Guitar Build: Part 4 - Headstock, Fretboard & Inlays

Here's a long overdue update on the guitar I'm currently building. You can see the previous blog posts on this build at the links below:

Part 1 - Top & Body Wood
Part 2 - Shaping The Body
Part 3 - Neck Construction

I decided to use an off-cut from the Poplar top wood for the front headstock veneer, in combination with a piece of Blackwood Tek, which is the same wood I'll be using for the fretboard. I also added a strip of black/white purfling in between.

The veneer is glued to the headstock, using some cocktail sticks as locating pins.

After trimming the excess wood off with the bandsaw, the shaft of the neck is routed to shape. The tuner holes are then drilled, and finally the headstock is shaped on the spindle sander.


A quick test fit with the tuners..

The truss rod cover is also made from a left over piece of the top wood. The logo is added using a branding iron, heated with a small blow torch.

The fretboard wood for this build is a little unusual.. it's a modified timber called Blackwood Tek, which is made from Pinus radiata (Monterey Pine). The timber comes from plantations in New Zealand. It's treated using pressure vessels and presses, with dyes and organic resins added during the process. The final product is a dense and extremely stable wood, similar to Ebony.

With the fretboard slotted, it's time to move on to the inlays. Anyone who's followed my work over the last few years will know that I rarely do any inlay work, other than side markers. However, this guitar is being built as a commission for a friend, in memory of his daughter, who sadly passed away last year. The inlays on the 7th, 9th and 16th frets represent her date of birth.

We chose to go with a simple block design, made from the same wood as the fretboard, with Maple veneer around the edges. They're cut and fitted by hand, and planed flush with a low angle block plane.

After gluing the fretboard to the neck, I add some Ebony/Maple binding. It's now ready for side dot inlays and radius sanding.. which I'll cover in the next blog post.

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