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  1. #151

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    If you are still trying to figure out the neck joint, here is a video of someone doing it with hand tools. I’ve done it similarly, but I use the LMII jig now. Watching this guy makes me doubt the power tool way is really all that better. Of course, his tools are really SHARP and he’s obviously done this a lot.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman
    With the mandolin family, the fingerboard extension is usually added after the neck is attached. In the video it looks as if he is going to skip the extension on his mandocello as he does not mention it. With a mandolin, setting the neck height and angle is a different process than it is on a guitar. It is a very informative video nonetheless. But I thought I should point out that guitars and mandolins are usually a bit different when it comes to the fingerboard extension.
    I do feel like I’ve been in a rut with the neck joint.

    Thanks, Rhett. I’ve found Tomy Hovington’s stuff in my internet research, and have seen that video. As Matt mentioned, he had a flat area for attachment on the top plate and it didn’t appear to involve a neck extension, and I sort of abandoned that method as I didn’t have a solid resource for instruction.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #152

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    Obviously, there are lots of variables and ways to skin the cat.. tapered, straight, etc.

    I decided to make a neck dovetail tenon jig a la Cushman. I started with a piece of 3/4” plywood, and traced the outline of the dovetail template and drilled 2 pilot holes:
    First-timer Archtop Build-c1fb3d78-8fce-40b8-bbc2-3a98f1c68401-jpg

    I then jigsaw’d out the central portion:
    First-timer Archtop Build-4f6c078d-2d51-437c-a6b2-6c6264a3f068-jpg

    Next, I used the plunge router with a 1/2” straight bit set to the depth of the template (1/4”) and removed the inlay for the template itself:
    First-timer Archtop Build-f160ff72-8f82-4e37-b1c5-4b2eec2f248a-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-9be230f3-c016-4b3f-b6b7-75fd29f980c6-jpg

    I used a longer piece of 3/4” plywood and routed a 3/4” channel using on the table router with a straight bit to meet the top piece at 90°:
    First-timer Archtop Build-91695696-8c86-47f0-93ec-17de23cfb53e-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-781bc824-e3b6-427a-a545-7e35ae22137c-jpg

    End of Pt1

  4. #153

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    I then took a square board and cut 2 right-angle pieces on the compound miter saw. I nailed them with a pneumatic nailer and placed 2 screws from the top:
    First-timer Archtop Build-d4e146d7-056e-4c2e-9665-b958d08ee915-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-c307e52c-6578-4ff1-b7f5-3f3e248afd60-jpg

    Again, disregard the fact I’ve placed the in template upside down.

    I realized my heel was very oversized, so I measured out the distance from the top plate to ~1/4” from the inside of the back plates. I decided to leave an extra 1/2” beyond and decided to leave an extra 1/8” or so (second line) to be safe, which I can shape later. I then cut off the heel excess on the table saw:First-timer Archtop Build-2c42cd7a-8261-49ef-897b-91271a7f8f45-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-2d865ad7-dfa3-452e-ad33-d11493625249-jpg

    I then held my neck blank up to the jig and realized it was was too far back to get the bottom of the dovetail to be at my mark:
    First-timer Archtop Build-7dd5af3e-9a1b-4c45-8088-90765093debd-jpg

    So, I realIzed I’d have to extend back my template cavity with the router and jigsaw:
    First-timer Archtop Build-305c633a-9ea6-42af-84df-e7c1b203e927-jpg

    PS - to make the cavity, I knife marked out the template and routed up to near the line. I then mallet/chiseled the edges clean to get a snug fit.

    This is where it stands currently- noticed I had the template orientation right this time!
    First-timer Archtop Build-41e41ea9-f99a-47b1-81d9-44872a575b32-jpg

    I still need to make a pretty fat 4degree wedge to get the jig to appropriately get the dovetail where I need it.

  5. #154

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    I see you are well on your way with the router jig. But the hand cut dovetail mortise and tenon is done exactly the same whether you are adding a 1/2” fingerboard extension or leaving a raised area on the top itself. Those are really independent considerations.

