Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dovetail Neck Joint

This week, the neck has gone on to John’s guitar and I thought that you might be interested in the process. Much has been written about the various merits of different neck joints; all I’m going to say is that the dovetail joint works for me!

The first step is to route the female part of the dovetail into the body of the guitar. A well thought-out jig and a dovetail router bit gives you this.....

Now, my rule is that this part doesn’t get touched, all the fitting and fettling is done on the neck.

The male part of the dovetail is carefully marked out and the waste sawn off.

Then comes the fitting; this is achieved by chiselling and filing.

Unfortunately, you are virtually working blind and the only way to find out where wood needs to be removed is by using feeler gauges. I know that one method is to cut the dovetail undersize and then use shims to pack the gaps out and adjust the angle of the neck- no comment!

A well fitted tapered dovetail is a thing of beauty- when the neck goes into the body it feels loose until the last 1mm or so when all of a sudden the taper bites and bingo the neck is griped by the body. A smear of glue, light pressure and the job’s a good en! What I’ve neglected to mention is that the neck has to be aligned perfectly in two planes and there should not be a gap between the neck and the body!

With the neck in place, I continue the slots for the carbon-fibre into the neck block. The carbon-fibre is glued in with epoxy and a fillet of wood goes over the top, so that there is a wood surface for the fingerboard to be glued to. The fillet must be undersize to allow the excess epoxy to squeeze out.

Then the adjustable truss-rod goes in- I wrap it in PTFE tape to ensure that any glue that may get onto it (whilst gluing the fingerboard on) doesn’t effect its operation.

All that detail is then of course hidden forever under the fingerboard! I wonder how much time is spent on constructional details that are never seen??

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2 Comments:

Blogger Rob said...

Fascinating. I had no idea how that was done.
Interesting looking vice you have, too.

12:08 AM  
Blogger Aliesha said...

wow thats amazing how you make your guitars!

4:47 PM  

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