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johneverett
04-17-2015, 07:31 AM
Hi all,
I notice that the hana lima ia tenor plans and book differ in neck design. The plans have a much "lighter" construction inside the uke body. The book shows examples that are much more substantial. is one or the other better in terms of tonal quality? the plan drawing shows a thickness of+/- .25" for the landing that supports the sound and fret boards. The book shows +/- 1" with radius. Hopefully my drawing clarifies.78543

ksquine
04-17-2015, 09:43 AM
I'd go with the plan version. One inch thick slabs top an bottom would be way too heavy. 1/4" sounds about right....the body is only around 3" deep anyway.
I've used Hana Lima plans before but changed to a bolt on neck. I don't do that Spanish Heel nonsense. All the other dimensions they give work out well so the neck block drawing is probably fine too

johneverett
04-17-2015, 10:26 AM
Thanks ksquine
I'll build following to plan. I did find an image on their site that shows a much thinner ledge. Maybe I misread the image in the book?
I thought same about spanish neck when first encountered. .. but several around here say its ok. Good to get your feedback.

Allen
04-17-2015, 12:32 PM
I use the Spanish Heel, but don't bother with that shape inside. Mine is a block that is 20 - 25mm deep and the same width as the fret board (depending on size of instrument).

You can think of the Spanish Heel design similar to a mortise and tenon without the bolts. The block inside should be sized the same as you would use for the same sort of join. The web left in the centre of the heel design is the same as the tenon width, or even less because you don't have to worry about having enough meat for the hardware of bolt on system.

Kekani
04-17-2015, 12:53 PM
I don't do Spanish heels, not because of my newfound M&T bolt on neck, but because executing it right takes skill, which I may have deloped at this point, but too lazy, or chicken to try.

I know Allen's heelcaps are awesome, which I can't do on a bolt on.

Maybe, someday, when I feel the need to make a solera.

johneverett
04-17-2015, 05:12 PM
Thanks guys,
I already cut it and followed the drawing. Next uke I'll try the 25mm (3/4") without the cutout detail. I'd really like to attempt that tapered sliding dovetail. I've done them before but not on an instrument. Lutherie is new to me.
really appreciate the comments.

sequoia
04-17-2015, 08:15 PM
Thanks guys,
I'd really like to attempt that tapered sliding dovetail. I've done them before but not on an instrument.

Exactly. Dovetail joints are cool and fun to make. But not needed on a ukulele in my opinion. Steel stringed guitar sure maybe. I'm not an engineer, but the stress just doesn't need that kind of joint on a uke. Plus, getting the neck off later becomes a nightmare. A simple mortise and tenon joint and a a bolt works fine for most people. Just me, but I think people over build this joint. Why? Because they are basically carpenters like me and not luthiers. This is the spot where ukuleles are NOT little guitars. PLUS: The dovetail joint is an anachronism from the 19th century and needs to go away. (Ducks and covers and runs away.)

Timbuck
04-17-2015, 10:19 PM
Plus, getting the neck off later becomes a nightmare.

I agree with that but it is possible :agree: ...But! have you ever tried removing a neck with a spanish heel joint ?? now thats a challenge :D

BlackBearUkes
04-18-2015, 09:25 AM
The joint between the neck and the body is the most important joint in the instrument my friend and it can't really be over-built. Until you have a little more knowledge and have done repairs on uke and guitars for 20+ years, it might be a good idea to tone down your attitude. Rare is the time a neck really needs to come off a uke because of a joint failure and when that happens, a dovetail is not that hard once you know what you are doing. As for bolt on necks, I do just as many repairs for a failed bolt-on neck because the bolt/nut has come loose or got knocked off when the instrument was dropped. Unless you are speaking from knowledge and experience, you should not speak at all.


Exactly. Dovetail joints are cool and fun to make. But not needed on a ukulele in my opinion. Steel stringed guitar sure maybe. I'm not an engineer, but the stress just doesn't need that kind of joint on a uke. Plus, getting the neck off later becomes a nightmare. A simple mortise and tenon joint and a a bolt works fine for most people. Just me, but I think people over build this joint. Why? Because they are basically carpenters like me and not luthiers. This is the spot where ukuleles are NOT little guitars. PLUS: The dovetail joint is an anachronism from the 19th century and needs to go away. (Ducks and covers and runs away.)

jcalkin
04-18-2015, 04:46 PM
The joint between the neck and the body is the most important joint in the instrument my friend and it can't really be over-built. Until you have a little more knowledge and have done repairs on uke and guitars for 20+ years, it might be a good idea to tone down your attitude. Rare is the time a neck really needs to come off a uke because of a joint failure and when that happens, a dovetail is not that hard once you know what you are doing. As for bolt on necks, I do just as many repairs for a failed bolt-on neck because the bolt/nut has come loose or got knocked off when the instrument was dropped. Unless you are speaking from knowledge and experience, you should not speak at all.

I'm a little tired of worrying about the repairpeople of the future. An instrument that's built to be unbreakable isn't going to make great music. Spanish heel and dovetail people sign up for their own hassles, and are welcome to them. I like bolts and threaded steel dowels. Its just a choice with no religious or philosophical portent. Instruments break, musicians freak, repairpeople fix them. Its not a big deal. Our job as builders is to make musicians happy. Being careful is the musicians' job, but its secondary to making good music. Sh*t happens, and always will. To believe your instruments will last forever is a really poor bet and not to be fussed over. I think this thread was about tone. A heavy/stiff neck is good for sustain, and a lighter neck is good for volume. You don't have to believe that, but I think it might be true. Ukes don't seem to need a lot of sustain, but need volume. You can take it from there.

sequoia
04-18-2015, 06:25 PM
Funny. Today I went to a uke festival on our north coast. The Caspar Uke Festival. There were a number of master luthiers present selling their wares or just milling about and talking. I found them to be uniformly a pleasant, humble, nicest bunch bunch of guys that I've met in a long time. Aloha and good fellowship was the word. There wasn't an asshole in the bunch.

