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Message started by hapakid on May 5th, 2004 at 9:42am

Title: Gluing neck, mounting fretboard
Post by hapakid on May 5th, 2004 at 9:42am
A question for those of you who don't build with a spanish heel:
Do you attach the neck, then glue on the fretboard, or do you glue the fretboard to the neck and put them on together. Also, do you put the neck on before putting on the back?
Also, how thick should the fretboard be?
I'm new to building neck/soundbox separately, and the first one I built didn't have good action because of the neck angle. Perhaps I'm missing something...
Jesse Tinsley.....

Title: Re: Gluing neck, mounting fretboard
Post by MattsUkes on May 5th, 2004 at 11:11am
Hi jesse,
  I've built a couple ukes with seperate soundbox and neck.   If you connect the neck before attaching the fingerboard, you have the opportunity to surface the neck after it is attached to the body to get the neck angle just where you want it.

The downside is that you need to do a carefull job at matching the width of the fingerboard to that of the neck.   If the fingerboard is too wide, and you try trim it to the neck, you end up with the section of the fingerboard over the body that is wider than the neck.

So, I usually attach the fingerboard to the neck first, shape these, then attach to the body.

Title: Re: Gluing neck, mounting fretboard
Post by RCHawaii on May 5th, 2004 at 4:37pm
I am attaching the fingerboard last-but I'm new to this :D

I build the body and neck, shape the neck, attach the neck, then shape the fingerboard to the neck.

As far as thickness, I'm not totally sure if there is a standard. As long as your action is good, you have a nut with the right height and saddle to match I could be wrong..

Title: Re: Gluing neck, mounting fretboard
Post by Dominator on May 6th, 2004 at 5:35am
I can't give you a definate answer (if there is such a thing on the subject of fretboard thickness) but can offer this as a reference.  The rosewood fretboard on my Fluke is slightly less than 3/32" thick and on other ukes I have the fretboards are 3/16" thick. HTH,

Title: Re: Gluing neck, mounting fretboard
Post by hapakid on May 6th, 2004 at 6:39am
Thanks for the tips, everyone.  I've always heard that the fretboard should be 1/16" thinner than the bridge, to allow for good action and a saddle that's not too tall.
But I was wondering if there was a good rule of thumb for overall thickness because that sets the string-to-soundboard distance. It doesn't affect the acoustics, though.
I bought a handful of cheap fretboards from Allen Guitar and they are all about 1/4" thick so I have to thin them on the table saw.  
Here's a look at my next two ukes, one a 12" round body and another one a soprano.  Both have yew sides and spruce tops with yew around the soundholes.
Jesse Tinsley

Title: Re: Gluing neck, mounting fretboard
Post by RCHawaii on May 6th, 2004 at 4:11pm
Cool beans! I just picked up some thin lacewood to incorporate in mine. still working on it!
Forgot to mention, it hails form http://www.sveneers.com
Located in High Pt. N.C. 1(336)886-4716 for those who care to know.

that's Sauers & Company Processed Veneers

Title: Re: Gluing neck, mounting fretboard
Post by ukeman on May 8th, 2004 at 6:22pm
Yo uke people!

Thought I'd drop in a nickels worth on this fingerboard conversations. We at Hana Lima 'Ia usually finish thickness the fingerboards to about 3/16th which suits me aesthetics and feel right nice.

Our fingerboards are always attached to the neck before final neck shaping. When we taper the fingerboards to the desired nut width and body joint location we do it precisely on a table saw with a shooting jig and a 120 tooth carbide blade. Players are very finicky about fingerboard widths so finishing the fingerboard accurately is a must. The neck taper is oversized a tad on both sides so we can shape the neck after the finished fingerboard is attached without any worries that the neck is smaller than the finished fingerboard.
Also with the neck a bit oversized...when gluing and clamping fingerboard to neck you have a bit of play in case your indexing system failed!
Same is true for binding fingerboards...bind first then attach to neck.Make sure the fingerboard plus binding equate to the desired width and taper of your fingerboard....nuff stickin out me neck! laters  ukeman

