Skip to main content

A Bench Hook for a 10 String Classic Guitar Neck

There can be nothing exclusive about substantial art. It comes directly out of the heart of the experience of life and thinking about life and living life.

Charles Ives, American Composer

The Obsession Continues....

I glued the peg head to the neck shaft this morning, it worked, but the scarf joint always slips a little from the pressure of the clamps. I plan for that and try to set the neck shaft about a 1/16th of an inch proud of the peg head when I glue up the pieces. Once the glue has dried I correct any problems either with a sanding board or my trusty Stanley No. 7 jointer plane.

The only problem with using the jointer plane was finding a block of wood tall enough to compensate for the 14 degree peg head angle. With such a long peg head (it's four inches longer than a six string guitar peg head) I knew the block should be about 5 inches tall, which I don't have. Then I remembered why I had that piece of 1x6 pine leaning in the corner.

A few quick cuts with crosscut and rip saws, a few screws and I solved my problem by making a bench hook. You all know what a bench hook is, don't you? I make them for a task, forget that I've got one hiding in the shop and when I find it I remove the screws and use the wood to build a fire in the cook stove.

My mother showed me how to make a bench hook when I was about 11-12 years old. I wanted to try relief carving but had no way to hold the board. We found some old boards, Mom told how to cut the pieces and nail the cleats on, all the while telling me stories of how her dad would make them for just the same reason. It was a great moment because I was using his tools.


  1. The neck and peg head are looking impressive, Wilson. That's going to be a guitar and then some!

    A neat solution with the bench hook.

  2. Beautiful plane, and story. I have a # 7 Clifton that I use to true up the joints in all my chairs, older is better. Nice post, can't wait to see ( and hear) the guitar.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

How to Make a Traditional Froe Mallet

What holds the Holy of the Holies, what did Brahma become? Wood. Why will aspen always tremble? For the nails driven into the cross. What makes the color of wood? The soil it tastes. Cradle, fiddle, coffin, bed: wood is a column of earth made ambitious by light, and made of beauty by the rain.

Kim R. Stafford, Having Everything Right, 1986.

Rive, verb, to split
Shake, noun, a split in a piece wood. (Heart shake, ring shake)
Shake, verb, (Middle English), to split.

I know I should have been in the studio working on my back log of guitars, but the day was so nice and warm with a tall blue canopy, I couldn't stay inside. I decided that I needed to make a proper froe mallet. This style of mallet is traditional to northeastern California, primarily Tehama (where I'm from), Butte, Shasta and Plumas counties where making shingles by hand from sugar pines was an industry. I don't know if it was used in any other region along the Pacific Rim, other parts of the United States or even o…

Basic Hand Tool Kit for Making a Classical Guitar, Revised

Ours is really a simple craft.

James Krenov, The Impractical Cabinetmaker, 1979

So, you want to build a guitar.

Since the original post, Basic Hand Tool Kit for Guitar Making, click here to see it, is the most popular post on this blog, I thought I would revisit it and adjust it to what I am using now to make a classical guitar.

The first thing I recommend doing is to buy or borrow copies of the following books:

Guitar Making: Tradition and Technology, by William Cumpiano and Jonathan Natelson
Making Master Guitars, by Roy Courtnall
The Guitar Maker's Workshop, by Rik Middleton

These are required reading before you begin making a guitar.

Also required reading are these books by Roy Underhill:

The Woodwright's Shop
The Woodwright's Companion
The Woodwright's Workbench
The Woodwright's Apprentice

Why these books by Mr. Underhill? You will learn valuable wood working techniques if you make any of his projects. The dovetail joints used to join a drawer together are far mor…

The Guitar Maker's Backsaw for Cutting Fret Slots

The overall correct process of placing frets in a guitar fingerboard ("fretting"), is far less straight forward than most people believe. A perfect job, for perfect playability, requires some careful preparation.

Anthony Lintner, guitar maker

Twenty five years ago, I bought my first fretting saw from Luthiers Mercantile. It was made in Germany and had a straight handle on it, basically it was a gent's saw.

First thing I did to the saw was to take off the straight handle and make a nice handle for it from some wonderful Claro walnut that came from a Cottonwood Creek bottom wild grown walnut. I used it to cut fret slots in dulcimer and classical guitar fret boards. The saw served me well for several years until I made the mistake of cutting some brass with it.

Well, I never did get around to sharpening the thing.

The blade is .015 of an inch thick with the teeth set at .022-.023 of an inch. I think it has 22 teeth per inch. It is a great saw and I was very sad to see that…