    Also, Robbie O’Brien (O’Brien Guitars) sells plans for a jig that holds the body of the guitar and neck for using routing templates. It is a good jig, works with the LMI templates, and worth buying his plans. No reason to try to reinvent the wheel.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  6. #155

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    Just to clarify. I was trying to point out the difference between the use of a V shaped mortise in mandolin neck attachment as compared to straight walled mortice in archtop guitar neck attachment. Not how they are cut. The v shaped mortise works well for the mandolin as the fingerboard extension is added after the neck is glued in place. Whereas with the guitar neck the fingerboard extension is in place when you glue the neck to the body. This does make setting the neck height a bit different. I also have a router jig for my mandolins that cuts a V shaped mortise.

    Not to beat a dead horse, but Chapter 14 of Benedetto's book "fitting the neck to the body" shows the method used for a straight sided mortise and tenon dovetail joint. A V shaped mortise will have an added element of difficulty when it comes time to fit the neck.
    Last edited by Matt Cushman; 10-16-2019 at 09:12 AM.

  7. #156

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    I see you are well on your way with the router jig. But the hand cut dovetail mortise and tenon is done exactly the same whether you are adding a 1/2” fingerboard extension or leaving a raised area on the top itself. Those are really independent considerations.

    Also, Robbie O’Brien (O’Brien Guitars) sells plans for a jig that holds the body of the guitar and neck for using routing templates. It is a good jig, works with the LMI templates, and worth buying his plans. No reason to try to reinvent the wheel.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman
    Just to clarify. I was trying to point out the difference between the use of a V shaped mortise in mandolin neck attachment as compared to straight walled mortice in archtop guitar neck attachment. Not how they are cut. The v shaped mortise works well for the mandolin as the fingerboard extension is added after the neck is glued in place. Whereas with the guitar neck the fingerboard extension is in place when you glue the neck to the body. This does make setting the neck height a bit different. I also have a router jig for my mandolins that cuts a V shaped mortise.

    Not to beat a dead horse, but Chapter 14 of Benedetto's book "fitting the neck to the body" shows the method used for a straight sided mortise and tenon dovetail joint. A V shaped mortise will have an added element of difficulty when it comes time to fit the neck.
    I'm gonna go with your experience here and stay with the straight mortise and tenon to avoid another potential fit problem. I'll snag the O'Brien plans and re-start the jig. Do you recommend I go with the smaller 3/4" dovetail bit, bits associated with the template?

  8. #157

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    With the straight sided mortise and tenon I think the fitting of the neck will be much as is shown in Bob's book. The size of the mortise and tenon is what will be affected by the size of the template and bit size and guide ring relationship. Not having worked with the LMII templates, it is difficult for me to speculate on what size bit and guide ring will be required to cut the proper size mortise and tenon. When I say proper size, I am referring to the dimensions that Bob shows in his plan.

  9. #158

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    Did that horse show signs of life? Here, let me give it a whack! ;-)

    I actually use a “V” dovetail, which used to be common on Martin/Gibson flat top guitars as well. The argument was that it cinched up on itself. You could clamp down on the neck to the body to pull it tight. A straight sliding dovetail had to be perfect everywhere to pull tight.

    But just to be contrarian, I have also used a butt joint and inserts. I used a long threaded rod with a coupler and Allen key at the end to fasten the bolt. I used the endpin hole for access.

    Also, I fit the joint without the fingerboard extension or fingerboard. Once properly fit to the body I use the body to tell me where to cut the rabbet.

    Many ways to skin the cat.

    I’ve made several jigs over the years, and Robbie’s is the one I use most. I think you’ll like it. He has a video on using it that is very helpful. Dovetail bits are relatively cheap, so you might as well use the one LMI calls out. One less place to make a mistake.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  10. #159

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    Did that horse show signs of life? Here, let me give it a whack! ;-)

    I actually use a “V” dovetail, which used to be common on Martin/Gibson flat top guitars as well. The argument was that it cinched up on itself. You could clamp down on the neck to the body to pull it tight. A straight sliding dovetail had to be perfect everywhere to pull tight.

    But just to be contrarian, I have also used a butt joint and inserts. I used a long threaded rod with a coupler and Allen key at the end to fasten the bolt. I used the endpin hole for access.

    Also, I fit the joint without the fingerboard extension or fingerboard. Once properly fit to the body I use the body to tell me where to cut the rabbet.

    Many ways to skin the cat.

