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  1. #1

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    Just wondering if anyone has done anything like this for a Tele neck pocket. I ordered an ash body with a sloped style neck pocket contour and they took quite a bit of material off the backside of the body. The furthest hole only has about 3/8" of body material left on it. I am thinking about laminating a couple of layers of carbon fiber to the inside face of the neck pocket and also to the outside face at the back of the body under the neck plate so nothing will be visible. Anyone tried anything similar? Thoughts and help are appreciated.

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  3. #2

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    How tight and deep does the neck fit in the pocket and how is the neck angle and expected string height at the bridge compared to the height range of the bridge you plan to use (put a straight edge on the frets and measure the height at the bridge screws or string holes)?

  4. #3

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    I don't have the neck yet, but the pocket is the standard Fender route and the neck is supposed to be Fender spec. I am more concerned about the strength of the pocket though. I should be able to add a shim if necessary after I take care of the strengthening. I can even shim the bridge if necessary. I just don't want to have the neck pocket fail. The amount of depth left on the body at the upper left hole (when looking at the back of the guitar - the hole that would be closest to your pinky when playing) is only about 5/16" deep. Hate to see that area chip off.

  5. #4

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    You may not have to reinforce the pocket at all. You mentioned there is a neck plate being used. That should provide all the strength needed in this area.

  6. #5

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    I guess that I would rather not chance it. I roughed up the bottom of the pocket and the area under the neck plate last night with 80 grit. I may hit it with a light touch of 50 grit. The CF repair kit comes next week. I am all in at this point.

  7. #6

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    Another thought: When you assemble the guitar make sure the base of the neck is tight against the body, this may improve tone and may somewhat lessen the stress on the bottom of the pocket. After the guitar is strung slightly loosen the neck bolts to allow the string tension to pull the neck heel tight against the body then retighten the bolts.

  8. #7

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    This is what I am up against although these are stock photos. I have the contour on a Tele body and the profile that I have left is about 5/16" at the right front bolt hole shown in the first photo. It looks to be more like 1/2" on the stock photo which would be almost twice the size of the one that I have. I realize that another version of the neck pocket contour removes most of that material anyway like the right photo shows. But that also puts that fourth bolt hole on more meat of the body. My concern is that with only 5/16" depth under the bolt on mine it will still receive some stress and the corner will crack off. If I can do a nice neat job of laminating both sides of the pocket with a couple of layers of CF I would think that the stresses on all four bolts would act more uniformly and maintain the integrity of the neck pocket. Am I being overly cautious?
    Attached Images Attached Images CF Neck Pocket Reinforcement?-contoured_heel2-jpg CF Neck Pocket Reinforcement?-war1-jpg 

  9. #8

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    first off, i dont think it'll be a problem..yes i think you are being overly cautious..(and i'm guitar cautious!!)

    as matt c stated, the plate should do the trick...

    2nd- you might want to look into insert bolts... ala

    CF Neck Pocket Reinforcement?-kgrhqfhjbke9-lhovsdbp-csbwdb-60_12-jpg

    lastly, you will change the neck angle/neck height if you build up the pocket...and on the back, the steel plate to wood is probably more solid than body/shim/plate

    i'd leave it..or maybe use the bolts

    cheers

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    first off, i dont think it'll be a problem..yes i think you are being overly cautious..(and i'm guitar cautious!!)...i'd leave it..or maybe use the bolts
    Thanks for the info neatomic. I have actually used those types of inserts on a previous build. Although I can appreciate how some people like them, I wasn't particularly happy about them on the guitar that I had at the time. I have access to all kinds of tools including a drill press. Even though everything was hidden it all turned out too sloppy for my tastes. The holes ended up being very close to the edges of the neck as I recall. In all I would rather not drill into the neck.

    I have already spent $26 on a CF kit that should be here on Monday or so. I will make some more judgments when I get it. From what I know the CF material is quite thin. I think that it is going to be a question as to high thick the epoxy ends up needing to be to make the system work. I will definitely run a test first.

    Lastly, my idea is to make the back of the neck pocket act more like plywood instead of a chunk of wood that might split at a grain edge. CF front and back to be the laminates that add strength to the core.

  11. #10

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    Measure the bolts before installing the neck, standard length is based on a standard body thickness at the neck pocket. Wouldn't want them coming through the fingerboard (I almost did that on one of my first builds).

  12. #11

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    Just picked up two pieces of 1/4"x3"x24" ash. Plan is to run the double sided CF application on one and compare the bending properties of the two once it cures. This will also help me measure the thickness. Very scientific.

    MaxTwang, I have screws from Warmoth for their version of the neck contour. The shorter screws are at least 1/4" too long since my contour was shaved down so much. To be honest I wouldn't be given this all a second thought if mine were in 1/2" range, but 5/16" just looks weak to me.

