Portland Guitar Co.

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Portland Guitar Co. | Portland Oregon | Contact Jay Dickinson-503.245.3276 | jay@portlandguitar.com

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Finished Build

Orchestral Model OM 2.12.58

ForWalt H.

Walnut Body
Sitka Spruce Top
Mahogany Neck
Pistachio Fretboard, Bridge, and Headstock
Maple Binding
Herringbone Purfling
Gold Frets & Gotoh Tuners
25.4 Inch Scale Length

Page 6

( 250 ) 23-July-2013

We are going to make this neck similar to a neck that Walt already likes.

( 251 ) 23-July-2013

I use this contour gauge set to copy the profile of the neck he likes. I have use tape to lock the profile gauge in place.

( 252 ) 23-July-2013

In this picture I am using the jointer to prepare the fretboard surface of the neck blank.

( 253 ) 23-July-2013

I will be placing the blank into a vice several times, so I like to square up the sides and get them parallel.

( 254 ) 23-July-2013


( 255 ) 23-July-2013

Here I have selected the nut blank I will use and have marked its position on the neck blank.

( 256 ) 23-July-2013

And now I can create the headstock surface by sanding it until it meets the nut and has the right angle.

( 257 ) 23-July-2013

Next, I am using my router table to route out the channel for the truss rod.

( 258 ) 23-July-2013


( 259 ) 23-July-2013

I make sure the rod is flush with the surface.

( 260 ) 23-July-2013

I use a drill guide to drill a hole for the neck retention bolt.

( 261 ) 23-July-2013

I like to counter sink the wood insert.

( 262 ) 23-July-2013


( 263 ) 23-July-2013

And it gets screwed into place.

( 264 ) 23-July-2013

I will use this insert to hold the neck onto the profiling jig.

( 265 ) 23-July-2013

This jig lets me use the router table to create the profile of the heel of the neck.

( 266 ) 23-July-2013

A very big router bit going very fast.

( 267 ) 23-July-2013

When I am done we have a heel that will fit perfectly into the heel channel we created in the body of the guitar.

( 268 ) 23-July-2013

Speaking of which, I am using another special jig to guide the router to create the fretboard cantilever support channel.

( 269 ) 23-July-2013


( 270 ) 23-July-2013


( 271 ) 23-July-2013

And here is a look at the finished channel.

( 272 ) 23-July-2013

At this time I like to add a little fillet of epoxy paste to the channel wings to help support them.

( 273 ) 23-July-2013

Here I am splitting a piece of Pistachio to create a head stock veneer.

( 274 ) 23-July-2013

I put a few weights on as I glue he two pieces together to keep them flat.

( 275 ) 23-July-2013

And then I use the drum sander to dimension it to 100 mils thick.

( 276 ) 23-July-2013

And while the drum sander is out I use it to dimension the fretboard blank to 300 mil.

( 277 ) 23-July-2013

I put a few pieces of turners tape on the back.

( 278 ) 23-July-2013

And attach the fretboard blank to the bottom of the radiusator. The two bars of different length joined by the crossbar with the fretboard blank will sweep out a prescribed cone over the router bit.

( 279 ) 23-July-2013

I sweep the crossbar over the router bit while advancing the sled.

( 280 ) 23-July-2013

When I am finished I have a nice compound radius surface on the fretboard blank.

( 281 ) 23-July-2013

Now I use the drum sander again on the bottom of the fretboard blank to bring the crown height to 250 mil.

( 282 ) 23-July-2013

Finally, I use very flat sanding blocks to even out the surface and remove the bit marks.

( 283 ) 23-July-2013

I check the straightness of the fretboard blank with a precision straight edge and feeler gauge.

( 284 ) 23-July-2013

Here I have mounted the fretboard blank in the slotting jig.

( 285 ) 23-July-2013

This jig has a set of templates to position the guide sled. I carefully drag the Dremel Tool across the fretboard blank with a cross cut blade attached to create the fret slots.

( 286 ) 23-July-2013

Lots of fret slots.

( 287 ) 23-July-2013

Next I mark the position for the fretboard markers.

( 288 ) 23-July-2013

And use a Forstner bit to drill a 1/4 inch hole for each MOP dot.

( 289 ) 23-July-2013

A little CA glue holds the dots in place.

( 290 ) 23-July-2013

And then I sand them flush with the surface.

( 291 ) 23-July-2013

Next I carefully mark the width of the fretboard with masking tape.

( 292 ) 23-July-2013

I do this at the nut and 14the fret.

( 293 ) 23-July-2013

Before installing the fretwire, I like to check that the slots are deep enough. I use a piece of scrap fretwire with the barbs removed to do this.

( 294 ) 23-July-2013

Now I cut a piece of fretwire to length.

( 295 ) 23-July-2013

And hammer it in place.

( 296 ) 23-July-2013

I check carefully to make sure the fretwire is fully seated.

( 297 ) 23-July-2013

And a bit of CA glue wicks in the end to secure the fretwire in place.

( 298 ) 23-July-2013

Now I carefully sand the fretboard to shape using the masking tape edges as a guide.

( 299 ) 23-July-2013

When there is no wood left between the edge and the tape I stop.

( 300 ) 23-July-2013

And then I cut off the end piece.

( 301 ) 23-July-2013

And sand it flush with the fret slot.

( 302 ) 23-July-2013

Here I am using my milling machine to create the channels in the neck blank for the cantilever support and the channel wings.

( 303 ) 23-July-2013


( 304 ) 23-July-2013

And the table saw is used to trim the end of the heel so it will fit into the body of the guitar.

( 305 ) 23-July-2013

And the neck fits perfectly.

( 306 ) 23-July-2013

I use a piece of Purpleheart to make the cantilever support.

( 307 ) 23-July-2013

And after it is glued in place I sand it flush with the surface of the neck blank.

( 308 ) 23-July-2013

This will support the fretboard over the body of the guitar so the neck angle can be adjusted.

( 309 ) 23-July-2013

And a small detail is to put a 3 degree bevel into the end of the heel. This will allow the heel free movement in the heel channel as the neck is adjusted.

( 310 ) 23-July-2013

I use a special wedge with just the right angle to guide me as I trim the end of the headstock veneer.

( 311 ) 23-July-2013

And then I use the milling machine to create the slot for the truss rod adjustment.

( 312 ) 23-July-2013

I lay the fretboard out on the neck blank and use blocks to hold it in place.

( 313 ) 23-July-2013

I then make a couple of fiducial buttons so when I glue the fretboard on it won't slip around.

( 314 ) 23-July-2013

And a small block goes over the truss rod to provide some bite for the truss rod cover screw.

( 315 ) 23-July-2013

After marking out the profile I put down a layer of epoxy.

( 316 ) 23-July-2013

And glue the headstock veneer and fretboard in place.

( 317 ) 23-July-2013

After curing, the clamps come off and all I have to do is whittle away everything that isn't the guitar neck.