Title: Re: Gluing neck, mounting fretboard
Post by JonY on May 9th, 2004 at 7:29am
Hey Jess
I build body first, then attatch neck, and fretboard last. At the heel I get the shape as close as possible to finished to eliminate sanding after the two are joined or I should say to minimize sanding at the joint. I leave a little extra width on the neck and the fretbaord is almost at a finished stage before I glue it to the neck(frets and dots installed). One thing not to be overlooked is that the neck and the body should be squared and leveled before attatching. It's easiest to do this before the ears are attatched to the headstock and after the heel has been made to a depth that fits the body. I don't know if this makes sense but I hope it helps.. Oh yeah I use 3/16" thick on the fretboards.. I have tried thinner like 1/8" bbut like the look of the thicker better. Also the thicker fretboard puts the saddle at  a hight that I like also.
Jon Y

Title: Re: Gluing neck, mounting fretboard
Post by Dale Schroeder on Jan 13th, 2005 at 3:08pm
Here's a reply for Dominator and anyone else who is interested on my neck joint process.

Not sure if you were asking about getiing the "fit' of the heel to match the body or the how I attached the neck to the body, so I'll tell you how I do both.  This is all pretty low tech, since I don't have a lot of tools.  I use a bolt on neck, I'd love to make it the way ukeman does, but I don't think I have the expertise to do that yet.  When I am fitting the heel of the neck to the body, I have the body sides formed, the neck and heel blocks glued, and the kerfing glued to the sides of the body.  Neither the front or back is glued on at this point.  I also have the neck rough formed, but have not attached the fretboard.  I mark center lines down the neck and the heel and on the neck and heel blocks of the body and on top of the body where the sides join, (wherever you can think) it really helps as a reference.  I drape the body over a corner of my work table, see the first picture below. (since I don't have a project in the making, you'll need to imagine the black bands are the top of the body and that sanding block is the neck block)  I clamp the body over the corner of my work table, note that I also place sandpaper appropriately sized on top of the body streched tightly between the clamps.  The two inside sides of my clamps are just slightly wider the the heel of my neck, that gives me good control for sanding. Then I move the neck blank back and forth over the sandpaper.  Go slow and check your alignments as you are going, the clamps are good keeping you on line with the center of the top of the body, but there are two other directions you can tip the neck in and you want to make sure you keep them true.  There is probably a jig or a guide you could fabricate to help you keep from tipping the neck as you are sanding , but to be honest with you I have not found it necessary to do that yet.  I've only built 2 ukes, but both have turned out well on the neck joint. Also a note on the distance along the neck from the nut to the 12th or 14th fret (whichever you choose for the neck to body juncture), I'm not too concerned with getting that exact as I'm sanding, if it turns out a little too long or short and you end up joining slightly above or below the fret no one but you will really notice. If your very particular about that, you can always ajdust your scale length and fret spacing slightly to make it match perfectly or mess with the thickness on the nut.  I'll need to take a few more pics, then I'll do a post on my low tech method of attaching the neck.

Dale, (the ukehacker)

Title: Re: Gluing neck, mounting fretboard
Post by Dominator on Jan 13th, 2005 at 6:15pm
Thanks Dale,
I already had the sound box glued together so I clamped the neck (before the fretboard was glued on) to the side of my bench and attached stickit sandpaper to the end of the sound box.  Then holding the sound box I moved it back and forth over the heel of the neck.   I like your method better because the clamps (or other setup) make good outer stops and it would be easier to move the neck back and forth.
Thanks again,

Title: Re: Gluing neck, mounting fretboard
Post by Bob Uke-er on Jan 16th, 2005 at 8:31am
Yup. Had the same troubles. I looked on David Hurd's, (the mastermind behind Kawika Ukes) website (ukulele.com, I think...) where he has a very elaborate jig using a bandsaw with the blade replaced with a ribbon of sandpaper. The jig has a section for the neck and another for the body. Each has an aluminum bar that slides in a channel, all aligned with the uke centerline. The body and neck sit in the jig face down with the non-abrasive side of the sandpaper ribbon running against the body at the neck joint. He then simply moves the neck up to the body with the bandsaw running and the sandpaper makes a perfect tracing onto the neck. Being a jighead, I had run to the shop and make one of these. Unfortunately, the distance from the blade to the body of my jigsaw is smaller than the length of a tenor body. Too bad. Great idea tho, just not worth running out and buying a bigger saw. Resorted to making a small caul that matched the curve of the heel block area of the body, spray adhesived a piece of sandpaper to it, clamped it to the workbench and after about a million strokes (koa neck) and many alignment checks, the neck fit the body just fine.

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