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Thread: Neck attachment method?

  1. #1

    Default Neck attachment method?

    What technique do you use to attach the neck to the body? I like the idea of buying the jig the cuts the tenon and mortise joint but it's expensive. I was looking at the Spanish style neck joint but gluing the neck on before it's finished seems like a pain. Also, how do you set the neck angle?

    There is a guy that cuts a slot and then bolts the neck on. Seems like the easiest but still, I am not sure how you set the neck angle?

    Anyway, what do you all use?

    Thanks for all your help and answering my newbie questions

  2. #2
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    When I started building I found the Spanish heel much the easiest method. It sets the neck angle for you, because you build face up on a board. At its simplest, if you build with a flat top then you can use a flat board. You decide your fretboard thickness (say 3mm) and your desired action at the 12th (say 2.5mm), and from this you can calculate that your saddle needs to be at 8mm above the top. If you dome the top, or want a taller saddle, then you adapt the board to suit.

    The downside of Spanish heel is that you have to finish body and neck together, rather than separately, which is more fiddly.

    All the other methods require you to set the neck angle by fine tuning the fit of the neck to the body, usually by flossing with a strip of sandpaper to remove wood in the wrong place.

    You don't need jigs to cut tenons and mortices, or dovetails, but you do need to be able to use a handsaw and chisel accurately!

    I'd say second easiest for a beginner is tenon and mortice, attached with a bolt from inside the body. The tenon lines up the neck accurately, so you can concentrate on adjusting the body/heel fit to get the right neck angle. To do this I bolt the neck on, mark my bridge position on a piece of tape. lay a straight edge along the neck and measure how high it is above the top at the bridge position. Then I adjust the heel/body fit until it's the right height. This is fiddly too!

  3. #3
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    I use one bolt and a butt joint, no neck tilt. A RoboSander in the drill press is used to shape the heel to the uke body using a simple jig. A straight edge sitting on top of the frets should also sit on top of the bridge. This will allow a full range of saddle adjustment.

  4. #4
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    M&T jig, from post #9, and continues from #11, goes through 17 with Kevin’s jig.
    https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...-the-box/page2

    Edit (add) - this response is merely to answer the question of the OP. By no means would I recommend doing this as a first shot. There’s a reason why Mike Chock teaches Spanish with Tru Oil at Hana Lima I’a.
    Last edited by Kekani; 01-03-2019 at 08:28 AM.

  5. #5
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    As a complete beginner about 12 years ago..the neck joint is what started me building ukes..after a few years in retirement I was very bored and needed something to occupy my mind..not having much spending money I wanted to buy myself a Martin ukulele..when I saw the price of these old Martin Vintage Sopranos I decided to make a copy instead..When I was under the influence one night I purchased a set of plans on eBay and set to work ASAP ..the dovetail joint fascinated me so much that I made it a priority I thought if I can get that right the rest would be a doddle ( wrong again) ..at first I did this by hand with a flat ended uke and it wasn't too hard...but I noted that the upper bout was in fact a radius and then it became a challenge and it took me several days to finally produce a radius ended uke with a compound dovetail joint that was something like what was needed and a load of wood ended up on the fire.....That was just the beginning of a long journey and I feel that I'm still not quite there yet.
    Last edited by Timbuck; 01-02-2019 at 12:21 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve-atl View Post
    What technique do you use to attach the neck to the body?
    Then there is the technique of using wooden dowels. No fancy routers, jigs, tenons, mortises needed. It is incredibly strong too. Two 1 1/2 inch by 1/4 inch oak dowels vertically into the neck heal and neck block. Glue heal and dowels with titebond to body. Glue fretboard extension to top. Like I say, it is quite strong and that neck is not going anywhere and therein lies the fundamental problem: it is not really reversible so if you want to re-set the neck later good luck. I did successfully remove a neck with this attachment once, but it wasn't pretty. But really, a properly constructed and maintained ukulele should not need a neck re-set.

  7. #7
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    Bolt on. Bolt on, Bolt on.
    Kind Regards
    Dennis

    dpophotography@yahoo.co.nz
    Southern Cross Banjo Ukes & Ukuleles
    Proudly Hand Crafted in
    New Zealand.

  8. #8
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    How about a simple butt joint with epoxy ? ..It has been done with great success ..well worth reading here http://www.ukuleles.com/BuildingHowTo/neck2body.html
    Last edited by Timbuck; 01-02-2019 at 09:54 PM.
    http://ukulele-innovation.tripod.com ebay i/d squarepeg_3000 Email timmsken@hotmail.com

    If you can believe that moving images and sound, can fly through empty space across the universe and be seen and heard on a box in your living room ?.. then you can believe in anything.

  9. #9
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    A nail and a dab of any old wood glue would probably hold the neck on - I think this is how lutes are constructed

    The real problem for a beginner (and a continuing problem for me!) is getting everything lined up right and a neat joint. Both Spanish heel and mortice and tenon take alignment out of the equation (except for up/down with mortice and tenon).

    My advice would be to think about the later stages of building. If you want to bind the body, or produce a high gloss finish, then Spanish heel makes both of these more difficult. But if this will be an unbound uke with a simple wipe-on finish like Tru-Oil then I'd suggest a Spanish heel for the first-timer.

    If making neck and body separately, then consider building with a flat to the body where it meets the neck. With that approach, a simple bolt-on might be easiest.

  10. #10
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    If I did bolt on necks I would fit the neck and bolt it on before I glued the back on like a Spanish heel set up, on a flat surface this would make alignment easier. Then remove it later for gluing on the fret board and finishing.
    Last edited by Timbuck; 01-03-2019 at 06:09 AM.
    http://ukulele-innovation.tripod.com ebay i/d squarepeg_3000 Email timmsken@hotmail.com

    If you can believe that moving images and sound, can fly through empty space across the universe and be seen and heard on a box in your living room ?.. then you can believe in anything.

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