Neck construction, what to do with this piece of limba?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by p_baker, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. p_baker

    p_baker Junior Member

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    I bought this piece of white limba and would like to make a neck out of it.
    It is 27.5" long, almost 4" wide and 2" thick.

    At first, I planed only to make a scarf joint to strengthen the headstock/truss rod access area.
    Now, I read a lot of neck construction threads and start to think about what else I could/should do.

    What do you think this blank needs to make a nice neck?

    Am I on the safe side, if I just make the scarf joint and go with a one piece neck apart from the scarf joint?

    Or should I cut it in three pieces lengthwise, flip the middle piece by 180° around the y-axis and reglue it (Ruokanga´s method)?
    g1893.png

    Another thing I have seen would be to just cut it in half lengthwise, flip both pieces by 90° around the z-axis and reglue it, like people do it to make a quatersawn blank out of flat sawn timber. (I know that my blank is not flat sawn.)
    g1670.png

    What do you think? Any of these methods? which ones to combine? Any advice is very welcome.

    I would rather keep the neck itself one piece and only make the scarf joint, because I don't like the looks of laminated necks that much. On the other hand, I would skip the looks in favor of strength if it is needed.

    Thank you very much and best regards

    Philipp
     
  2. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb Silver Supporter

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    If you want to keep it as one piece, you could consider using carbon fiber reinforcement rods as an alternative to making it a multi-laminate, although limba is more than hard and stiff enough to just keep it as once piece.

    Assuming its fully seasoned and isnt expected to do much moving, just scarf it and go with one piece.

    I use carbon fiber in all my necks, FWIW. They may never move even without the rods, but it gives me more peace of mind, especially with woods softer than maple, to know they are solid, straight, and stiff and will stay that way over the long haul
     
  3. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Certainly adding in either reinforcing or moving 1 or many of the laminate strips to QS orientation will help with stability.

    Chris may well make quite thin necks....in which case the use of those rods becomes much more worthwhile not just for peace of mind, but in a legit strength addition. So your proposed neck profile is another aspect to consider.
    All of the 1-piece (non scarf) necks I have made with my usual baseball style thickness stay in place due to bulk......and this is even with conditions that is making for checking of lacquer too.
     
  4. p_baker

    p_baker Junior Member

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    Allright, so I like my necks to be not too thin. In general, I'm looking for .85" at the first fret and .95" at the 12th fret.
    Any other suggestions? I'm more concerned about warping (stability) than strength. would either of the methods described above prevent the neck from warping? Or is warping of necks not that big of a deal in reality?
     
  5. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb Silver Supporter

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    Thats about exactly where I make mine. Not to thin, not too fat. the Goldilocks zone for guitar necks :) (for me)

    ARandall is right in that the rods value dramatically increase as the neck gets thinner. Fact is people have been making one piece guitar necks of varying thicknesses and having no issues with them for a LOT longer than carbon fiber has been used in them.

    If its a good piece of wood, well seasoned, with straight grain you're not likely to have any problems just going with a one piece neck and no reinforcement.

    I tend to overbuild to an extent. except for my Strats, which have one-piece hard maple necks, I always use a laminate + carbon fiber. With the maple necks I still use the carbon fiber. I'm certain some folks probably think this is overkill, and they may well be right, but I call it cheap insurance. They aren't hard to put in and I get them from Dragonplate (.187" x .325" x 24") most recently at the devilish price of $6.66 per rod :)

    Thats basically $14.00 to assure that neck never does anything I dont want it to :)

    Also IMO the carbon fiber will in almost all cases make the neck more rigid. A more rigid neck will help provide better sustain.
     
  6. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    I'm not a big fan of scarf joints, to create a neck out of thinner stock that is. I do really like the look of a scarf joint that has different laminates of wood in them. If it was me, I would resaw at least in half and add some contrasting wood and turn 90 degrees to get two necks out of the same piece. Then there is no need to do a scarf joint. If you are worried about stability from breaking then use a volute and a shallow two way truss rod.

