How to Make an Acoustic Guitar Series – Part Twenty Nine – Heel Cap

  • More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
  • 7 Woodworking Books Available on Amazon
  • Over 1 Million Words Published About Woodworking
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University
Buy My Books on Amazon

I receive Commissions for Purchases Made Through the Links in This Post.

This is How to Make an Acoustic Guitar – Part Twenty Nine – The Heel Cap. In this part of the tutorial I will show you a simple way to make an elegant heel cap that matches the binding on the acoustic guitar. Enjoy.

If You Like My Posts, You'll Love My Books

See My Woodworking Books Here

Making an Acoustic Guitar Heel Cap

How-to-Make-an-Acoustic-Guitar-Series-Part-Twenty-Nine-Heel-CapThe point of a heel cap on the acoustic guitar neck is to trim out the bottom of the heel, and make it look a little bit more attractive. Most of the time, the heel is just the end of the neck, and it’s the same species as the rest of the neck.

Instead of leaving this part to show, it’s either painted on the less expensive guitars, or capped with a piece of wood that matches the design. In this case, since the binding is made of maple, I’ll use a piece of maple to cap the heel.

This way, the heel area of the guitar has a similar trim to the binding of the guitar, and it creates a cohesive design.

You can do anything you like on your guitar of course, but if you are binding your guitar, try to make it either match, or match through contrast.

If you missed last week, take a look at How to Make an Acoustic Guitar Part Twenty Eight.

Free Woodworking Tips Every Monday

Add Me to the List!

Choosing the Wood

Since the heel cap is a decorative portion of the guitar, and has absolutely no bearing on the way to guitar will sound, feel free to go nuts. If you have a really gorgeous piece of wood that you want to use for no other reason than you want to, do it.

It’s nice if things match, but even a very exotic piece of wood can match through contrast, meaning that it’s so amazing it won’t matter if it’s not exactly the same color family. Again, being consequence free, this is a good place to play around.

In the case of my guitar, and the wishes of the customer, I used maple because it matches the binding. Again, matching isn’t a bad thing, but if you have something amazing that you want to use on your own guitar, feel free to do it.

See Also: 25 Simple Ways to Customize Your Guitar Without Changing the Tone

Cutting the Cap and Fitting

How-to-Make-an-Acoustic-Guitar-Series-Part-Twenty-Nine-Heel-Cap-prepping-the-neckAt this point on the acoustic guitar build, the majority of the heel is already been shaped. This is perfect, because you only need to have a small amount of wood for the heel cap, and it doesn’t need to be part of what you carve away.

Cut a small piece of wood that fits over the heel section, and make sure to flatten the one side that will be up against the part that touches the guitar body. This way, you don’t have to worry about trying to flatten it later.

Use a block of wood as a guide, and line up the cap so that way the flat side is perfectly flat and parallel to the part of the heel that touches the guitar body.

That’s how you need to glue it so that way there are no gaps between the neck and the body.

Free Woodworking Tips Every Monday

Add Me to the List!

See Also: 50 Things I Wish I Knew When I started Making Guitars

Clamp and Glue

How-to-Make-an-Acoustic-Guitar-Series-Part-Twenty-Nine-Heel-Cap-gluing-the-heel-capApply wood glue to both sides of the wood that are going to meet in the center of the joint. This is the bottom of the heel, and the bottom of the heel cap. Smear the two layers evenly, and then bring the two pieces together.

Use your alignment block to make sure the part of the heel that touches the guitar is dead flat and even with the new cap. Then, apply one or two clamps to hold it in place while the glue dries.

Pate attention to this piece for the first several minutes of the glue taking a hold, so that way it doesn’t slide around. It’s a pain in the butt to have to sand the bottom of the neck, especially if it’s already nice and flat.

After maybe 30 minutes has passed, you can give up the watch and not worry about the cap sliding out of place. After the glue has had a full night to dry, you can then start carving the heel area just like you would to finish the neck.

