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dofthesea
05-22-2015, 03:48 PM
Hello all I was curious as to which neck joint everyone prefers? I've been doing a spanish heel for the last 18 Ukes and want to move to a bolt on or some version of this. I just built an OM28 with a bolt on neck and a bolted down fretboard extension so no neck tenon and it was a breeze to fit the neck. So what do people like as far as bolts,tenons,splines or what not?

Kekani
05-22-2015, 04:56 PM
Bolt-on Mortise and Tenon.

My guess - the responses you get won't result in identifying any given process that will be statistically significant to stand out as a favorite. Meaning, you'll get a whole slew of favorites, but not one that will swing your decision to go one way or the other. Of course, that may not be the intent, and I think it will be interesting to see the methods. I think it'll be all over the map. But that's off topic.

Allen
05-22-2015, 09:15 PM
Every method will have it's strong points as well as their weaknesses. Some will make one task dead easy, but some other aspect will be near on impossible to achieve. Only you will be able to say what will work for you.

To make any informed decision on something like this,I would look at what is important to you in your design, construction goals, tooling, ease of assembly etc. and give each of those criteria a number say from 1 - 5 as to their importance.

Then look at each of the neck attachment methods and give them the same treatment. The results might surprise you.

dofthesea
05-23-2015, 12:32 PM
Kekani do you have a pic of your detail?

jcalkin
05-23-2015, 04:33 PM
Bolt on, no tenon.

sequoia
05-23-2015, 05:58 PM
Like Allen said, each style has its advantages and disadvantages. So let me give my (amateur) take on what I think are the advantages and disadvantages on the different methods. These are just my opinions for sake of discussion. I'm sure I missed something. Aloha.

1) Spanish Heel: Advantages: Strong, can dial in perfect neck alignment, traditional, some say beautiful. Disadvantages: Complicated, requires a lot of time and work, skill level needs to be good. I once was going to attempt a Spanish heal and after doing my research I remember thinking; Why? There are many adherents to this method and some of the best luthiers in the world swear by it.

2) Dove Tail: Advantages: Strongest joint, artistically beautiful, traditional, time tested, acoustical advantages, did I say strong? Disadvantages: Difficult to remove, requires medium to high level of wood working chops to pull off well, a little old fashioned maybe. Hey, this is the joint for the serious luthier. Martin & Co. are no dummies and after selling about 100 billion dollars worth of dove tails sold, they just might be onto something.

3) Mortise and Tenon: Advantages: Logical, relatively straight forward and easy to do. Disadvantages: Maybe not the strongest joint. Mya-Moe uses this style with great effect and their ukes are fantastic.

4) Mortise and Tenon with bolt: Advantages: As above except stronger, easier to remove/adjust. Disadvantages: Aesthetically industrial, can move, more work. This is the style on the guitars I own. I love them, but they move which can be weird.

5) Butt Joint with Bolt: Advantages: Easy. Disadvantages: As above except even weaker.

6) Butt joint with dowels: Advantages: Easy, it works. Disadvantages: Inherently weak, alignment issues.

7) Straight Butt Joint: Advantages: Easy, quick, cheap. Disadvantages: Structurally weak and unsound, prone to catastrophic failure. Hey, this joint has made a lot of junk ukulele builders a lot of money so there must be something to say for it. Stack em high and sell em cheap. So what if the neck falls off.

8) The Perfect Neck Joint: Advantages: Strong, perfect alignment, easy to make, removable, acoustically alive, cheap to produce. Disadvantages: None.

Kekani
05-23-2015, 06:57 PM
Kekani do you have a pic of your detail?
In theory, you could look at any bolt on M&T, then shrink the heelblock to 2 1/2" with 2 bolts, and you'd have it.

I may have a pick in the "out of box" thread; definitely got a pic of the jig there.

On a side note, on topic, looks like you're 2-0 with bolt on's so far.

Timbuck
05-23-2015, 10:26 PM
There is only one joint for me..Thats what made me start building ukes in the first place...I wanted something to get my teeth into.;)

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
05-24-2015, 06:02 AM
I use a spanish dovetail with bolts......

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
05-24-2015, 06:53 AM
I've been using a bolt on connection for close to 30 years. No other choice for me as it offers infinite opportunities for adjustment during the building process and it makes finishing so much easier.

dofthesea
05-24-2015, 10:22 AM
Beau may I have a pic of the Spanish dovetail w/ bolts? With a google search a bunch of different methods come up.

