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Jul 29, 2020 - 6:27:25 AM
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296 posts since 9/25/2006

I wanted to share a video of my new Heel Cutting Jig.

I did a lot of googling and found photos of similar style jigs and decided to make one myself.

I used a 6 inch scissor jack stand as the base of the router so I could easily adjust the height. The mount for the router has an 8mm carbon fiber rod that inserts into a hole I drilled on the jack stand. I worked out the radius to the tip of the bit to be 5 1/4" so it creates a nice fit on the pot.

The base the jack sits on slides along the bottom of the entire jig and has a set screw on the side so I can lock it in place once I set the depth of cut.

The neck is attached to a hinged board that has threaded knobs at the back so I can easily adjust the neck angle.

The neck is held in place by two clamps, while four smaller clamps hold two small boards along the sides of the neck. This allows me to removed the neck from the jig for test fitting, but be able to put it back on on the exact same centerline for any trimming adjustments.

 

 

Jul 29, 2020 - 9:36:11 AM
Players Union Member

RoBanJo

USA

192 posts since 7/27/2007

Very nice.

Jul 29, 2020 - 9:39:10 AM

13249 posts since 10/30/2008

Ingenious as hell! Slick.

Jul 29, 2020 - 9:54:39 AM
Players Union Member

kwl

USA

555 posts since 3/5/2009

Agreed, very nice and ingenious. Thanks for sharing.

Jul 29, 2020 - 2:39:54 PM

13146 posts since 6/29/2005
Online Now

Very nice!

When you say "centerline", what centerline are you using, and how do you adjust the jig to "dial in" the neck alignment?

Jul 29, 2020 - 3:07:04 PM

296 posts since 9/25/2006

My centerline is the middle of the Heel end of the fretboard to where the G string would be at the nut. I used a long straight edge along the router bit (extended as long as I could in the router collette) to project a straight line from the router to the end of the bed the neck is on. Then when I put the neck on I make sure my mark at the center of the heel and the my mark at the G string position near nut are along that line.

Jul 29, 2020 - 3:34:31 PM

13146 posts since 6/29/2005
Online Now

assuming the "G" string is the third string, I would think you'd want to project the line to the center of the tailpiece rather than the end of the fingerboard.

Anyway, I don't know if you expect the heel cut to be perfect, or you have smartly this set up to be able to adjust subtle vagaries in the side-to side alignment and various bridge heights— in either case I wish you good luck.

Jul 29, 2020 - 8:03:46 PM

1352 posts since 4/13/2017

That's amazing! Sure beats my jig. My heel cutting technique is rough cutting it on the bandsaw, then using this contraption to make it round


Jul 29, 2020 - 8:12:44 PM

2125 posts since 2/7/2008

That is SWEET! Where did you get the little jack?

Jul 29, 2020 - 8:24:45 PM

2125 posts since 2/7/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan

assuming the "G" string is the third string, I would think you'd want to project the line to the center of the tailpiece rather than the end of the fingerboard.


Ken,

If one is projecting a line from the 3rd string at the nut through the center of fingerboard at the heel, shouldn't that land at the center of the tailpiece if the projected line is continued through to the tailpiece?

Jul 30, 2020 - 7:08:16 AM

296 posts since 9/25/2006

Blue20Boy17

That's a good looking jig too! I did so much research before I built mine and I was leaning toward one like yours, but decided to go with this design instead.

Quickstep192

I got that scissor jack from Amazon.

Lab Jack Scissor Stand on Amazon

Edited by - RedArrowRyan on 07/30/2020 07:09:23

Jul 30, 2020 - 9:41:47 AM

191 posts since 8/11/2015

This looks amazing! A very interesting subject to me because I have held off cutting my latest heel for a couple of months while I look for better ways. I dismantled my highly inaccurate previous jig to make sure I didn’t use it again out of convenience. I was planning on using the router next time around but I hadn’t solved how to mount it.

Funny how all heel cutting videos I have found have all been under a minute long. They are all short and mysterious like Bigfoot footage. :D But this one I can make sense of. The shipping cost of that jack stand is $69.60 to my country but I might get it anyway. Or find something of a similar nature.

My previous jig could also be used to drill a dowel stick hole, so I think I want a feature like that this time around as well.

Good work!

Edited by - Random Scandinavian on 07/30/2020 09:42:42

Jul 31, 2020 - 2:57:37 AM
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4523 posts since 9/7/2009

Similar to mine made from scrap parts. I like yours better!






Jul 31, 2020 - 5:47:56 AM
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296 posts since 9/25/2006

BNJOMAKR

Yours was actually a big inspiration, though I didn't know it was yours! I had done a google image search for "Banjo Heel Cutting Jigs" and I saw a bunch of different ones, but pictures of yours stood out. I guess you've posted it before on here.

