Making the neck: the headstock joint

In the next few blogs I’ll be writing how I made the neck and headstock. I’ve been working on these for a while but haven’t written anything about them yet, so it’s time to catch up a bit.

First, the headstock. Most headstocks are sawn off the neck blank at a 15 degree angle and glued ‘under’ the neck. The result looks something like this:

Headstock glued under neck

Headstock glued under neck

I’ve been taught a different method where the headstock is glued ‘over’ the neck. The advantage of this method is that when the fretboard (the black bar in the sketches) is glued down, it adds extra strength to the joint:

Headstock glued over neck

Headstock glued over neck

The length of the resulting headstock is the same in both pictures, as measured from the start of the tilting angle. But, it’s clear from these drawings that the ‘over’ approach means the length of the wood used for the headstock is longer than the ‘under’ approach. The remaining wood for the neck is thereby shorter. Overall of course, you use the same amount of wood for both approaches.

I’m not experienced enough to judge the effect of this method, but it makes sense to me and I can’t see any drawbacks.

Here are some pictures of the work in progress:

Headstock sawn off Spanish cedar neck blank

Headstock sawn off Spanish cedar neck blank

Classical guitar neck and headstock before glueing

Neck and headstock before glueing

Headstock glued on to the neck

Headstock glued onto the neck

 

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4 thoughts on “Making the neck: the headstock joint

    • I don’t have any pictures of this I’m afraid. But I remember that I clamped the headstock to the neck using some F-clamps (bar clamps), with a piece of wood between the clamp and the neck/headstock for protection and to even the clamping pressure. It was a bit tricky since with the glue in place the joint gets slippery. I believe I kept the whole thing aligned by laying the pieces on their sides so that the headstock and neck are flush with each other. The trick is to tighten the clamps slowly, checking the alignment and adjusting the joint where necessary as you tighten the clamp. As always, do a practice run without glue first to see how it goes. Hope this helps.

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