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1935 Gibson Roy Smeck Stage DeLuxe Conversion Part IV

Now that we have the neck nice and strong with the addition of an aluminum beam it is time to profile and shape it.  As mentioned previously we want to make this a comfortable neck to play but stay true to a Gibson 30s  shape.  We worked closely with the owner of the guitar and decided on a 1 13/16" nut width and a soft V profile.  We have a nice mid 30s L-00 that was used as a guide for the profile.  The rest is left to the skill and experience of Tom in carving a nice consistent shape.  He began by marking the fingerboard and tapering it to the desired dimensions.  Next using a caul made for the job he glued the board to the neck using hot hide glue.  Here is a the progressions of the neck shaping.  

 

 

Using a block plane to trim the fingerboard to desired width.

 

The fingerboard glued and clamped in place.  Alignment here is critical, a bit of double stick tape on the top caul helps out here.

 

Here the neck is clamped into a home-made neck shaping jig.  Tom starts by getting the depth and width to the right dimension and uses these lines as a guide for carving the neck.  

 

Here is a closeup showing the centering line and sides.  The fingerboard edges are the guide for the width.  This neck will end up being just under an inch deep at the first fret.  Putting true lines on a Gibson neck often reveals how hand-made they were.  The headstock transition on this neck is not exactly symmetrical.  

 

 

Getting the transitions right is one of the trickier parts to making the newly shaped neck look authentic.  

 

A sharp chisel in skilled hands gets the job done.

 

Tom uses a spoke shave to profile the barrel of the neck.

 

A cabinet scraper and small convex plane are used to shape the heel transition.

 

 

Nice smooth lines.