5 Ply Strat Neck

Discussion in 'Guitar Building' started by Hazboticus, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. Hazboticus

    Hazboticus New Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    Im working on putting together a couple 5 ply strat style necks (rock Maple with Wenge stripes) and I wanted to sense check my thinking on some knowledgeable folk! :hmm:

    Basically I have divided the neck into three sections - inner wing (away from the body) Outer wing (towards the body) and core and done some measurements from a set of 1950's strat plans.

    [​IMG]

    The plan is to laminate the 5 strips together, plane smooth then trace my centerline - the two strips will continue through the headstock and give a cool sort of off asymmetrical look to the headstock that I quite like. There will be a Rosewood fretboard for this one.

    The question is - will measuring from the outside (outer wing) give me accurate measurements for my centreline?

    Has anyone built similar style necks and have any advice?

    Will building in 5 pieces compromise the integrity of my neck?

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. Thaddeus

    Thaddeus New Member

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    It should actually be stronger than a single piece of wood, if you are careful about grain orientation amongst the different plies. It will not resonate as well though.

    More than that, I cannot say. Laying out a symmetrical looking laminate that ends in an assymetrical headstock may prov to be tricky.
     
  3. Hazboticus

    Hazboticus New Member

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    Good point - Im not so concerned with the resonance as it will still be a bolt on electric. This is more for style and to test my ability.

    Would you think that a 3 piece would sound better?

    From an aesthetic standpoint - as long as the middle section is centred on the back of the neck and works like a skunk stripe It will be close enough - the headstock shape wont be identical to this but the measurements will be close so its a good starting point and will make the double lines going through it appear more intentional.
     
  4. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    You are building it , so the rules are yours .
    If you are concerned about the appearance of the headstock , you may want to lay more laminate to that side , being as it is a Fender style .
    May actually look rather cool to have a second set of lamination running parallel through the headstock .
     
  5. Adam

    Adam Well-Known Member

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    A stiffer neck (which is what you get in a 5 piece neck) will resonate better than a sympathetic neck.
     
  6. Adam

    Adam Well-Known Member

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    Something that would look cool is to do a 3 piece neck, have wenge be the center section, then inset a skunk stripe into it, would give you a 5 piece look on a simpler 3 piece neck.
     
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  7. Hazboticus

    Hazboticus New Member

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    Good Idea - that would look pretty good with rock maple/wenge/rock maple and a maple skunk stripe. I will have a play around but it might be better to start with a 3 ply and work up to 5!

    And thanks for the tip regarding stiffness :D
     
  8. Hazboticus

    Hazboticus New Member

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    I went for a 5 ply as I figured since it was a bolt on if I butcher it I can just try again. The Timber only cost me 15 bucks or so I am happy investing that in a learning experience. took some photos for the interested;

    [​IMG]

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    I think it looks pretty good - one side is slightly wider to accommodate for the hook on the headstock.

    I think I am getting better at this :)
     
  9. TKOjams

    TKOjams Well-Known Member

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    Love 'em, my favorite type to build :yesway:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Hazboticus

    Hazboticus New Member

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    They just look so classy dont they :)
     
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  11. Heretic

    Heretic Well-Known Member

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    Nice. I've found I prefer rosewood or walnut to wenge...just because wenge is so...hostile. And when mixed with maple, it gives you that stately high-contrast look.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Hazboticus

    Hazboticus New Member

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    Yea definitely -anything that's nice and dark will contrast really well. I got Wenge recommended and it seemed darker than any of the walnut I could get at the time.

    I figure I will have to pore fill it to make it super smooth before finishing.

    When I cut the board into the strips one was dead straight and the other warped in 3 different directions immediately. Found the straightest bit and used that but with the 25mm of rock maple supporting it shouldn't have any issues.

    My main concern is dropping below the minimum thickness I will need as I started with 20mm thick and will loose about 3 to get it all squared up and carved.

    Anyone had experience carving wenge in the neck and have any tips?
     
  13. Heretic

    Heretic Well-Known Member

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    That one above is Peruvian walnut. Very dark and consistent color. Nice to work with too.

    For the thin pieces you're using, wenge won't be noticeably different than the maple when you start carving the neck profile.

    I've made a couple of all-wenge necks, and it's a totally different situation. Just gotta be more careful about the grain direction, as it loves to split and chip out.
     
  14. Hazboticus

    Hazboticus New Member

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    Ah right on thanks mate. Ill look into some rosewood or some really dark walnut if I can find some for my next one - my place only has american walnut (see the body for about as dark as they get). Comes out awesome for bodies but I didnt think it would contrast enough for the neck.
     
  15. Heretic

    Heretic Well-Known Member

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    The American stuff does get a lot darker with finish, but that is actually the exact reason I prefer peruvian walnut. It's a dark chocolate color, and the color is a lot more consistent, and the grain is generally very straight.

    It's what the top and back of this bass body was made of too.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Hazboticus

    Hazboticus New Member

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    Ahh nice - I might try to source some cause that would look amazing for the neck stripes. Its a bit harder to find timber down here thats not local.
     
  17. Hazboticus

    Hazboticus New Member

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    So over the christmas break I had time to get this sucker together here are some photos to have a look at;

    [​IMG]

    the measurements are slightly different than the original plans based on the timber I had available but the results are more or less the same. There is more Wenge in there than initially planned but it still looks great.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    the only stock I had thin an long enough to cover the truss rod was some mahogany....so its a 4 timber neck.

    This is where things got a bit interesting - based on the slightly thinner timber the headstock design needed a bit of tweaking - its much more vertical than the standard strat style and has a bit of an angle from the pegs to the nut that I am hoping will not be an issue (pics later).

    [​IMG]

    Fretboard installed and headstock shaped up;

    [​IMG]

    shaping by hand and feel rather than a specific set of plans -

    [​IMG]

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    I had been thinking of a more minimalist dot alignment but My housemate convinced me to keep it classic (was thinking only 1 dot at the octive).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I opted to pore fill the Wenge to make the feel consistent across both woods - the rock maple is really tight grained. The whole thing was sanded up to p600 then oiled. Currently Drying in the shop for a week before I hit it with some satin poly for protection.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Also this is the guitar its going in drying;

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Both will be finished in satin as the natural grain looks too good for gloss. Walnut body at this stage is sitting on around 6 coats of oil that have been sanded into the wood with progressive grits, gives a really smooth platform for my final finish.

    Thanks again for the help working through it all everyone.
     
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  18. Heretic

    Heretic Well-Known Member

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    That looks great, hazbot.
     
  19. Hazboticus

    Hazboticus New Member

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    Thanks mate! Ran into some issues over the last couple weeks with the damned humidity swelling my laminate. Nothing a little TLC couldnt fix but its slowing me down as every time I have to adjust the timber I have to re-oil it and wait a week for it to cure :mad:
     
  20. Hazboticus

    Hazboticus New Member

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    Anybody had any experiences with this issue when making a neck out of seperate woods? It seems that whenever I leave it a couple days the glue joint raises slightly, not enough to see but enough to feel a ridge? Plan is to sand it back down and make sure its all OK again and hit it with the final coats.
     

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