How to Cut Out Headstock Shape on Neck with Angle?

bierz

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I've read through most build threads but it seems this process is skipped over. I feel like I see, "and then I cut the headstock shape". Since the neck shaft would ride flat on the bandsaw table but the angle doesn't allow the headstock to do the same, how do you guys make the cut? If you do headstock down on the bandsaw table, how do you accurately draw out the shape? Is there a clever jig to cradle the neck on the bandsaw?

I appreciate any help that can be offered. If you know of a useful photo tutorial, that would be fantastic.
 

mrdannyboy

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google and youtube are your friend, sure you will get lots of help here too;

 

pshupe

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I use my metal template and mark a pencil line all around the template on the front face. Then take it to my drill press or even hand drill and drill straight through just outside the line. Then you can flip it over on the bandsaw and cut out to the holes. Then I put my template back on and sand as close to the edge as I can and then use my router table and template bit to follow the template. It's pretty slick.

I'm pretty sure you have one of those templates. ;-) Thanks BTW.

Cheers Peter.
 

kipdurran

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I used Peter's awesome headstock template. If you get number 6 flat head wood screws you can screw it to the headstock. I then sanded really close to the template but not all the way. Then, with a template facing downward and the headstock flat on the router table you can route all the way around the headstock and leave a nice edge. Of course, make sure you are using a climb cutting techniques and be very careful around the top corners on either side because they are a very sharp point and they are easy to tear out.
 

bierz

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I use my metal template and mark a pencil line all around the template on the front face. Then take it to my drill press or even hand drill and drill straight through just outside the line. Then you can flip it over on the bandsaw and cut out to the holes. Then I put my template back on and sand as close to the edge as I can and then use my router table and template bit to follow the template. It's pretty slick.

I'm pretty sure you have one of those templates. ;-) Thanks BTW.

Cheers Peter.
I appreciate the info, and the template. Do you still find the need to shape any of the fine detail at the top of the open book headstock by hand, or do you use a very narrow router bit?
 

SlingBlader

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Here is an excerpt from my build thread that shows how I did it... again, using Peter's template. :) The important part is in picture #2; the tall flat block behind the headstock. Pattern routing is accomplished face-down on the table. The full build thread is in my signature.

.......
I attached the headstock template again and taped a spacer block to the back of the headstock. I then drilled pilot holes for the tuners at the drill press.




I moved to the band saw and used a taller block on the back of the headstock to hold everything square to the table. I cut just outside the template in preparation for pattern routing.




Here it is just off the band saw. In this picture, you can see the Popsicle stick pieces that I used as alignment blocks for the fretboard. This should make the glue-up a little easier.




I wanted to try out my new Whiteside Ultimate Flush Trim bit. It's a compression pattern bit with a top and bottom bearing. It worked really well. :)

 

fatdaddypreacher

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i resaw the headstock parallel to the face, but leave it a about 1/4' too thick. i then do like pictured above, and put a standoff block underneath it and follow the lines full, then sand to dimension. the reason i leave it full, is i drill my tuner holes after profile shaping, then the last step is to recut the back of the headstock, removing any tearout the drilling may have cause.
 

pshupe

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I appreciate the info, and the template. Do you still find the need to shape any of the fine detail at the top of the open book headstock by hand, or do you use a very narrow router bit?
I have used the tiny amana bit to do the open book a few times but I can now just use some files as well, which is a bit quicker.

Cheers Peter.
 

ARandall

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Yep, a square file I find the best. After cutting the routed bit simply use the file with the template still on......and you have a stopping point built in.
 

bierz

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I just want to say thank you all so much. I’ve been a lurker here for many years and I’m finally building my first LP style guitars. I’ve read many great threads but couldn’t think of these solutions when I finally need them.
 

fatdaddypreacher

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if you notice my headstock on my avatar, there is a small notch thing happening that no router bit will get in. I don't use templates to route my profile, but trace it out with a template, then cut it free hand on the bandsaw, leaving some meat to sand with my oscillating drum sander on sides and the inner curve at the nut. i clean up the top of it with small chisels, followed by small files. ditto for binding channel. routers can only do so much. some times you just gotta pick up the old school tools :) good luck
 

Freddy G

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Here is an excerpt from my build thread that shows how I did it... again, using Peter's template. :) The important part is in picture #2; the tall flat block behind the headstock. Pattern routing is accomplished face-down on the table. The full build thread is in my signature.

