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Neck Joint Options (Read 5038 times)
mblue
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Neck Joint Options
May 27th, 2009 at 4:49am
 
I am just finishing my first Ukulele. I went almost completely by the Hana Lima 'Ia 'Ukulele Construction Manual, which uses the Spanish style neck.
For my second Uke, I want to try a different method of neck attachment, so that I can compare it with the first build.
So, I am hoping to get some suggestions as to what method to use, and why.
I believe my choices are the use of a biscuit, dovetail, straight spline, dowels, nuts and bolts. Maybe there are other methods.
Any thoughts, or experience, regarding neck attachment techniques would be appreciated.

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Don_Orgeman
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Re: Neck Joint Options
Reply #1 - May 27th, 2009 at 1:48pm
 
mblue:

Like you, I am considering a change from spanish heel to a neck joint system on a future build.  I have almost decided on a 3/8 inch wide tenon with a mating heel block and using two small hanger bolts to secure the neck to the body.  The tenon should keep the neck aligned with the body and the cheeks of the neck heel can be adjusted to get the alignment correct.  Small shims at the bottom of the mortice will keep the top of the neck adjusted flush with the top.

I will be interested in the comments you get.  Expect a lot of variety in the suggestions.

Don
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lefty
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Re: Neck Joint Options
Reply #2 - May 31st, 2009 at 1:33pm
 
Like you guys, after building with a Spanish heel I wanted to try something else.  I opted for a bolt on.  If I do it again there is one thing I will be sure to do.
  I will make a new bending form so that the top of the body, where it meets the neck, will be flatter.  I had a heck of a time getting the neck to match the curved surface of the Hana Lima plan.  It is doable and I am sure there are a lot of tricks but I had a heck of a time.  I am building another uke now with the Spanish heel.  One thing I really like is that you don't have to worry about the angle where the neck meets the body.

Hope this helps,
Lefty
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Don_Orgeman
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Re: Neck Joint Options
Reply #3 - Jun 1st, 2009 at 10:09am
 
Lefty:

David Hurd (Ukuleles by Kawika) has a cool technique for getting the neck to match the body using a sanding belt on his band saw.  Here is the link:

http://www.ukuleles.com/BuildingHowTo/neck2body.html

My thought is to use a narrow tenon with two small hanger bolts in the tenon and temporarily attach the neck to the sides before gluing on the top.  That way the neck can be aligned with the center of the top in the same manner as with the spanish heel construction.  Once the back is on I will locate the fingerboard on the neck and drill the two alignment pin holes.  After that, I will simply remove the neck, glue the fingerboard, and begin the sanding, binding, and finishing process of the two pieces.

P.S. I plan to use a flat neck block but set the table saw for the 3 degree angle for the neck heel so that I should end up with a tight joint at the body neck line.

Don
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jack
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Re: Neck Joint Options
Reply #4 - Jun 3rd, 2009 at 9:15am
 
Lefty,
I am a guitar builder who has always used dovetail or bolt on tenons for the body neck joint.  On my first few ukes I used a tenon or spline set in with epoxy, which due to its gap filling properties makes a strong joint, while still allowing for a loose joint that can easily be aligned.  I attached the finger board after jointing.  I have now built 2 tenors and a kasha cutaway baritone, all with a spanish heel, and will always use this method for ukes in the future.
Jack
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unkabob
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Re: Neck Joint Options
Reply #5 - Jun 3rd, 2009 at 9:59am
 
I don't want to alter the discussion but how would I install a truss-rod through a spanish heel? I am just thinking ahead to a guitar.

Bob
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jack
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Re: Neck Joint Options
Reply #6 - Jun 3rd, 2009 at 10:06am
 
Bob,
I have installed a 2-way truss rod in a steel string guitar w/ a spanish heel, just used a longer rod in a slot cut down middle of the neck.  On the next one I would just use a sigle rod in a sloped channel adjusted from the head stock, like a gibson. I cut the sloped groove on a table saw, with a small piece of wood glued near the headstock.  This groove alows you to easily adjust the neck down as needed.
Jack
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Zippyzingo
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Re: Neck Joint Options
Reply #7 - Jun 3rd, 2009 at 10:53am
 
Bob,
Personally, I would not consider using a spanish heel on a steel string guitar if that is what you decide to make. Guitars are much more susceptible to needing a neck reset during their lifespan than ukuleles, particularly steel string guitars. Virtually all of them will need at least one reset unless they are severely over braced. It's just the nature of the beast and today, it is pretty much assumed that any decent steel string guitar will "belly" somewhat around the bridge and require a neck angle adjustment to compensate. This is a lot easier to do with a  bolt on neck. If you are going to build a steel string guitar, I would suggest thinking about a tenon/bolt on. You will have much better access to the insides on a guitar than you do on a uke so reaching the bolts usually isn't a problem.

ZZ
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