    I’ve made several jigs over the years, and Robbie’s is the one I use most. I think you’ll like it. He has a video on using it that is very helpful. Dovetail bits are relatively cheap, so you might as well use the one LMI calls out. One less place to make a mistake.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    I agree there often many ways of completing a task. I often depends on the tools you have or those that you are familiar with. The important thing is making sure you have taken the time of thinking everything through carefully before you proceed with something that is non reversible. Obviously the v shaped joint works well for you. And it sounds as if you are using the same method that I use on a mandolin. I have grown accustomed to my own method for guitar so when offering advice I naturally gravitate towards what I use myself.

    As a side note, I like to join the extender to the neck with a dovetail joint for a bit of added strength and to simplify the clamping of the extender to the neck while gluing it to the neck. I borrowed this idea from D'AquistoFirst-timer Archtop Build-p1010002-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-p1010003-jpg
    Last edited by Matt Cushman; 10-16-2019 at 01:58 PM.

  11. #160

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman
    I agree there often many ways of completing a task. I often depends on the tools you have or those that you are familiar with. The important thing is making sure you have taken the time of thinking everything through carefully before you proceed with something that is non reversible. Obviously the v shaped joint works well for you. And it sounds as if you are using the same method that I use on a mandolin. I have grown accustom to my own method for guitar so when offering advice I naturally gravitate towards what I use myself.

    As a side note, I like to join the extender to the neck with a dovetail joint for a bit of added strength and to simplify the clamping of the extender to the neck while gluing it to the neck. I borrowed this idea from D'AquistoFirst-timer Archtop Build-p1010002-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-p1010003-jpg
    That's slick!!

  12. #161

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    Made some headway on the O’Brien jig using his plans. I ordered a few star knobs from Rockler that are slated to arrive tomorrow and the straight mortise/tenon LMI template and bits get here on Wednesday. I didn’t photograph the whole process since you can check his plans and YouTube videos, but here’s a synopsis till my current status. This was definitely more about function than beauty, and I think will work well.
    First-timer Archtop Build-2bef20a0-a7ca-4a03-bacf-47024f98c063-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-2ade4f12-bf2a-490c-8f04-abcbe1636859-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-e34a0a13-3fe0-425c-9566-633612da4152-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-793fd07b-3c81-4900-b722-dc681a722ab6-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-685a0231-1890-4d7c-9fb2-eb36771ba6bd-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-3480e20b-3afc-49eb-b419-fb3d943641cd-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-3b2790a2-97e7-48d0-8dc1-4c7b5a959c90-jpg


    Hopefully can get most finished tomorrow night and be ready to test some bits this weekend.
    Last edited by sbeishline; 10-22-2019 at 01:40 PM.

  13. #162

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    Got the O’Brien neck jig completed today. This is a feat in itself!
    First-timer Archtop Build-e1f2927a-e006-4ed9-9730-31da3ec6d619-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-91a5154c-1f41-42c4-9852-4a3872ac73ba-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-fd8d7359-14d4-484a-b406-e7d9dc2cfd9c-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-1f2f44e2-78b3-4d6c-88dd-f1230d983558-jpg

    Feels great to have that finished. Will plan to practice on some wood this week with the various dovetail bits, etc.

    As if this guitar isn’t enough, I’ve started to make a small 14.5” x 14.5” x 11.25” speaker cabinet to use with 12” Cannabis Rex speaker - and probably - a Quilter 101R amp head.

    Will probably start a new thread for that side project to use with this future guitar. Have the pine cut and currently marking the dovetails...

  14. #163

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    Make a little noise if you're stoked for the continuation of the archtop!

  15. #164

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbeishline
    Make a little noise if you're stoked for the continuation of the archtop!

    More archtop!

    John

  16. #165

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    More, more, more please!!!

  17. #166

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    I had been stuck at the neck dovetail joint for a bit and bit the bullet to make the O'Brien neck joint jig, which came out well. I was also held up because I had planned to forego on the toggle clamps and use removable clamps to hold the neck in place, but none fit. So, the toggle clamps just arrived yesterday and I'll screw those on the jig tonight.

