Headstock (shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes) part 2

Having flattened the headstock veneer in my previous post, I marked out the centre line (ensuring that it followed up from the centre line on the neck) and layed out the headstock shape using the ply template I prepared last year. How I approach the shaping work depends on the design of the headstock, particularly whether there are any curves or just straight lines. As this guitar has a straight sided “paddle” design I worked the top first and then moved to the sides. All the shaping is done before the headstock is bought down to final thickness. DSC_0429The excess material from the top was removed with my Bad Axe carcass saw. This crosscut saw leaves such a fine finish that I was able to cut very close to the final line meaning that I only had minimal planing to do for the top; there is a reason this saw is one of the go-to tools in my workshop. I did a small amount of fine tuning on the top of the headstock with my low angle block plane, as this left a finish ready surface, even across the end grain. The advantage of planing the top edge before addressing the sides was that any spelching on the far corner of the top fell far outside the edge of the headstock – had I approached the sides first any spelching would have fallen within the final dimensions of the headstock. DSC_0433Most of the excess material off each side was removed with a coping saw, and then taken down to final dimension with the low angle block plane. The key when shaping a headstock is to ensure that the sides remain 90 degrees to the face of the work, so I keep a small engineer’s square to hand for constant checking. DSC_0444 There is something quite wonderful about planing the side of a veneered piece, and watching two-tone shavings pile up.   DSC_0438The curved transition from the nut to the headstock was roughed out using a 13 grain modellers rasp, and fine tuned with a 13 grain rat tail rasp. I use Auriou rasps, and find that they cut aggressively yet precisely, allowing me to work right up to the line and requiring minimal clean up. Again, the curved sides of the transition have to remain at 90 degrees to the front of the neck, so plenty of checking with an engineer’s square. The headstock is now ready to be thicknessed and for the slots cut for the tuning pegs. Stay tuned for more!

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