  13. #12

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    I am not sure what you want the CF to do. But having worked with it a fair bit I don't think it's the material you are looking for. CF is incredibly strong in tension, but doesn't have much strength to resist compression or twisting. Your idea of having essentially an "I" beam of CF by laminating inside and out is a good one. Torque one way will be resisted by the opposite sheet. The thin piece of wood that your intend to reinforce on both sides with carbon fiber will likely stay intact even in the face of a twisting action (as in if the guitar is dropped on its neck).

    But I believe your concern isn't keeping the neck attached to the neck pocket, but rather keeping the neck pocket attached to the body. I agree with the others that you probably don't have to worry about that, but I don't have the body in my hands to see just how weak the pocket looks.

    But if it pocket is really too thin and easily broken off then the CF sheet would have to be laminated to a good portion of the body on both sides to do what you want it to do. If you just do a small patch over the actual pocket, and the pocket is truly compromised, the impact will just pop that thin piece of reinforced wood off with the neck. You have to tie it into the rest of the body. But just adding CF to the back is no good. It would only resist an impact upwards from the back of the neck. An impact on the fingerboard side would just peel the CF off. So you would have to somehow have a continuous sheet of CF on the face of the guitar as well.

    To truly get a benefit from the CF you would probably need to laminate a sheet on the whole front including the neck pocket and another sheet on the whole back. Super cool, no doubt, but not a cheap thing to pull off.

    The good news is that you already have a fairly strong laminate in the neck/body join just by laminating 3/4" neck, whatever wood is left in the pocket, and a 1/8" brass plate. Still, if they made a mistake in the body rout and left you with an unusable neck pocket you need to return it and demand a refund. Mistakes do get made, and they can't always be fixed. No one yet has invented the "WoodAdder" tool.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    ... Your idea of having essentially an "I" beam of CF by laminating inside and out is a good one. Torque one way will be resisted by the opposite sheet. The thin piece of wood that your intend to reinforce on both sides with carbon fiber will likely stay intact even in the face of a twisting action (as in if the guitar is dropped on its neck)...
    This what I am after. 80% of the neck pocket is fine. It is meaty with the conventional depth. Only the corner that is furthest away from your mouth when playing is pretty thin in my estimation. I am not concerned about the whole neck pocket - just that little corner. I will know more once I do my testing. If I get less deflection than the control I believe that the laminated CF will keep that corner of the neck pocket from snapping off. It may be overkill, but since I will have the materials for testing I might as well carry on.

    BTW, I am no CF expert, but I have had to supervise its use for reinforcing cracking wood and concrete beams, and concrete walls several times. In theory I will be attempting to do something similar on an extremely small scale. But theory and reality aren't always the same. Hence the testing.
    Last edited by lammie200; 07-15-2016 at 12:11 PM.

  15. #14

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    The neck pocket is sandwiched between the heal of the neck and a metal neck plate. Damage to the neck pocket is unlikely due to this sandwich effect. If most of the pocket is still fairly stout then its strength will be spread out by the neck and the neck plate and its strength will be considerable. I think problems are unlikely as most of the string tension is pulling the neck towards the bridge. There are forces lifting the neck but most of the force is pulling the neck into the body. It can't hurt to reinforce it but I still think it is not needed.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman
    The neck pocket is sandwiched between the heal of the neck and a metal neck plate. Damage to the neck pocket is unlikely due to this sandwich effect. If most of the pocket is still fairly stout then its strength will be spread out by the neck and the neck plate and its strength will be considerable. I think problems are unlikely as most of the string tension is pulling the neck towards the bridge. There are forces lifting the neck but most of the force is pulling the neck into the body. It can't hurt to reinforce it but I still think it is not needed.
    I think that you are probably correct but I don't mind going the extra step to see if I can make it stronger. I am looking forward to the test that I have prepared. The pieces that I have are ash like the body and only 1/4 thick so I can bend them with my hands. It should be easy to tell if I am getting any more stiffness out of the CF. Below is something that I posted on the Tele forum. Also below is a pic of what I am trying to prevent. Lots of similar pics on the web.

    I thought about using the other three screws for most of the tightening. It may be a good thing, but I will also be using a neck plate and black neck pad, so depending on how the fourth screw lines up with the hole in the body it may still get a lot of force transferred to it. The holes in the body are slightly over sized so that I can adjust the side-to-side angle of the neck a bit to line it up with the saddles at the bridge. If that fourth screw is right at the edge of the body hole then it will still transfer force to the hole and that corner of the neck pocket could crack. I could drill that fourth hole even larger, but that would remove even more wood from the thinnest area of the neck pocket. If the CF works I may enlarge that hole a bit more to go one step further to prevent any force at that hole.

    As far as the force while playing one of the reasons that I want a Tele is to do push and pull on the neck (albeit very slightly) to get a slight swirling sound with jazz chords. If you have ever seen a Tim Lerch youtube video you can see what I am talking about. So there there will be some rotational force on the neck pocket. I don't imagine it to be a problem with what I have, but if that little corner of the neck pocket was more beefy I wouldn't be concerned at all.

