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Nov 21, 2020 - 8:05:38 AM
2495 posts since 6/19/2008

I recently had an unfortunate incident while holding a neck with my left hand and attempting to cut the heel flesh hoop channel deeper with a chisel in my right. My left hand is healing nicely (I hope).

Anyway, after I recovered from the shock, I used cork padded jaws in my tail vise to hold the neck and finish the job. But I'd surely like suggestions on how to better do this in the future.

Nov 21, 2020 - 8:32:22 AM

720 posts since 6/11/2003

Photos?

Nov 21, 2020 - 2:14:18 PM
likes this

2986 posts since 2/18/2009

I cut the channel with a router and a straight bit, and I clamp the neck diagonally across the corner of the workbench with one large clamp. This would not work for chiseling as the heel is not supported, just hanging in space. Then if I find I need to make a bit more room after the fretboard is on I use a Dremel sanding drum while holding the neck in my other hand, in the air. If I just need to make the channel deeper and not wider I use a sharp short knife, intended for chip carving, and follow the curve around a few times cutting in a little deeper with each pass. Then I use the knife to cut in along the grain and split off the waste pieces. I think a chisel would not be as easy to use for that job, but I haven't actually tried.

Nov 22, 2020 - 5:31:17 AM
like this

13332 posts since 6/29/2005

Any minor adjustments in the heel cut can be done with a Dremel cutter, at least that's the way I do it.

Nov 23, 2020 - 3:13:31 PM

7878 posts since 1/7/2005

I cut the curve to fit the tension hoop in somewhat similar way Ken does. Only I use a 2" drum sander chucked in my drill press. I set the neck on the drill press table fretboard facing up. I lower the sanding drum to the correct depth and lock it in place. Results are essentially the same.

DD

Nov 24, 2020 - 7:37:23 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13270 posts since 8/30/2006

Jon, I also use a 2" drum sander in my little drill press.

For my 24" drill press I use another 2" drum with a new 100 grit sleeve on it, then I cut another new sleeve from 60 grit belt sander , I angle the cut, and superglue the 60 grit to the 100 grit sleeve. I've had that same 60 grit on there for more than a few years now.

My mentor showed me how a heel doesn't need to be that smooth, in fact, fibers will "mend" to the rim and actually make better contact than any perfectionist can noodle with until harm.

As you know, I cut my heel radii with my table saw, and some "dressing" with the sander is just good building.

Another thing I learned was to clamp the work, whatever it is, and work with both hands on the dremel, I'm left-handed, so I hold with my left and direct with my right, like artist/illustrators who use a padded stick to steady themselves. Maybe try that.

Edited by - Helix on 11/24/2020 07:44:50

Nov 24, 2020 - 8:04:40 AM
Players Union Member

DC5

USA

15900 posts since 6/30/2015

quote:
Originally posted by Helix


Another thing I learned was to clamp the work, whatever it is, and work with both hands on the dremel, I'm left-handed, so I hold with my left and direct with my right, like artist/illustrators who use a padded stick to steady themselves. Maybe try that.


Real good advice, along with wearing a glove when using a chisel or carving. https://www.chippingaway.com/cat/woodcarving-supplies/safety/safety-gloves-thumb-and-finger/

Nov 26, 2020 - 10:52:14 AM

2495 posts since 6/19/2008

I've even got a carving glove, I wish I was wearing it when the accident happened. I wish I even knew where it is.

A big part of the problem with this particular cut was that the heel cut was for a very thin tension hoop (it was on a Slingerland Maybell tenor banjo) and so the fretboard protruded away from the rest of the heel by quite a ways. The difference between the tension hoop and the Remo "flesh" hoop was probably about 1/8" in outside radius. I think a rotary cutter or sanding drum would have had to be somewhere near 1/2" radius, and about 3/8" to 1/2" cutting height, to do the job. I'm not aware of any Dremel accessories that would have worked, but certainly I'd be interested in hearing about one.

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