    Like this - adding a piece or a couple to add 3/8" or so to the width will get you two necks out of that one piece and also be quite strong. By adding ears you are vintage correct, LOL, and also when you are cutting them out it is better to not have to cut so high. It's also a better use of wood. Lots of pluses! ;-)

    [​IMG]

    Cheers Peter.
     
  7. dcomiskey

    dcomiskey Member

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    Do you think the .125" x .325" x 48" rods are just as good? I ask only b/c I, too, like very thin necks. The V I just built has a neck that flexes VERY easily and want to avoid that in the future.
     
  8. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb Silver Supporter

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    Well, in cross section they are obviously smaller so they definitely arent going to be as rigid. I cant say that they wouldnt work, but they wouldn't work as well.

    They are also 4 feet long ;)

    any reason youd want to go with that as opposed to the ones I mentioned?
     
  9. dcomiskey

    dcomiskey Member

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    No, just wasn't sure if the ones you mentioned would be too thick for a thin neck, but I should probably get out my ruler.... :D
     
  10. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    The dimension you are quoting would not affect the direction relating to a thin neck, unless you are talking about the string spacing direction?? See graphic -
    Capture.JPG


    If you wanted to go even thinner you could get a low profile double action truss rod that is 3/8" deep and slightly wider. Also you could reduce the thickness of the fret board. If you want to stiffen the neck, the carbon fibre is definitely the way to go.

    Cheers Peter.
     
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  11. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb Silver Supporter

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    Damn Peter, you pulled out your Etch-a-sketch and nailed it :)

    Perfect representation. You must be having a laid back day :)
     
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  12. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    I've worked that detail out more than a few times on my last builds. Just added the different sizes. Also my job has been very good lately. I'm ramping up for a week in Vegas coming up so just tidying up some stuff working from home today.

    Cheers Peter.
     
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  13. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    .85 is certainly getting to the thinner side. But it should be ok. You would be fine even with the G&L method I feel - simply cutting the blank in the middle and re-gluing without a different orientation.

    I'm in 2 minds myself on the carbon rods. There can be no doubt that carbon is super stiff - I ride and have raced MTB and Road bikes at quite high level and know just how rigid it can be made - even in super thin profile. But I'm a big believer in trying to keep as much of the wood structure as possible.
    I have no proof of course, but I can't help but feel the carbon has a detrimental effect to the resonance of the whole. None of the carbon I have ever had in various components has ever rang out in anything but a dull thud. Hopefully its just the carbon passing on a very high proportion of the full energy input un-tainted by any colouration.
     
  14. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb Silver Supporter

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    I totally agree about keeping as much of the wood as possible. It's really hard to say one way or the other if the amount lost to the carbon fiber would be detrimental to the sound

    To my way of thinking the carbon fiber part is acoustically neutral. On their own they probably have no natural resonance and add nothin to the instrument in that respect, but they do tend to return any energy put into them in full, but too slowly to add or detract from the overall tone or resonance.

    Science would probably agree though that a stiffer neck is going to be less of an energy drain to the strings, so in that way I believe they can increase sustain.

    I have no empirical way of proving any of it :)
     
  15. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    ^ Yeah.....its one of those rabbit holes that we could disappear down forever really......given there are valid arguments either way.
     
  16. WhiteEpiLP

    WhiteEpiLP Senior Member

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    We need some of that "old growth" carbon fiber. Thats where the real tone is.
     
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  17. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb Silver Supporter

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    That stuff is pretty hard to come by
    It might be CITES listed as well ;)
     
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  18. p_baker

    p_baker Junior Member

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    thanks for your input everyone. Unfortunately, I´ve got the impression that I've to decide myself :)
    There are good theoretical arguments for all the different methods and no one knows what would have happened to a specific neck if...
    At the moment, I'm leaning towards the three-piece laminated neck to keep as much wood as possible. And the seams won´t be that obvious with lightly grained limba.
     
  19. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Yeah....neck construction is a tough one. Take the chance or play it safe.
    You'll never know what the other outcome would have been.

    Another point is your ability to get the multi-lam neck bits sawn properly.
     
  20. p_baker

    p_baker Junior Member

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    You mean having a straight cut and a plane face?
     

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