.......
I attached the headstock template again and taped a spacer block to the back of the headstock. I then drilled pilot holes for the tuners at the drill press.




I moved to the band saw and used a taller block on the back of the headstock to hold everything square to the table. I cut just outside the template in preparation for pattern routing.




Here it is just off the band saw. In this picture, you can see the Popsicle stick pieces that I used as alignment blocks for the fretboard. This should make the glue-up a little easier.




I wanted to try out my new Whiteside Ultimate Flush Trim bit. It's a compression pattern bit with a top and bottom bearing. It worked really well. :)


^^^ this!
 

emoney

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I usually draw the headstock front and back, oversized, flip it "upside down" or faceplate on the table, and cut out the 'close to' shape on the bandsaw. Then I use the template and the router to get the final shape on the front.
 

bierz

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I used Peter's awesome headstock template. If you get number 6 flat head wood screws you can screw it to the headstock.
Do you definitely use #6 screws? I’ve tried #6 and #4 and neither can fit through the 2 holes that are meant for screws. I’ll take the template to a different hardware store tomorrow to see if anything there fits.
 

kipdurran

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Do you definitely use #6 screws? I’ve tried #6 and #4 and neither can fit through the 2 holes that are meant for screws. I’ll take the template to a different hardware store tomorrow to see if anything there fits.
You might be right and they are #4. I was going from memory. I took the template with me to the hardware store and got screws that fit.:D
 

pshupe

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Yes you are correct. I thought #4s fit through but they do not. I tried to keep the hole as small as possible so the tuner locations are centered and not wandering around a larger diameter hole.

I could make them larger but I guess it depends on how people use them. If you drill them with a 1/8" bit then a number 4 screw would fit through.

Anyone else have any other suggestions? I could change the design if it would be easier to affix and also be able to drill the exact location. Keep in mind currently my thought is using small screws to hole down the template to route the shape. I have countersunk two holes so that you can flip it over and route on a router table so the screw heads are flush or below the surface. Then mark the other holes with an awl and drill with a brad point drill bit. For this method I like to have the holes as small as possible to allow the awl to get the exact centre of the tuner hole.

Regards Peter.

*EDIT *- Actually it is best to use a pick guard screw or cover plate screw. Something small enough that doesn't compromise the alignment of the tuners but long enough to hold securely.
 
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cmjohnson

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First I cut the headstock angle with a bandsaw and then use my jointer to plane it flat. Or I set up the neck in a vise on the table of my knee mill and do the same thing with a fly cutter. It's nice to have options.

AFTER that's done I trace my unique headstock template to the headstock (I don't copy others, not anymore. My work deserves my signature headstock and honestly I think you're doing yourself a disservice by copying the G headstock shape. Make it your own. ANYBODY can copy, an artist CREATES. ) I bandsaw close to the traced line and I finish out with the oscillating spindle sander and some hand sanding to radius the corners. At some point along the line I select one of my pre-made logo inlaid headstock veneers and glue it on, being careful to locate it correctly on the headstock.

I then use my knee mill for drilling the headstock tuner holes. Whatever you use, be as precise as you can because even very small posittonal errors in those tuner holes are easy to spot when tuners are installed.
 

Freddy G

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Yes you are correct. I thought #4s fit through but they do not. I tried to keep the hole as small as possible so the tuner locations are centered and not wandering around a larger diameter hole.

I could make them larger but I guess it depends on how people use them. If you drill them with a 1/8" bit then a number 4 screw would fit through.

Anyone else have any other suggestions? I could change the design if it would be easier to affix and also be able to drill the exact location. Keep in mind currently my thought is using small screws to hole down the template to route the shape. I have countersunk two holes so that you can flip it over and route on a router table so the screw heads are flush or below the surface. Then mark the other holes with an awl and drill with a brad point drill bit. For this method I like to have the holes as small as possible to allow the awl to get the exact centre of the tuner hole.

Regards Peter.

*EDIT *- Actually it is best to use a pick guard screw or cover plate screw. Something small enough that doesn't compromise the alignment of the tuners but long enough to hold securely.
Personally I don't like screwing templates on. A screw always seems to pull the template out of alignment even if very slightly. I like double stick tape.
 




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