    In the meantime, I milled a small piece of cherry scrap to 7/32" wide to use as a guide pin for the neck on the jig that holds the neck at exactly 90 degrees:
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_4633-jpeg-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_4632-jpeg-jpg

    Next up will be to install the toggle clamps and practice on my erroneous first neck blank..

  18. #167

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    Feels good to have the wheels spinning again after the pause. Drilled some pilot holes onto some blocks and screwed the neck-holding toggle clamps into place:
    First-timer Archtop Build-d9a1e3b8-dd74-42a6-a149-9893022870d7-jpg

    Tested out the clamps and it holds pretty well. That guide pin used in the truss rod channel is awesome!
    First-timer Archtop Build-83c51dfc-3e0d-480e-b7c7-cedc7c7eb384-jpg

    I then used some scraps and made a faux neck blank templates to practice using the dovetail jig. I cut the blank to 4° setback angle to match jig and ran them on the table router to make a truss rod channel:
    First-timer Archtop Build-4cf8251b-cc26-40d7-9a4a-8051f3b8b803-jpg

    I used the LMI dovetail templates, 1/2” shank straight and dovetail bits, and their 5/8” outer diameter (17/32” inner diameter) with centering bit to use in the router.

    I used the centering bit and locked down the guide bushing. Then placed the straight bit for a test cut for the dovetail mortise.
    First-timer Archtop Build-710fac65-c10d-4f44-9855-d57a8a81ea20-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-d03e768c-41d9-4d85-aaa9-ff3aa8987d4b-jpg

    Took the plunge (ha!) to 3/16” and made the cut:
    First-timer Archtop Build-5ef98ae8-dc0a-463b-abcd-c597f0cd616c-jpg

    The router cut real smooth without much issue.

    Moved over to the dovetail tenon side and gave it a go:
    First-timer Archtop Build-d194c111-c0e3-46f6-815e-0bb468dab6cf-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-b618dd3a-1de6-4f12-975d-27a3a7da5401-jpg

    One thing I learned is that because of the guide bushing, the bit cuts the tenon ~1/8” longer than I had marked (see previous 2 photos) and the mortise gets cut a tad shorter than marking.

    Ran out of time to switch to the dovetail bit on Day 1.

  19. #168

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    Building a guitar is a bit like building a house: the foundations and rough framing go in relatively quickly and it LOOKS like a house; but the finish carpentry is where the real time is taken.

    Keep at it. You are doing great! When I used to help teach a guitar building class 25 people would start and we would be lucky if 5 fully completed a guitar. Such a shame! The worst sounding and playing guitar is the one in parts sitting in a box in your garage.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  20. #169

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    Back to shop for more practice!

    Having closed an archtop body, I can tell you the dovetail joint has been the most mentally challenging concept to get a handle on, by far. It’s not only a dovetail, but 2 dovetails in 2 different directions. There has been lots of speculation and discussion of whether it’s best to cut the dovetail or mortise or dovetail first, and how best to refine these to create a super tight fit at the right level.

    I should preface that I did most of this practice session with an incorrect end goal- I attempted to make the top of the tenon flush with the body. I think I thought this because the video I watched was an acoustic guitar. That being said, I cut about 3 mortises and tenons, of which all mortises were too wide. The following pictures were the 4th one that got near a locked fit.

    I recut a new mortise:
    First-timer Archtop Build-ed82b83a-46db-48c5-a731-0c26b5c67f17-jpg

    And another tenon. And changed from the straight cut bit to the 7° dovetail bit:
    First-timer Archtop Build-735b094c-3216-42d0-93ec-d9e034a504b6-jpg

    Once cut with the dovetail, it was proud, but did have a decent lock:
    First-timer Archtop Build-55db102f-11b6-4e53-90fc-f7ae7df4ef1c-jpg

    I assumed the tenon bottomed our and trimmed the tip of the tenon. This helped it drop a bit further in:
    First-timer Archtop Build-c3663716-73d8-48d0-8313-5828dba28f39-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-11529dbf-1655-45e6-98ed-05e2caef4438-jpg

    I then used a file and tried to narrow the sides and tip, keeping the file at the 7° dovetail angle:
    First-timer Archtop Build-9abc43aa-5f83-40b5-8083-f915d8899171-jpg

    After refining this a bit:
    First-timer Archtop Build-3ca6a154-602b-463d-ba0a-8e2f04f0aafe-jpg

    And eventually ended up here:
    First-timer Archtop Build-c886efdd-7444-456f-83df-c96aa131feb2-jpg

    I must not have done accurate filing because the dovetail became much weaker and slipped out towards the tip of the tenon.

