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Rebuilding a Guitar Neck Using Metalworking Tools

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Walter Sorrells shows how to make a replacement neck for an electric guitar in this video. Walter’s videos normally focus on knife-making, but every now and then, he likes to demonstrate how knife-making skills, tools, and techniques can be used in other endeavors. In this video, he uses a number of unconventional tools to prove that metalworking tools can be used to do woodwork.

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A few years back, Walter made an electric guitar with a substandard neck. It didn’t make for good music, so he just hung it on his wall. And now, after 15 years, he finally decided to fix it.

He began by stripping the guitar down to parts, labelling everything carefully as he went, so that he could later reconstruct it in functioning order. He also measured all the distances for precision. His theory was to leave as little to chance as possible in putting the electric guitar back together since he had pretty much forgotten how he built the guitar.

Next, he cut off just the neck. His idea was to save the headstock and replace everything else. He used a milling machine to restore the 14-degree angle of the neck scarf joint using a half-inch in mil. He also stripped off all the lacquer because he wasn’t satisfied with how he did it before.

Later, he glued the new neck at the original 14-degree headstock angle. He says that the key is to make sure that it’s absolutely square to the new neck. He also glued on a piece for the heel before going back to the mill to work on the frets. He used other tools, such as the belt grinder, to finish the job. He claims that there are many ways to skin a cat, and if it’s precision you want, then metalworking tools are the way to go.

When he was done, the guitar not only looked great, it also sounded great. Walter graced his viewers with some sample riffs to show that the final output was a fully-functioning electric guitar.

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