View Full Version : setting the neck

11-29-2011, 10:57 PM
I am in the middle of building my first Ukulele (tenor). I have been assuming that when I set the neck into the block (using a mortise/tenon joint) that I'd use a straightedge to make sure that the face of the neck (this is a trial set before gluing on the fretboard) is flush and straight all the way from the nut down the centerline to the end of the lower bout. Then, after I glue on the fretboard and permanently set the neck, all will be well.

Is this right? Or do I have to off set the neck (bend it backwards a bit) a bit to allow for the tension of the strings pulling it forward?

dave g
11-30-2011, 01:35 AM
Flat or not depends on the design of the uke, but *don't* assume the string tension is going to bend the thing.

Michael Smith
11-30-2011, 06:13 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6RbaKQB2pAMine never seem to be flat as a tenor or below needs to start bending quickly to make the upper bout. Watch the last half of this Robbie Obrien video. The key points are relieving the neck where it meets the instrument and flossing with emery cloth not sandpaper.

11-30-2011, 06:35 PM
Thanks! that was very useful! I'm not sure I could take an entire instructional video with the NFL theme, but that was very useful. Thanks again!

11-30-2011, 06:38 PM
That's what I thought. I'm not sure how much tension is on an uke, but it can't be that much!
What is the current thinking about the best way to attach the neck? Is bolt on becoming a trend as in guitar luthery, or is the old glued joint still the most common?

Michael Smith
11-30-2011, 09:27 PM
I have been using the bolt on with a mortise joint. I was epoxying a piece of threaded rod into the neck and putting a steel pin through the threaded rod for extra strength. I used a brass acorn nut inside the body. That worked well but I decided I didn't like the acorn nut and went back to the system I used on guitar necks. 30538 The only thing I do different is to drill up from the heel and put my bolt as low on the heel as I can. Because there is only one bolt I want to get as much meat as possible between the female threaded post and my bolt end. The string tension will take care of the upper fit so you need to get that bolt low so the bottom of the heel won't pull away from the body if you want this system to work. I use it because I believe the Tru Oil I use on the necks is a superior finish for handling and body sweat and grime and I like that the user can put on more coats easily. The downside is it is more work and if you don't get your bolt low the string tension will pull the heel away from the body enough to look ugly. Here is a better picture of the type of bolt and post I use. After drilling and installing the female threaded post I wick a little CA around the outside of the post before I pull my bolt out. It would be a real drag if after you put your heal cap on the female post shifted and you couldn't get your bolt to line up.


12-01-2011, 05:50 AM
Thanks. Very useful.
I'm not exactly clear on what the finish on the neck has to do with the attachment system?

Michael Smith
12-01-2011, 05:54 AM
It would be pretty hare to lacquer the body and true oil the neck when attached or to go back and touch up either.

12-01-2011, 06:15 AM
Ah. Thanks.