Making a Tenor Neck


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Jul 4, 2015
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Catskill Mountains, NY
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.
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?
"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.
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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