Operation Plaid Hammer: Neckin' 3 - the Neckining

Right! As of the last blog post, we had the Plaid Hammer neck all fretted, but still square in the back. Let's add some curves! First stop: the ShopBot.

The dust collector does add a bit of a Frankenstein's lab look to this thing. It only makes monsters of tone, though. SEE WHAT I DID THERE?

The dust collector does add a bit of a Frankenstein's lab look to this thing. It only makes monsters of tone, though. SEE WHAT I DID THERE?

The ShopBot is a much smaller CNC router, with an entirely different control program and setup than the big router. This one is specialized just for neck carving. The three different sleds you see are for 24.75" scale set-neck Kauers (Daylighter, Argonaut, Starliner, Banshee), 26.25" scale Kauers (Acadian/Crusader), and 25.5" bolt-neck Kauers (Arcturus). Each requires a different sled, a different program, and different prep steps.

Much like the earlier sanding process for the body, the back of the Plaid Hammer neck gets a coat of rattle-can paint to gauge progress, and then is locked into place in the sled.

Patient sedated, strapped in, and prepped for surgery.

Patient sedated, strapped in, and prepped for surgery.

The ShopBot makes a series of U-shaped passes over the neck to rough out the radius of the neck. The first pass, however, is more of a sighting lap - the program is run too high, to make sure that alignment is all correct. Because it's run higher than the final carve, the first pass leaves some slight shoulders carved, but leaves a wide path of the rattle-canned flat bit in the middle.

ShopBots, much like larger CNCs, the Sasquatch, and Andrew, are naturally blurry. Not because Dave is a crap photographer.

ShopBots, much like larger CNCs, the Sasquatch, and Andrew, are naturally blurry. Not because Dave is a crap photographer.

Alignment checks out good - let's run it!

The router bit making passes on the right. It's controlled via a computer that lives under the table, and was programmed by Abby someone. Abby... Normal.

The router bit making passes on the right. It's controlled via a computer that lives under the table, and was programmed by Abby someone. Abby... Normal.

One pass later, roughing in is done!

Ribbed for your sanding pleasure! SWEET MYSTERY OF LIFE, AT LAST I'VE FOUND YOUUUU

Ribbed for your sanding pleasure! SWEET MYSTERY OF LIFE, AT LAST I'VE FOUND YOUUUU

Next, the roughed out neck goes to another Doug-designed jig specifically created for finishing the neck carving process.

They fight back unless they're held down.

They fight back unless they're held down.

There's a fiberboard template sitting under the heel end of the neck to protect it. Notice also that the shoulders between the neck and headstock are still sharp - time to bust out the rasp.

PUTTIN ON DA RIIIIIIIITZ! Oh, I mean... DAVE USES DA RAAAAAAASP!

PUTTIN ON DA RIIIIIIIITZ! Oh, I mean... DAVE USES DA RAAAAAAASP!

After the headstock shoulders are roughed out, time to move on to the circular sander with low grit sandpaper to get out the machine markings and smooth out the headstock transition. Note again the rattlecan paint guide coat on the back of the neck.

It's pronounced Fronk-en-sander.

It's pronounced Fronk-en-sander.

"What roundover curves!" "Vhy, sank you, Doktor!"

"What roundover curves!" "Vhy, sank you, Doktor!"

Many, MANY passes of higher and higher grit sandpaper later (including the front and back of the headstock), and we're smooth as a baby's butt. Time to prep for the paint booth!

With the fretboard taped off (but with the ends not trimmed before the picture, because I'M A GENIUS) it's ready to head off to the booth.

Next post, Doug turns full Walter White, I hairspray my leg hair, and shenanigans ensue.

Dave SegalComment