Page 2 of 2
A permanent record
Mark Blanchard's Contour Template
© Frank Ford, 1/4/02; Photos by Mark Blanchard
If you know Mark Blanchard, you know a creative and inventive luthier. He tells me he often asked to duplicate the contour of a neck for one of his custom guitars, so he's come up with this clever method of creating a series of permanent, accurate templates. Thanks for the clear photos, Mark!
He starts out by protecting the neck he's about to copy, and by drawing marks at standard locations:
In this case, he's using the first and ninth fret positions. The cling wrap has so little thickness it doesn't affect the outcome significantly.
The template itself will reside in a 1/8" piece of Masonite, which he's cut a bit oversize to fit over the neck:
Hey, Mark, that's no city boy luthier's knife!
Here, he's cutting off a bit of that two part plumber's epoxy putty.
After kneading it a while, he forms the epoxy into a pair of little worms about as big around as a pencil:
Just like my bag of plaster, the putty worm drapes nicely over the neck, and conforms perfectly to the contour:
Now, for the good part. He just sticks his oversize template onto the putty:
and waits for it to set up hard:
Unlike my plaster, if the epoxy curls under the fingerboard, it doesn't prevent easy removal of the template:
Same procedure for the second position:
Nothing like a bit of cyanoacrylate for adhesion insurance:
The low viscosity glue runs right in to help bond the epoxy worm.
And, introducing the worm to Mr. Disk Sander, he's glad he remembered to use that Hot Stuff:
Couldn't be simpler. Here it is, a perfect fit and a permanent record of a specific neck contour:
Of course, if it was so simple, why didn't I think of it. . .
Mark records pertinent data on his template, and he can use it in the future. He says he's already found these templates useful when a customer orders another guitar, and says, "Make it with the same neck."
Just a quick reminder - both methods work well to trace other contours, including arched tops, body profile sections, etc.
Back to Index Page