    As far as looks go everything will be hidden. The backside CF patch will be slightly smaller than the black neck plate pad and the frontside CF patch would be inside the neck pocket. The area on the back is flat, BTW. It is just sloped.

    I appreciate all the comments and I am sure that some people feel that I am ignoring their advice. However, I will have the material for a test so I might as well at least do the test. Also, although I am no CF expert, I have supervised its use for reinforcing cracked wood and concrete beams and cracked concrete walls. I am trying to do something similar on a much smaller scale.
    Attached Images Attached Images CF Neck Pocket Reinforcement?-1879403383_ac44a34346-jpg 
    Last edited by lammie200; 07-16-2016 at 11:58 AM.

  17. #16

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    It surely won't do any harm to reinforce the joint. If you intend on bending notes with neck push - pulls, it sounds like a good idea to have the strongest join possible.

  18. #17

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    i know you are anxious to try the carbon fiber, but another possibility would have been to get some brush on superglue..and literally painted the neck pocket with it..even down into the drilled holes...the wood would absorb it and be strengthened

    anyways, have fun with your build..thats what builds are about!

    cheers

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    i know you are anxious to try the carbon fiber, but another possibility would have been to get some brush on superglue..and literally painted the neck pocket with it..even down into the drilled holes...the wood would absorb it and be strengthened

    anyways, have fun with your build..thats what builds are about!

    cheers
    From what I know CF is utilized for its tensile strength. Super glue is strong for bonding but brittle. I have the CF on the way, and apparently our new dishwasher is within 10 minutes of delivery. Nothing like wasting a Saturday waiting on an appliance delivery, ugg!

    Oh, and I also ordered a thicker neck plate. That should help.

  20. #19

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    Just epoxied up the test piece. Need to let it cure for 48 hours. The application process is super simple. It lays flat easily and the epoxy spreads easily. I used two layers on each side changing the fiber orientation 90 degrees. Build up appears to be about the thickness of a sheet of paper.
    Last edited by lammie200; 07-18-2016 at 11:57 PM.

  21. #20

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    My test piece is complete after curing for 48 hours. As you can see the layered up CF test sandwich is much stiffer than the control piece. I am definitely going to put the CF on both sides of the neck pocket on the body that I have. At this point the only debate for me is whether to use 2 or 3 layers. The CF test sandwich is 2 layers turned 90 degrees from each other. I am considering a third layer at 45 degrees. As stiff as the test piece is, it is ever so slightly less stiff when twisting as compared to the axial bending. Depth of the build up doesn't appear to an issue. On to the next step!
    Attached Images Attached Images CF Neck Pocket Reinforcement?-cf-test-jpg CF Neck Pocket Reinforcement?-control-test-jpg 

  22. #21

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    I thought that I would post my progress for those that are interested. Everything is going as planned thus far. I noticed that the pocket depth was 1/16" deeper than spec so I layered the CF a bit more to bring it up to 5/8" deep. I have very little sanding around the CF to keep it all concealed and clean up the edges if any sanding at all. The next step is to enlarge the HB route a bit on the bottom edge. You can see that the pick guard assembly is up higher than it should be. That is because the HB route in slightly misaligned. I am also going to paint epoxy on the fins between the neck pocket and HB route just to strengthen them more. After that it is on to finishing. I have some Transtint honey amber and medium brown to test out. Tru-Oil on top of that. I used Tru-Oil on my Strat neck and am really pleased with the results. The pick up is a Fralin P92, btw.
    Attached Images Attached Images CF Neck Pocket Reinforcement?-mock-up-jpg CF Neck Pocket Reinforcement?-neck-plate-jpg CF Neck Pocket Reinforcement?-cf-back-jpg CF Neck Pocket Reinforcement?-cf-front-jpg 

  23. #22

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    Also, I just want to clarify my use of the CF in case that hasn't been clear. It is meant to spread the load on the weakest corner of the neck pocket to the rest of the neck pocket. I believe that is all that is necessary to keep the thinnest corner of the neck pocket from cracking or breaking off. It isn't meant to make the whole pocket stronger or to keep the pocket from breaking free of the body. If the CF behaves similar to my test I think that I have accomplished my goal. I kindly welcome disagreements should anyone have any.

  24. #23

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    I have a strat with this same stamp in the neck pocket and don’t know what brand it is as I only have the body.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauljazzlestele
    I have a strat with this same stamp in the neck pocket and don’t know what brand it is as I only have the body.
    The body came from Guitar Mill. I think they are in TN. I have since sold the body after I had finished the guitar, I actually didn't like the contoured heel. I thought that I would but the guitar lost its Tele feel for me with the contour. The CF did make the back of the pocket very strong, however. It worked exactly as planned and was completely undetectable with everything together.

  26. #25

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    Awesome, they make quality stuff. Thank you!