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I'm relatively new to the craft. Have only made a couple simple cbg's. I marvel at some of the headstock designs. I'm always thinking "How'd he/she do that?" Is there a thread or discussion somewhere on that topic. Scarf joints is a term I hear. Can they be made with simple tools, hand power tools, etc? Thanks!

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you could probably do a decent job on a scarf joint with a good handsaw and a miter box, but it will be somewhat difficult to get a 15 degree (or even shallower) miter unless you build a custom box for the cut. And it needs to be absolutely perpendicular to the base for good results on the joint. finishing the cut ends with a hand plane (or sanding the ends on sandpaper glued to a piece of plate glass) will help keep the surfaces true. it won't be as easy as with a table saw or even a power miter saw, but it can be done with practice.
the actual shaping of a headstock can be done simply by glueing on some `ears`, then cut out with a coping saw.
a band saw would be quicker but use what tools you got.
There's a white search box at the top right of the screen. If you put in "scarf" you'll likely find lots of different ways of coming at a scarf join.

I cut and glue the scarf, put on the fingerboard, then shape the neck and then glue on the ears. That way I don't clip the ears when i'm sanding up at the nut end. And then cut out the shape of the head and drill tuner holes.
Thanks, Diane, merle, Dave and others for help with the "mysteries" of head building. Diane, do you usually glue on a separate fingerboard or also use the main "stick" for that purpose?
I pretty much always glue on a fingerboard. It covers up the seam of the scarf join, and can be done in contrasting woods. It also gives you a bit of playing height so you don't have to angle your neck so much -- if at all! I also use a fingerboard if I am doing a dogleg neck, with added wood on the back, sidemounted tuners and no wings. The first one is from a mountain dulcimer, which is why the tuners are on the "wrong" way.

Where do you shop for "interesting" woods? My Home Depot, downtown, doesn't have much beyond ordinary pine. And thanks again for all the info, Diane; I know it'll be helpful with my next build.
I like the "step-down" peghead design myself, works just as well as the scarf joint and alot easier to make.

That is a stunning piece of work, Randy. At first, I thought I was looking at an intricately carved grandfather's clock. Now, the step-down design requires an initially thicker piece of wood, in order to thin down the tuner section, or is the fretboard a separate piece? I want to make sure I get my next build right - or at least a little better. Thanks.
Randy S. Bretz said:
I like the "step-down" peghead design myself, works just as well as the scarf joint and alot easier to make.

The one in the foreground [ first one on table] is a step down peghead design. You just have to use a thicker fretboard like 1/2", also the 4th one in. What I did there was to carve out a pocket for the tuner tops to stick out, plus I did an thin wood overlay to contrast the peghead to the fretboard. That build has a 1/4" fretboard with 1/4" maple spacers between the fretboard and the neck, but being the tuners are in a pocket it worked out great!

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