Sanding down a Boatneck to a 59 Roundback


Hey Folks,

I got a vintage modern neck with a boatneck profile some time back. I like the neck but I feel that the thickness of the neck is ever so slightly a bit too much for me. Plus, I do think that the V is a bit too hard and I'd like a more rounded profile.

Hence, I'm thinking of sanding the back of the neck to get to a point where I'm comfortable with the neck.

Firstly, is the advisable? My biggest fear is sanding so far that I hit the trussrod. Not sure about this, but does Warmoth place the trussrod in a different place for different profiles - for example, standard thin v wizard v boatneck v Wolfgang? If yes, that makes my job easier as I have digital callipers which I'll use to ensure that I go no further than shaving down the neck thickness beyond 0.880"

Any advice on this folks? Cheers!
It's not advisable. You can shave it .20" - .30" but not so much especially on a VM or V neck. I had asked the same thing, Ken Warmoth replied and explained the risk.

vp101 said:
...does Warmoth place the trussrod in a different place for different profiles - for example, standard thin v wizard v boatneck v Wolfgang?

Quoting Ken: The location of the truss rod varies with the fatness of the neck, a necessity as with this type of rod it requires a lot of arch to move a fatter neck.
I've reshaped a few fat and boat necks, but yeah, you do have to be a bit careful and can't go all the way down. Depending on what your definition of a '59 roundback' is and how accurately you can perform your reshaping, you might find you are unable to safely take as much off as you want. (Or to flip that around, you might find you clumsily take off too much.)

If I have to take off more than .03" from any part of a neck I'll usually just tell the owner to buy a new neck. For my own necks I'm willing to take more of a risk and I've shaved as much as .05" off a Warmoth fatback before, could possibly push it to .06" but I'm not gonna chance ruining a neck for the sake of .01".
Thanks folks. I have a pair of digital callipers so will utilise them for measuring neck thickness.

Since the Boatneck is 1" thick, I'm guessing I can go to 0.950"
In order to reshape the neck you have to have an accurate idea of how deep the truss rod channel was routed. A certain amount of thickness is required underneath the rod. If the back of the neck is thinned too much the rod can actually break through when tightened. You might want to see if you can find out how deep the rod is seated in that neck, barring that I would go with the advice of Ken Warmoth who built a guitar or two in his time.
To reiterate my experience, going from 1" to .95" should be possible if you can do it very carefully and precisely. Even then, not all wood is created equal and neither are all truss rod installations, for that matter. I'd aim for .96" to be on the safe side.