I couldn't figure out how you move the dremel up and down, so I came up with the scissor jack idea. I also, cut my neck upside down so I can reference off the flat fingerboard. But other than that, you were the major inspiration!

Aug 1, 2020 - 4:49:13 AM

55400 posts since 12/14/2005

Impressive.
Am sorely tempted to try something similar, although I seldom have neck ends that complicated.

Aug 1, 2020 - 5:05:38 AM

2125 posts since 2/7/2008

Ryan,

How does you heel cutting jig adjust the depth of the cut?

Aug 1, 2020 - 5:18:56 AM

191 posts since 8/11/2015

For some it may be an option to get such a jack stand directly from China. There are several available and for me in Europe, it would be less than half the price.
banggood.com/search/scissor-li...?from=nav

I’m always saying to myself that I’m going to boicot Chinese web shops but when I encounter something tempting, my principles suddenly seem a lot less firm.

As for the depth of the cut I assume it can be changed in a few different ways? The length of the router bit, the position of the router itself in its cradle, by moving the neck and not the router or a jack stand mounted on t-track rails for something more advanced.

Aug 1, 2020 - 6:58:03 AM

296 posts since 9/25/2006

Quickstep192

I added a base to the bottom of the scissor jack that slides along the based of the entire jig. It has a set screw on the side. To cut deeper, I simply slide the entire scissor jack forward and lock it in place. I just work up to my pencil line.

Random Scandinavian

That's a good tip, but try to buy one that looks sturdy. The one I used was actually my second purchase of a scissor stand the first was about $10 cheaper, but had tons of wobble and play in the stand. There's no way I could have done accurate cuts with it.

Aug 1, 2020 - 10:36:24 AM

191 posts since 8/11/2015

quote:
Originally posted by RedArrowRyan


The one I used was actually my second purchase of a scissor stand the first was about $10 cheaper, but had tons of wobble and play in the stand. There's no way I could have done accurate cuts with it.


Yes, sturdiness is required for sure. Impossible to know from an online purchase, except for reviews that is. I see that the Amazon one also has a Chinese name. My experience has been that there are usually half a dozen different Chinese factories who produce nearly identical items with only minor differences. The only difference is usually cosmetic things like the screw heads being different based on what each factory have available.

They all have positive reviews but that is no guarantee. I will buy a slightly (2") bigger one in the hope that it is sufficiently sturdy. No matter what I buy the slow international delivery time, maybe two months, will mean that I won't be building my jig this year. I have no workshop or hobby room and can only do woodworking outdoors during the summer. But in the meantime I will be able to draw up some plans for an accurate jig.

Aug 1, 2020 - 11:29:41 AM
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296 posts since 9/25/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Random Scandinavian
quote:
Originally posted by RedArrowRyan


The one I used was actually my second purchase of a scissor stand the first was about $10 cheaper, but had tons of wobble and play in the stand. There's no way I could have done accurate cuts with it.


Yes, sturdiness is required for sure. Impossible to know from an online purchase, except for reviews that is. I see that the Amazon one also has a Chinese name. My experience has been that there are usually half a dozen different Chinese factories who produce nearly identical items with only minor differences. The only difference is usually cosmetic things like the screw heads being different based on what each factory have available.

They all have positive reviews but that is no guarantee. I will buy a slightly (2") bigger one in the hope that it is sufficiently sturdy. No matter what I buy the slow international delivery time, maybe two months, will mean that I won't be building my jig this year. I have no workshop or hobby room and can only do woodworking outdoors during the summer. But in the meantime I will be able to draw up some plans for an accurate jig.


 

 

Look at the X braces on the scissor jack. The first one I bought had very thin braces. The second one (that I linked above and similar ones appear in the link you provided) had thicker X Braces.  It was considerably more sturdy.

Aug 1, 2020 - 7:32:49 PM

5 posts since 5/19/2020

RedArrowRyan what size and type end mill bits did you use exactly?

Aug 3, 2020 - 5:59:50 AM

296 posts since 9/25/2006

kyjerry1971

The straight bit was this one.
 

Whiteside Router Bits UD2102 Up/Down Cut Spiral Bit with Solid Carbide Compression and 1/4-Inch Cutting Diameter

 

The round bit was this one in a 1/4" size.

Round Nose Router Bit

I think the 1/4" round bit was too small though. I made it work, but I probably should have went with the 3/8" or maybe even the 1/2".

Aug 5, 2020 - 1:58:09 PM
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13146 posts since 6/29/2005
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Quickstep192
quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan

assuming the "G" string is the third string, I would think you'd want to project the line to the center of the tailpiece rather than the end of the fingerboard.


Ken,

If one is projecting a line from the 3rd string at the nut through the center of fingerboard at the heel, shouldn't that land at the center of the tailpiece if the projected line is continued through to the tailpiece?


Right—it goes from the third string nut slot to the middle of the tailpiece and beyond.  I guess I didn't express it right.

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