Neck Joint Routing Template For Fender

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Erick Coleman shows how to really use a routing template.

Video Transcription

[on-screen text reads: Erick Coleman - Stewart-MacDonald]

Routing a Fender-style neck pocket

Erick Coleman: I'm making a custom solid body for a customer of mine. I've drawn the body shape and center line on this ash blank. The first cut I'm going to make is to route the neck pocket. This Neck Joint Template guides the router bit for an accurate cut and a good fit. Neck sizes are pretty standard, but they do vary little bit. To handle these variations, this template is oversized by 40 thousandths of an inch. That's perfect for some necks, but for an average neck like this, I'll need to do a simple adjustment to get a tight fitting neck pocket. To reduce the size of the route, run Binding Tape down the inside edges of the template. Check the fit of the neck and repeat until the heel fits snug, and trim off the excess with a sharp knife.

Route the neck pocket

I'm ready to route the neck pocket, but before I do, I'm going to do a practice run on a piece of scrap wood. I'd hate to cut into this fancy piece of ash only to find out that I didn't measure correctly. Don't try to cut a deep route all in one pass. It'll take a few passes to reach your final depth. The first cut's going to be about a quarter inch deep using a half inch cutter bit. Making a shallow cut like this means raising the router bit high enough that the [inaudible 00:01:13] bearing is above the template. So I put shims under the template to raise it up to meet the bearing on my cutter. I use scraps of plexiglass, but wood would do the same thing. Double Stick Tape holds the shims in place and also holds the template to the body. You could also stack two templates together to achieve the same thing. Line up the template with your center line and make your first cut.

Install the neck and check the fit

Now I'll remove my shims and lower the bit another quarter inch for my second pass. For the last pass, the pocket is deep enough for the bearing to contact the walls. I can remove the template now and I'll lower the bit an additional eighth inch to reach my final depth. [Erick seats the neck into the neck joint] there. That's a tight fitting neck joint. Now I'm ready to route my actual blank.



Erick Coleman

StewMac Senior Technical Advisor