Hello all of you knowledgeable instrument builders,

After building three four string guitars, a three string guitar, an eight string mandolin, an ukulele, and a diddley bow I feel ready to graduate to building a six string.

The only problem is that I'll need a truss rod for that and I do not have any power tools (except for a drill). So how do I cut a straight and even truss rod groove without a router?

Any suggestions?

My only idea so far is to make a three part laminate neck with the middle part the same width as the square metal rod I want to use as a nonadjustable truss rod. Something like the sketch below.

Do you think that would work? Has anybody done this successfully?

Thanks!

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Thanks, Chickenbone John, Kirk, Richard, and Jerry!

This router plane looks like an awsome tool, but yes, the ebay listings are all quite pricey - so I guess what will happen is what often happens to me when I'm looking for advice for building one thing on this site: I'll end up buiding at least two things... first a router plane and then a six string...

... Or I'll just go with the multi-laminate option - a six string bass without truss rod? Wow! - I don't like my necks to be too meaty though and am afraid that I'wont dare to make it as slim as as I would like without a truss rod... Might be worth a try though....

... so basically I'm gonna build at least three things: a router plane (there's also this very simple and basic version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_2a_FwjAgk), a six string with truss rod, and a six string with multi-laminate neck... I have two very nice wine boxes lying around here...

Report back!  I'd love to see pics of the router plane and necks! 

I know I'm late in responding to this but just an FYI. Martins first guitars had a square steel tube running through them instead of a truss rod. Those were great 6 string guitars. So yes your plan will easily work. Please show us all when done. Rock on!!!

Hi Hans, my first guitar 1977 has a solid bar in the neck and one from 1980, both neck are as good as day one. Couple of things:

You could make the slot with a few passes on a saw

The rod/bar is stronger has more resistance to bowing if higher than it is wide

If your laminate in the neck is the same width as the bar [as in the drawing] I've seen them pushed out buy the tension on the rod, by the glue joint failing

Two things come to mind with he router blade 1- keeping the blade sharp and 2- fighting with difficult grain.

Oh! and you may need to build any relief into the neck if rod in not adjustable.

Cheers Taff

Thanks, Taffy,
Whether the truss rod is being pushed out because the glue joint fails probably also depends on the kind of glue you use to glue the metal to the wood, right? I was thinking epoxy...

Also, you can imagine looking at your drawing, that depending on the thickness of the neck, the deeper you go with the slot the less wood to wood gluing area you have. But on the other hand if the bar is say 7mmx12mm you have more gluing area for the bar.

Taff

Just got an email saying: "Your discussion "Truss rod without power tools" was just featured on Cigar Box Nation." Wow! That sounds like a great honor! ...but what exactly does that mean?

And yes, I'll keep all of you posted once I get to actually building the router plane and the six string necks.

On the home page of the forum, there's a "Featured Discussions" header.  This thread is at the top.

Oh wow, and now my discussion is featured in the newsletter... I guess these are my 15 minutes of CBN fame!

My thought, for my next, is to use a 1/8 X 1/2" hardware store aluminum bar.  It would be installed vertically against the potential warp.  I would cut the groove on a table saw (so that disqualifies this idea from the conversation) or find a friend with a table saw.  The bar would be seriously glued into the slot and then covered with a fretboard.

Don, I have used this method on several builds using bars, heavy round music wire, and such. Glued 'em in the slot with epoxy, then covered with the fret board. Except the one I cut into the back of the neck, like a jackass. That required significant bondo wood filler repair, followed by paint. One was a 3 string bass, and I was concerned about the bass string tension bowing the neck. I don't think that a 3 string git with a hardwood neck and fretboard  needs a stiffener bar/rod. I've built a bunch of 'em, and they haven't bent up yet. It's a fun exercise, though. Except if you cut the back of the neck, like a jackass. Live and learn!

I hear if you inlay Viagra pills as fretboard dots it'll never warp.,.,

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