Some of my necks are a little too thick. I'm trying to save a step here. I use a 1/2" router bit to round over my 3/4" neck but when I add my 1/4" fretboard onto it, it seems too thick. Do you route the neck after you glue the fretboard onto the neck?

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I like to use a plane and rasp until there is almost flat left on the back of the neck.

On some fretless builds I route the fingerboard with the same bit you use.,.,it makes it easier to hit the outer strings alone.,.,sort of like a violin.,.,for lighter strings you could thin the neck a little.,.,for heavier strings you need that 1 inch thickness.,.,unless you are using a truss rod, laminate neck, or using carbon fiber rods.,.,if you like thinner give it a try .,.,.no rules here.,.,

I meant "almost no flat"

Take a close look at the neck of any electric guitar and you'll see that it is very thin at the neck/headstock joint. That's a good indicator that you can thin out the neck quite a bit so that it's comfortable to play. If you are using a good hardwood for the neck (maple, mahogany, oak) then with only three or four  strings, you are not stressing the neck if you thin it out.\

My current necks are 1 1/4" at the nut and 1 1/2" at the box I use a wood rasp to fully round the neck and thin it out so it feels good to play. A rasp for basic shaping and an 80 grit disk on a 5" sanding disk in a hand drill does the needed work in short order. No need to work up a sweat to get a nice neck shape.

Go ahead and thin that sucker out.

I shave my necks like this: 

I do tend to thin the neck a little when I thin the headstock on the bandaw.

very cool! Thanks everyone for your ideas. I use hardwood. I guess I'm just not finishing the neck well enough. Thanks again everyone!

I have a spoke shave that I use to shape the back of the neck whether I add fret board or not.  A router is a good way to remove a lot of material quickly and easily, but the resulting shape feels a bit chunky.  A spoke shave is a hand tool but works quite quickly even at a shallow depth.  You could also easily taper the thickness along the length with it if you like.

Keep in mind, unless you have a truss rod you can't thin the neck too much or it will box under stress, especially with a 4 string.  That said, a spoke shave allows you to sculpt exactly the shape you want: round, D-shaped, V-shaped, whatever.  I have one guitar with a 1/4 fret board that is V-shaped; the fretboard gives it a lot of thickness so it's not bowing.  I have a 4 string with no fret board built from a 1x2.  I rounded the back but left as much material as I could to keep it from bowing.

Even with this method, if I leave the slightest bit of flat from the original board on the back you can instantly feel it when you grab the neck.  It takes a delicate hand to cut out all the flat and leave enough mass to no bow.


Some of the tools you can use for Neck work ,planes ,oak peelers ,or just basic electric tools.


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