See Also: 25 Best Guitar Making Tips For Beginners

If You Like My Posts, You'll Love My Books

See My Woodworking Books Here

Shaping and Sanding

How-to-Make-an-Acoustic-Guitar-Series-Part-Twenty-Nine-Heel-Cap-inspecting-the-heel-cap-after-dryingIf it wasn’t a different color, you wouldn’t even notice that you have a heel cap in place. So, just keep on carving the heel of your guitar like normal. Shape it the way that you normally would, and the new addition will just be along for the ride.

You can use chisels, files, sandpaper, and scrapers to do the job. Whatever it takes to make your heel on your acoustic guitar match the profile from your instructions, or from your design, go ahead and do that.

Most heels get a little smaller as they touch the body, and as they go from the top plate towards the bottom plate they also get smaller. Take a look at some guitars for inspiration, or follow your set of plans and continue carving until it’s right.

See Also: 10 Helpful Tips for Using a Guitar Side Bending Iron

Coming Up Next Week

Next week, the series moves forward with smoothing out the neck. At this point the neck has been roughed out, the heel cap is in place, and the majority the shape is basically done. Now, we need to make it pretty.

Right now your neck probably looks pretty rough. That’s OK though. Aggressive tools leave aggressive marks, and that’s just part of the business. At this point, we’ll come back and get rid of those marks, and refine the shape to something very smooth and elegant.

If you have any questions on how to make an acoustic guitar part 29, please post a question and I’ll be glad to answer them. Happy building.

Post Author-

  • More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
  • 7 Woodworking Books Available on Amazon
  • Over 1 Million Words Published About Woodworking
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University
Buy My Books on Amazon

I receive Commissions for Purchases Made Through the Links in This Post.

 

You Can Find My Books on Amazon!

woodworking and guitar making books
 

Filter:AllOpenResolvedClosedUnanswered
Forum Guidelines (Please Read)
ClosedWestfarthing Woodworks asked 7 months ago • 
908 views0 answers0 votes
Fretboard Jig Depth Stop
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 3 months ago • 
587 views1 answers0 votes
Steel Wool and Vinegar Ukulele
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 5 months ago • 
562 views1 answers0 votes
Building a Bass – What to Use for Painting the Body
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 6 months ago • 
593 views1 answers0 votes
Tone Wood?
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 6 months ago • 
553 views1 answers0 votes
Should I make a Kit First?
AnsweredBrian answered 6 months ago • 
419 views1 answers0 votes
Could DIY guitars built from kits sell?
AnsweredBrian answered 6 months ago • 
701 views1 answers0 votes
How can I build my own guitar?
AnsweredBrian answered 6 months ago • 
375 views1 answers0 votes
How do acoustic guitars work?
AnsweredBrian answered 6 months ago • 
434 views1 answers0 votes
What tools does someone need to build electric guitars?
AnsweredBrian answered 7 months ago • 
317 views1 answers0 votes
What types of bone are guitar saddles made from?
AnsweredBrian answered 7 months ago • 
395 views1 answers0 votes
Where do You Get Guitar Making Wood?
AnsweredBrian answered 7 months ago • 
429 views1 answers0 votes
Do You Need a Lot of Tools to Make a Guitar?
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 7 months ago • 
360 views1 answers0 votes
Is it Hard to Make a Guitar?
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 7 months ago • 
295 views1 answers0 votes
Does Tru-Oil Change the Tone of Your Instrument?
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 7 months ago • 
395 views1 answers0 votes
Can You Make Your Own Guitar Making Tools?
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 7 months ago • 
338 views1 answers0 votes
Easy Finishes for Guitars?
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 7 months ago • 
345 views1 answers0 votes
Headstock Relief Angle?
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 7 months ago • 
340 views1 answers0 votes
Building the Fretboard Off the Neck?
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 7 months ago • 
357 views1 answers0 votes
Finishing a Guitar With the Bridge and Neck Separate?
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 7 months ago • 
261 views1 answers0 votes
Carbon Fiber and No Truss Rod?
AnsweredWestfarthing Woodworks answered 7 months ago • 
359 views1 answers0 votes

An Exclusive Member of Mediavine Home

Westfarthing Woodworks LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.