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Thread: Loose Tenon ::: Any Downsides?

  1. #1

    Default Loose Tenon ::: Any Downsides?

    I have been using mortise and tenon joints for my ukes, so far, with bolts and the tenons *not* glued into the body/block.

    On my current build, a mishap wrecked the tenon on the neck, so I cut it off and reworked it to have a loose tenon. (I don't yet have a photo of this, but could in the near future) It made the neck fitting to body really easy, and no doubt the best fitting neck I've done yet.

    I'm starting to think of doing this again. What I decided to do was epoxy the loose tenon into the neck, and it has a threaded brass insert for a bolt. The epoxy cured, and I fit the neck to the body for the first time yesterday, and voila! Perfect fit.

    Can anyone think of any downsides to doing it this way?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    Can't think of a downside as long as you have an accurate way to make the mortise in the neck (which apparently you do, since it worked out). I assume you have a jig to make the mortise. But I'm wondering why you used epoxy instead of wood glue for the loose tenon.

    Edit: On second thought, on old banjos, the glue on the dowel can start to fail after a few decades. This is the part that extends from the base of the neck all the way to the other end of the banjo pot. That can make the neck loose, and the action increases due to string tension acting on the now-loose joint. So this is a possible downside, but it's unlikely to manifest itself for a long, long time as long as the mortise/tenon fit is good and it's well-glued.
    Last edited by Uke-alot; 02-25-2020 at 02:16 PM.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uke-alot View Post
    Can't think of a downside as long as you have an accurate way to make the mortise in the neck (which apparently you do, since it worked out). I assume you have a jig to make the mortise. But I'm wondering why you used epoxy instead of wood glue for the loose tenon.
    I have been making my mortises by hand mostly but will like to someday have a more solid method, but so far, so good.

    Why expoxy? I thought lots of end grain and the tenon as more of a permanent part of the neck. But if I omitted the bolt I would have likely just used wood glue to put it all together.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    A few custom guitar makers no longer cut a tenon, instead they accurately position holes and bolts from the neck through the neck block. But they use two bolts and do not glue the neck to the body. I took a guitar apart which is representative of cheaper guitars out of the East, they use dowels to position but glue the face of the heel to the body. If I can get my act together and get everything accurate I think I will use hanger bolts in the neck and through the body.

  5. #5
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    Have a bit of fun and do compound dovetails instead...It makes you feel good when you get it right
    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.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by printer2 View Post
    A few custom guitar makers no longer cut a tenon, instead they accurately position holes and bolts from the neck through the neck block. But they use two bolts and do not glue the neck to the body. I took a guitar apart which is representative of cheaper guitars out of the East, they use dowels to position but glue the face of the heel to the body. If I can get my act together and get everything accurate I think I will use hanger bolts in the neck and through the body.
    Interesting, do you recall who those makers are?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett S. View Post
    Interesting, do you recall who those makers are?
    In the UK we call Hanger bolts Dowel Screws.
    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.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett S. View Post
    Interesting, do you recall who those makers are?
    The hanger bolts or the dowels? The dowels, Aria for one. The tenonless guitar, Stephen Kinnaird, the guitar is being finished and as bad as the picture is you can see there is no joint cut out of the neck area.



    Halcyon Guitars also, can't find pictures either.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by printer2 View Post
    The hanger bolts or the dowels? The dowels, Aria for one. The tenonless guitar, Stephen Kinnaird, the guitar is being finished and as bad as the picture is you can see there is no joint cut out of the neck area.



    Halcyon Guitars also, can't find pictures either.
    Yes, I meant the guitar makers. Thanks. Interesting.

  10. #10
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    Huss & Dalton is another guitar company that uses no neck tenon, brass inserts directly into the neck, and two bolts through the neck block. I would never consider any other method, though I have lately switched to threaded steel dowels in the neck rather than inserts on my ukes, and only one bolt.

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