When I first started building guitars, I remember some of the difficulty that I had in cutting the headplate square to the nut slot.
I would clamp a piece of scrap wood to the headplate as a fence, but the fence would only keep me square to the sides. To get the edge of the headplate 90 degrees to the neck’s playing surface I would have to manage the angle of the saw blade by eye, and it would always be off by a little bit.
The problem is that the fence is being clamped to the headstock, which is pitched back at an angle.
I could change the angle of the saw bearing edge of the fence but that would assume that I would be building guitars with exactly the same headstock angle every time, and even though I do use the same 15 degree angle almost every time, there is a degree of deviation from 15 degrees that I accept, which would throw off the fence.
The ideal situation is to simply clamp the fence to the neck’s playing surface but the excess headplate material gets in the way.
The obvious solution was right under my nose and it took an outside perspective to see it.
Student, Pat Griffaton suggested that I simply remove some material from the bottom of the fence to allow for the excess headplate material…
It was an “Oh, Duh!” kind of moment, mixed with equal parts of jubilation and embarrassment.
I thought that this quick tip was worth sharing, so I made a short video to explain the fence:
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