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Capping Off the Neck

The ongoing saga of the scratch built guitars continues...  The last chapter had me making and installing truss rods.

With the truss rods in place, it's time to insert walnut caps in the slots and holes created for the them.  Walnut is a great choice for many reasons, but mostly because it's easy to work and it's color nicely contrasts that of the maple.

I start by roughing out the transition from the fingerboard to the headstock - using a block of wood to hold it so it's square, it's back to the belt sander.


I stop just short of the goal, so I can install a short piece of walnut dowel into the holes left from the truss rod installs:

I picked up a 3/8" walnut dowel from the local Woodcraft - I was going to make one, but at only a few bucks and beings I was there anyway, the dowel makes life much easier - and cut off a few inches.  After some hide glue is applied, the dowels go in the holes in the Tele necks...

From there it's back to the belt sander to finish off the job creating the transition from the fingerboard to the headstock.


Fender Bullet Truss Rod Nut

 Remember that the Tele's are getting a traditional or "vintage" truss rod, one that adjusts at the heel of the neck, so capping the hole at the headstock is appropriate.  The Strat is getting a Fender Bullet Truss Rod Nut, that adjust through that hole at the top.

Leaving the raw hole wouldn't be pretty, however, so I modified the walnut plug so that it would work with the bullet rod nut by first anchoring an old 2x to the drill press table, drilling a 3/8" hole partially into it, swapped the bit out for a 1/4" one, then place the walnut plug into the previously drill hole, and there I got a perfectly centered, hollowed out walnut plug.

Then the same approach was taken as with the Tele necks finishing off the transition, taking care not to put too much glue on the plug as not to plug up the hex-head with it.

Just to be sure, I made sure that I could adjust the truss rod through the hole - success!  Woohoo!

Next up is the skunk stripes.  I thicknessed some strips of walnut until they fit snugly into the slot in the back of the necks.

Since the route for the truss rods (and hence the truss rods themselves) are curved, I used the side of the jig I made for routing the channel to mark out the bottom of the walnut inserts.

Then over to the bandsaw to cut the curved bottom.

And finally a little time fussing with some sandpaper and the belt sander to round off the end of the stripe to match the slot where the skunk stripes end.

Back to the hide glue bottle and a few clamps, and the strips are glued into place.

When dry, I run them first through the table saw to get them close to flush, then through the thickness sander to get them flush to the back.

The next fun-filled episode will have me cutting fret slots and installing the marker dots into the fingerboard...





Hi Leif!


Been following your pic/tutorial with great interest. Boy! will take on most anything, won't you? What an ambitious project!

I see you are referring to Stew-Mac. I bought their guitar repair vise last year. I found them to be a great company to deal with. The vise arrived damaged. I called them and they immediately shipped a replacement along with a return label, trusting me to ship the damaged one back. The undamaged replacement wasn't up to a machinist's standard, so I did some fid'ln with it to make it work smoothly. I love the vise for lots of saw handle work.

Looks like you are having a great time with your guitar project. I used to play some, but arthritis in my hands caused me to give my guitars away. Can't curl my fingers enough to hold a cord. I'll be following your progress until completion and will be expecting a video of you playing your new guitars here on your website. You do good work, along with innovative and ingenious ways to get certain things accomplished without expending an excessive amount of money just to make it easier.

Take care, Marv

PS....If I remember correctly, you did an article on how to create the blade slot in a cover-top D8 type handle. I can't find it on your site. I want to refer it to a saw friend. Thanks.


Thanks, Marv!

Yeah, I'll tackle anything - I guess i like the challenge!  It's a lot of fun.

The cover-top handle article was lost some time ago, I couldn't find a backup of it anywhere. I'll take another look-see this weekend...





Hi Leif!,

Nice Work!

I see that you build guitars from scratch and I would like to ask you about a problem with my Fender Standard Stratocaster... The skunk stripe has become loose, I can feel it with my thumb while playing, if I press on it, ... it moves! This happens to the upper half of th skunk stripe.

Someone told me to exchange the neck... but is it really that serious? is it worth it to change it or is that problem fixable? if so... what kind of glue do you suggest?

Thank You very much,... any help wil be appreciated.




Hi Carlos,

Sorry for the late reply - the comments part of the website has been broken.

Hide glue would fix that right up, I would think...



G'day, Leif ,

would you make & sell me 2 of the inserts ?

hope to hear from you.

best wishes

glen phillips

4. Archer court. Lakes entrance Victoria Australia 3909