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Thread: Making a Tenor Neck

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Catskill Mountains, NY

    Default Making a Tenor Neck

    I'm making a cigar box uke, and I'm undecided about making the neck from one piece or several. One method would have me cut the entire shape out of a block of 3" X 3" mahogany, which I have. The other method is to cut the flat neck itself and then glue pieces to each end for the head and attachment point. This will be standard uke construction, with the neck attached to the end of the box, rather than running straight through it.

    From guitar sites, the multi-piece approach seems best because it is stronger - better able to resist the pull of those six tight strings.

    So, any comments about ease of construction, appearance, and durability? Any suggestions for a good template?

    I built a Stewart-MacDonald tenor kit, but that came with a rough-cut neck.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Greenville, VA.


    Most people agree that a one-piece neck is prettier, but you could likely get 2 or 3 necks out of your blank if you make them in pieces. I'd be more concerned about the ability of the box to take the stress without a neck-through design. Some cigar boxes are pretty flimsy, others are built like tanks, almost like jewelry boxes. After buying a box of cigar boxes I decided to make my own, though I may break down and use the commercial ones just to get them out of the way. Are you going to use a tailpiece system or a guitar-style bridge?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Cumbria, NW England


    "From guitar sites, the multi-piece approach seems best because it is stronger - better able to resist the pull of those six tight strings."

    There are already lots of threads on this forum about making necks-a little time is needed to search for them. Similarly theres info on Youtube on making guitar/uke necks.

    Many make their necks with a scarfed head and a built up heel. As a hobby maker this is my usual method though I've tried several different ways.

    If its your first, it doesnt matter how you do it. The uke neck is short and the force exerted by the strings is small so the neck is not likely to fail however you make it. Whatever method you choose, it will be a learning exercise. As you progress and try different ways of building, you can decide what works for you in terms of time/effort/cost.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Big Island, Hawaii


    You can get two necks from a 3" X 3" billet if it is 18" long. Not much waste at all really.
    Chuck Moore
    Moore Bettah Ukuleles

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Little River, California


    If you are going to do a one piece neck one needs to keep in mind whether your band saw is up to the task of cutting that sort of thing. This is not an issue with a stacked neck. Then of course there are the grain runout issues and weakness and then there is that waste.... Yes, lots of discussion on this.

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