Building a One-Piece Stratocaster Neck (Part 3)

Time to finish off the truss rod in this installment.

Starting with the butt of the neck where the truss adjustment screw will reside, the first hole to be drilled will go through to the end of the truss rod channel route. Getting these two to connect, and connect at the same angle can be tricky. Drilling this hole free-hand would be extremely difficult, and inconsistent. I take my cue from Melvin Hiscock’s guitar-building book and build jigs to ensure that the holes are drilled straight down the centerline and at the correct angle to connect with the truss rod route. This is one of the places where you can see the genius of Leo Fender’s design. If you are making one neck, this is not an efficient way to make a neck. If you are making hundreds of guitar necks, it is hard to think of a faster way to do it. Fender guitars really were the first to be designed with production in mind (yet another example that technology doesn’t just make content (in this case a guitar neck) more or less efficient, but also shapes the content itself). Anyway, here are the shots:

The next hole is 3/8″, and is drilled just slightly deeper than the depth of the truss adjustment nut:

What we have now are two holes, one connecting the truss rod route to the butt of the neck, and one hole for the adjustment nut.

On the head end, I do essentially the same thing, a 1/4″ hole connecting to the truss route, and a 3/8″ hole for the truss rod anchor and walnut plug.

Now it’s time to make the truss rod itself. I make these out of 3/16″ steel. First I thread one end with a 10-32 thread die. This end is for the truss rod anchor which will reside at the headstock end of the neck.

I make the anchor out of a part I found at Home Depot. It is a perfect fit for the 3/8″ hole, but needed to be drilled and tapped for 10-32 threads. This is quickly achieved on the drill press.

The anchor is then screwed onto the threaded rod and peened.

I then insert the rod into the neck, with the anchor at the headstock, and mark where it exits the bottom of the neck.

The rod is cut about 5/16″ short of the end of the neck so that the adjustment nut can actually adjust, and then threaded, and the adjustment nut screwed on.

Continue to Part 4


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