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Monday, June 15, 2015

Carving a mahogany neck

Carving necks - my favourite part of building. You can use all manners of methods for shaping necks and which tools you use to remove wood won't matter. What is important is what wood you decide to keep. That said, I use sharp hand tools. First I make two angled cuts length wise. I didn't take a pic but you can see the offcuts to the right in this pic. Then I take a small contour plane (similar to a spokeshave) and start working the edges. But really, I should have done what you see in pic #2 first. 

And that is to remove some material near the headstock so the spokeshave has an exit at the end of the cut. A sharp whittling knife is good for this but I know others use rasps. I never use rasps. 

The back of the headstock needs planing. This time I used a tool I bought on ebay where it was listed as a "luthiers plane". I suspect it's a spokeshave with the handles cut off, but since it takes a nice thin shaving I don't care what it is or was. 

More contour planing. The V-shape is established. 

And the whittling knife is again used to shape the heel. With a sharp knife I can do pretty much anything, and I never get surprised by where the knife goes. 

And here it is. I'll scrape it with concave scrapers and sand out most marks but as I have shown, sandpaper isn't really necessary. This was all done in around 25 minutes, much too fast for an enjoyable task. 

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