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Heat Pressing Necks

Heat Pressing Necks

by Tim Olsen

Originally published in Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #86, 1978 and Lutherie Woods and Steel String Guitars, 1998

Heat pressing a neck to improve the playing action is a rather simple process both in theory and practice. Basically, the procedure involves heating the neck to soften the wood resins and the fretboard-to-neck glue joint. Then the neck is held in the desired position until it is thoroughly cooled and the glue and resins are hardened again. I will assume that you know what neck shape you’re shooting for, although this is a subject of much subtlety and debate.

The heat pressing setup that I used for several years consisted of one 250W Sears infrared bulb (red), a porcelain socket on a clip base, two C-clamps, several 1/4" leather pads, and the edge of my bench.

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