't tell you how many times I checked to make sure I was putting the markers at the right frets...I was afraid (and still am) that I would pick the finished thing up one day and realize that I had put one in the wrong place...

After that I glued the fingerboard to the neck, with the truss rod installed inside. I guess I don't have pics of that yet, but I'm sure there will be plenty... it looks convincingly cool though. Now I can flip it over and go back to carving the neck shaft as it approaches the fingerboard. Also, I wanted to maintain a traditional element of the volute (triangular wood element at the headstock neck transition area). My Martin D-28 has one and I like it--plus I think it helps strengthen the joint area. I wasn't sure how to approach carving it (or really, saving it from being carved away) but as I keep going, it's beginning to emerge:

Here's a shot after I've refined the neck heel and the headstock joint a little further. After taking some thickness dimensions and comparing them to my favorite Martin D-28, I found that I needed to reduce the neck thickness another 1/16" or so.

Since we just sold out old dining room table, and it's been "advised" that I don't scratch up / destroy the new one, I have moved my intermittent guerilla guitar making operation into the guest bathroom...(yes, the neck is seen cantilevering over the toilet, which really only serves to increase my multi-tasking productivity now...)

Here's a progress photo of the maple bound headstock--next I have to do a little abalone inlay at the top. The holes will later receive the chrome tuning machines.