Check do you use one or two bolts with a tenon or no tenon?

jcalkin
05-24-2015, 11:36 AM
Like Allen said, each style has its advantages and disadvantages. So let me give my (amateur) take on what I think are the advantages and disadvantages on the different methods. These are just my opinions for sake of discussion. I'm sure I missed something. Aloha.

1) Spanish Heel: Advantages: Strong, can dial in perfect neck alignment, traditional, some say beautiful. Disadvantages: Complicated, requires a lot of time and work, skill level needs to be good. I once was going to attempt a Spanish heal and after doing my research I remember thinking; Why? There are many adherents to this method and some of the best luthiers in the world swear by it.

2) Dove Tail: Advantages: Strongest joint, artistically beautiful, traditional, time tested, acoustical advantages, did I say strong? Disadvantages: Difficult to remove, requires medium to high level of wood working chops to pull off well, a little old fashioned maybe. Hey, this is the joint for the serious luthier. Martin & Co. are no dummies and after selling about 100 billion dollars worth of dove tails sold, they just might be onto something.

3) Mortise and Tenon: Advantages: Logical, relatively straight forward and easy to do. Disadvantages: Maybe not the strongest joint. Mya-Moe uses this style with great effect and their ukes are fantastic.

4) Mortise and Tenon with bolt: Advantages: As above except stronger, easier to remove/adjust. Disadvantages: Aesthetically industrial, can move, more work. This is the style on the guitars I own. I love them, but they move which can be weird.

5) Butt Joint with Bolt: Advantages: Easy. Disadvantages: As above except even weaker.

6) Butt joint with dowels: Advantages: Easy, it works. Disadvantages: Inherently weak, alignment issues.

7) Straight Butt Joint: Advantages: Easy, quick, cheap. Disadvantages: Structurally weak and unsound, prone to catastrophic failure. Hey, this joint has made a lot of junk ukulele builders a lot of money so there must be something to say for it. Stack em high and sell em cheap. So what if the neck falls off.

8) The Perfect Neck Joint: Advantages: Strong, perfect alignment, easy to make, removable, acoustically alive, cheap to produce. Disadvantages: None.

Hi, Sequoia. I think you sometimes tend to slice things too thinly. Its a habit I used to have and I'm glad I've gotten over it. A butt joint with bolt(s) is stronger than you need. If you say the mortise and tenon with bolts is stronger, that just means to me that after you get done beating your uke on a boulder there might still be a tenon attached to the shreds of the neck block. In real life it just means that you did more work than was necessary. I may still be a ukulele rookie, but it seems to me there is a lot of over-building going on. If everybody says that their ukes sound fine it just means that the instrument is tolerant of design differences, for which I'm grateful. The easiest trail leads to the same place as all the others. Smile, you're a ukulele maker!

Kekani
05-24-2015, 11:53 AM
Beau may I have a pic of the Spanish dovetail w/ bolts? With a google search a bunch of different methods come up.

Down under humor me thinks. . .

Hi, Sequoia. I think you sometimes tend to slice things too thinly. Its a habit I used to have and I'm glad I've gotten over it. A butt joint with bolt(s) is stronger than you need. If you say the mortise and tenon with bolts is stronger, that just means to me that after you get done beating your uke on a boulder there might still be a tenon attached to the shreds of the neck block. In real life it just means that you did more work than was necessary. I may still be a ukulele rookie, but it seems to me there is a lot of over-building going on. If everybody says that their ukes sound fine it just means that the instrument is tolerant of design differences, for which I'm grateful. The easiest trail leads to the same place as all the others. Smile, you're a ukulele maker!
On point. And you're no rookie, me thinks again.

I tally (and I'm being proven incorrect - there seems to be a direction, but 1 data point doesn't make a trend):
2 bolt on
1 bolt on M&T
1 bolt on Spanish Dovetail.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
05-24-2015, 12:59 PM
Beau may I have a pic of the Spanish dovetail w/ bolts? With a google search a bunch of different methods come up.

Check do you use one or two bolts with a tenon or no tenon?

Yer- i was kidding about the 3 ways in one.

But if you use bolts, i would recommend the widest tenon you can manage. My tenons (the 'male' part) are 22mm wide- I do this so there is less chance of the threaded inserts busting the tenon. I'm not trying to be crude, but the more meat on your male part the better. I actually would like my tenon to be a dovetail shape as that would have alot more meat but then i couldn't use my insert method shown in the video below.

I tried they furnature bolt thingys Chuck and Pete use but didn't like them.

