Making a neck shaping template
from an existing neck

by Mark Blanchard - used with permission

I carve a lot of custom shaped necks at the request of my customers. I came up with this method of making patterns of these necks in order to be able to repeat them at a later date.

The first step is to make a rough, oversize, template from some thin stock.
I use 1/8" masonite.

Cover the neck with some common stretch wrap
and mark the first and ninth fret positions.

This is quick set, two part, epoxy putty. It is commonly available at hardware stores.
Cut about 1/2" off the end of the roll.

Mix the putty until it turns a uniform color,
and then roll it out into a little "snake".

Lay the "snake" over the neck shaft.

Now press the template board down onto the putty.
Make sure that the template is square and perpendicular to the neck.
The putty is quite stiff and will hold the template in place.
Make sure the putty doesn't wrap around the edge of the fingerboard
or it will be difficult to remove the template after the putty hardens.

I use my fingers to "pinch" the putty
to make sure it sticks to the template board
and fills all the voids.

Once the putty has hardened (10 minutes or so)
carefully remove the template from the neck.
Care must be taken to avoid separating the template board
from the putty.

Repeat the process at the ninth fret.

A bit of thin cyano' will help bond the putty to the board

Once everything is fully dry
Grind off the excess putty.

There you have it.
A perfect fit !!!

Additional info can be written on the template.
This one has an I.D. number,
the fret positions,
overall neck thicknesses,
fingerboard radii,
and the points at which the fingerboard meets the neck shaft.

The whole process takes about 30 minutes.