And then I come home and read this post. Instead of taking me to task about my idea, (dovetails are unnecessary), the writer goes right for the throat with an ad hominum atttack on me personally with threats (it might be a good idea to tone down your attitude.). This is sad because I thought he made some really good points but got lost in the bileish vitriol.

1) I never said that the neck/body connection wasn't the most important joint. You are absolutely right.

2) I never said that the dovetail joint wasn't the strongest. You are absolutely right.

3) I never said the joint wasn't reversible. I just said it was "difficult".

4) I wasn't aware that bolted necks were a problem for the repairman. This is interesting. Do tell. Maybe your best point. But it was lost in the message of anger and resentment. Sad. And somewhat puzzling Duane. Maybe you were just cranky that day.

Oh, and I really do apologize for the statement about dovetails being relegated as an 19th century anachronism. That was a cheap shot and I really just put that in there as a joke. Some people didn't get it. Obviously.

Pete Howlett
04-20-2015, 07:30 AM
Bolt on necks are not new, it's the widespread use of them that is new.

I have just had to replace a top. Undo bolt, prize off neck est voila! No steam required. I understand the Spanish heel but don't use that either - I want to spray necks and bodies separately and if required, remove the neck without, what would be for me, fuss. Unless engineered, dovetail joints are not the best solution in my workshop though there are plenty of Howlett guitars and ukulele out there with them.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
04-20-2015, 08:12 AM
The stiffer, heavier, fatter the neck, the better the sustain - there is a limit to this in regard to playability of course and what is a "fat" neck to some is a "normal" neck to others.
Volume might be effected by a stiff or light neck....not sure. But i think a stiff neck would benefit volume over a less stiff neck.
Method of joining the neck to the body makes no difference in tone. There are all as good/bad as each other according to construction method chosen.
Quality of joinery/fit (tight/not tight etc) does matter to tone, and a few other building elements.

I really dislike the myth of a wood working joint being better for tone over another. :deadhorse:

PS- Stradivarius Violins (and all the other old celebrated makers) use a nail(s) to aid neck attachment....

sequoia
04-20-2015, 07:23 PM
Quality :deadhorse:

PS- Stradivarius Violins (and all the other old celebrated makers) use a nail(s) to aid neck attachment....

Talking about beating a donkey to death, this is an oldy but goody. I go far enough back to when Bob Taylor was bolting his necks on and all the fou-for-all that started. I was a little surprised when Duane went all nuclear on me about the bolted neck. One thing I've learned is that what I thought I knew was that I didn't know at all and so I'm careful to not call somebody on an idea I might not agree on....

Here is the weird thing, as a guitar player, I was playing a Taylor once and felt the neck move away from the body. I then used it to put a little vibrato. From a structural point of view this is very, very bad to have the neck move a little bit, but from a players point of view, the bolt on presents some interesting points. The guitar plays like a dream almost 30 years later. I since find that dovetailed necks seem a little stiff to play. So remember guys, its not about joints, but about music. That is why building musical isntruments is not a wood working project but about building a work of art that makes beautiful sounds.

Timbuck
04-20-2015, 10:29 PM
Hi all,
I notice that the hana lima ia tenor plans and book differ in neck design. The plans have a much "lighter" construction inside the uke body. The book shows examples that are much more substantial. is one or the other better in terms of tonal quality? the plan drawing shows a thickness of+/- .25" for the landing that supports the sound and fret boards. The book shows +/- 1" with radius. Hopefully my drawing clarifies.78543
Going back to the start of this thread..I wonder if the Hana Lima plans refer to the problem of the sound board step on the heel ? and how much do they allow.?..I notice that you do have it on your rough sketches. ;)

johneverett
04-21-2015, 03:20 AM
Hi timbuck
I don't have the plans in front of me but I think .06 or .07" is specified. I'm using WRC for the top plate. I milled the step with my table saw and delta tenon jig. My plan is to thickness the sound board to its final fit. Is there something more i need to be looking out for?

The difficulty of disassembly/repair was brought up here....
hana lima specs tightbond aliphatic . Surprised me somewhat. I thought hide glue was de rigueur for lutherie? I've not used hide glue before and thought yellow glue it is (at least for this first one. )

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
04-21-2015, 05:50 AM
It's possible for bolts to work loose (glue isn't added to them to minimise this). Just tighten them if it ever happens :)

Michael N.
04-21-2015, 12:22 PM
Actually a bolt on Neck dates back to the early part of the 19th century. The Spanish heel is truly ancient and the dovetail is really more of a 20 th century joint, as far as I'm aware. The dovetail is really a variation on the shallow mortice joint that is found on Violins and early 19 th century Guitars, which is actually not that far off being a simple butt joint. Every single one of these joints is more than adequate for a Ukulele. In fact they are probably overkill in terms of strength. They have all been found on instruments with much higher string tension than is found on a Ukulele.
The Spanish heel can be pretty quick to execute but has the big disadvantage of being problematic for neck resets. That's probably much less of a factor on Ukuleles than it is on Guitars.
Just pick a joint, any one will do.