This is how I do the second half of the operation- now my inserts go in super straight n easy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGPdMoR0DCs

Kekani
05-24-2015, 03:03 PM
Yer- i was kidding about the 3 ways in one.

But if you use bolts, i would recommend the widest tenon you can manage. My tenons (the 'male' part) are 22mm wide- I do this so there is less chance of the threaded inserts busting the tenon. I'm not trying to be crude, but the more meat on your male part the better. I actually would like my tenon to be a dovetail shape as that would have alot more meat but then i couldn't use my insert method shown in the video below.

I tried they furnature bolt thingys Chuck and Pete use but didn't like them.

This is how I do the second half of the operation- now my inserts go in super straight n easy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGPdMoR0DCs

And because of that video, I got one. Seems the insert tool from Woodcraft wouldn't fit the hole, so I ground off the painted surface. I think I may use this for drilling the holes as well, in addition to drilling the holes for a slotted headstock. Neat tool - now I'm making excuses to use it for things. . .

jcalkin
05-24-2015, 03:08 PM
Down under humor me thinks. . .

On point. And you're no rookie, me thinks again.

I tally (and I'm being proven incorrect - there seems to be a direction, but 1 data point doesn't make a trend):
2 bolt on
1 bolt on M&T
1 bolt on Spanish Dovetail.

In this company I often feel like a rookie, despite having built tons of other instruments. I won't feel fully fledged on ukes until 40-50 are behind me. I try not to strike a pose I haven't earned yet.

sequoia
05-24-2015, 05:08 PM
Hi, Sequoia. I think you sometimes tend to slice things too thinly.

Guilty as charged. There is something about building ukes that brings out the anal retentive obsessive compulsive perfectionist in me. Below today's effort on an endgraft. Pretty thinly sliced I would say.

79902

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
05-25-2015, 06:19 AM
And because of that video, I got one. Seems the insert tool from Woodcraft wouldn't fit the hole, so I ground off the painted surface. I think I may use this for drilling the holes as well, in addition to drilling the holes for a slotted headstock. Neat tool - now I'm making excuses to use it for things. . .

I got the woodcraft insert tool that fits the 1/4" /20 thread and it fits one of the holes in the dowel jig perfectly. I guess different dowel jig brand have different guide holes.

PS- did you notice that I, thanks to advice form Aaron, use the face of the threaded insert with the slot in it as the "drilling" face. This is the correct direction. Before Aaron told me this, i assumed the Slot was for screwing it in with a screw driver. Not so!!!

Kekani
05-25-2015, 07:18 AM
I got the woodcraft insert tool that fits the 1/4" /20 thread and it fits one of the holes in the dowel jig perfectly. I guess different dowel jig brand have different guide holes.
I have confidence the Dowl-it jig is correct, its just the insert tool that would have production variation, especially since its not necessarily spec.


PS- did you notice that I, thanks to advice form Aaron, use the face of the threaded insert with the slot in it as the "drilling" face. This is the correct direction. Before Aaron told me this, i assumed the Slot was for screwing it in with a screw driver. Not so!!!
Be careful with sharing this. You know I got that from the internet so it must be true:rolleyes:
Then again, most I know that works with inserts sees it, and gets it right away. I guess the "no wonder it always bends out of shape when I install it with a screwdriver" question is answered, without even asking.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
05-25-2015, 08:13 AM
I have confidence the Dowl-it jig is correct, its just the insert tool that would have production variation, especially since its not necessarily spec.


Be careful with sharing this. You know I got that from the internet so it must be true:rolleyes:
Then again, most I know that works with inserts sees it, and gets it right away. I guess the "no wonder it always bends out of shape when I install it with a screwdriver" question is answered, without even asking.

hahahahhaa- Internet truth!

PS- i have to put the T wrench (as they are called) into the hole first THEN thread on the brass insert.

Kekani
05-25-2015, 08:29 AM
hahahahhaa- Internet truth!

PS- i have to put the T wrench (as they are called) into the hole first THEN thread on the brass insert.
Yup, picked that up in your vid. I'm thinking I don't need to open up the top of the hole with my step drill anymore.

aaronckeim
05-30-2015, 04:48 AM
Hey Sequio: Mya-Moe uses dovetail, not mortise and tenon.

sequoia
05-30-2015, 06:50 AM
Hey Sequio: Mya-Moe uses dovetail, not mortise and tenon.

Right you are Aaron. My bad... See video episode #80 of Birth of a Mya-Moe where Aaron attaches the neck to the body and explains the dovetail joint. Below is the youtube URL for the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFAVKwHSxpk