Monday, February 8, 2010

Making the Truss Rod

What is a truss rod?
A truss rod is a guitar part used to stabilize and adjust the lengthwise forward curvature (also called relief), of the neck. Usually it is a steel rod that runs inside the neck and has a bolt that can be used to adjust its tension.

I could purchase a truss rod, but decided that building one was within my capabilities – so why not.
I bought some 3/16 in steel rod ($2) and threaded one end. I purchase a die (about $5) for that but made the handle on my scroll saw – for turning the die. This was the first time I've ever used a die and it was fairly easy: half turn, back off, oil repeat... which seemed like it took forever. The extended length nut was a couple dollars and the screw was $.27. So pretty cheap to build. Also I got the small chunk of steel from a local steel manufacturing scrap pile. They gave it to me for free after purchasing the 4" pipe that I will use for bending the wood later.

The photo at the (very) top of the page is me cutting the stop block (showed below with two holes drilled). I cut this at my buddy David's shop along with heating up the rod to bend it over itself (shown above). Dave has a cool shop where he does all kinds of metal working, welding, he even has his own forge! I could have done this all at home but it was nice to not smell up the house or do it outside in the cold.

Stop block drilled all the way through in the middle and half way through toward the top. Also showing the threaded rod.

Cutting the bolt off – to make it shorter, as to not use much of the threads. I will lock-tite this bolt so I can use an allen wrench to make adjustments on the guitar.

Bolt cut off and ready for assembly.

Complete assembly (minus the metal tape that will surround both rods.)


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