    At the end of day 2, I was glad to get closer to a locked joint. Being that the 5/8” rabbet needed to be cut, I felt the tenon would end up being pretty short. I still felt a bit lost as to the best method to get this mysterious joint where its supposed to be in the end.

  21. #170

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    This brings us to real time (12/1).

    I decided to go back and watch the O’Brien jig use video- and this helped. At this point, I also realized I didn’t want the dovetail flush with the body, because we needed to add the neck extension.

    After some more banter, I decided to try a real dry run. I would first cut the mortise to my desired length 2-1/4” using the original, abandoned full neck blank and planned to cut the tenon to 3/4” and the mortise to a depth of just greater than 3/4” - I would do all fit adjustments to the tenon.

    Started by cutting the mortise into a piece (acting as the guitar body) just a hair wider than 2-1/4”, which ended up being a blessing in disguise! Explanation forthcoming.

    First, I measured and set the template for the LENGTH to 1/8” beyond 2-1/4”- this is because it cuts 1/8” short due to the guide bushing. Then set the router DEPTH stop to hit just beyond 3/4” on the “body” piece, and took multiple 1/8” passes with the 3/8” straight bit until down to bottom. I then set the template at the max on the neck blank (remember stopping 1/8” short this time, because the guide bushing cuts long on the tenon template). Using the same bit, set depth stop to exactly 3/4” and cut in multiple 1/8” passes until it was finished.

    Then switched to the dovetail bit and plunged down and set the depth to hold at level of the previous cuts. The cuts with the dovetail bit have to be cut in only 1 pass. End result:
    First-timer Archtop Build-ff31ec3e-b2ee-4993-b104-8c54c9134196-jpg

    First look at fit was really promising! Tight lock fit, shoulders pretty tight, but was quite prominent. This is fine because I was going to adjust the tenon:
    First-timer Archtop Build-1ede29f4-0464-459f-9bb2-00646dc87514-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-e07b7fb0-2e09-44dd-a614-47844e8d4e29-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-e3135245-8a77-451e-a697-994aa037d99d-jpg

    To adjust the tenon (make it a bit more narrow to sit lower), you move the template up (toward the top, or wider part of the tenon). Taking it ~1/8” at a time, it sort of correlates to the tenon moving ~1/8” down:
    First-timer Archtop Build-609e1155-8ed7-42ab-8d1c-d8ec42d23fd2-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-b3867861-bb81-4743-abdf-5d59cf1d0f72-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-1fd6d75b-3a2d-4dfb-acc6-2c47cf95a00a-jpg

    You can see each pic of tenon gets successfully shorter as I move the template up and re-route with the dovetail bit in 1 pass.

    I mentioned above about the blessing in disguise- see below:
    First-timer Archtop Build-d6b85155-3058-4016-adb4-aaa938c766a8-jpg

    I happened to use a practice scrap just bigger than my goal length of dovetail. This created 2 teaching points:

    1. If you don’t leave yourself enough room before the end of the neck block when planning your dovetail, you’ll risk ending up blowing out a hole in your back plate. This is because of the nature of the dovetail bit being angled, in my case 7°. Straight bits cut straight, so no problem. The dovetail cuts wider than the 3/8” straight bit!

    The other teaching point was almost nonexistent. It presented itself by a hair- the fact the dovetail bit does cut wider allowed only a sliver of a blowout. But the blowout allowed a window into the internal anatomy of the joint, typically unseen. It shows that this particular joint is close, but not bottomed out in the mortise. Pretty cool, by chance!

    Took me about 4 refinements, which got me to my goal (chose arbitrarily) of 5/8” prominent of the ‘body.’ Photos in following post.

  22. #171

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    I’m very happy with how my practice progressed and the knowledge it’s given me. The practice experience is invaluable.

    I feel that I can now go into the real neck and body, and hopefully get the right fit at the location I need it. I’ll assume I’ll screw up somewhere, but plan not to. Haha

    Hit photo max in last post, but here’s how I tracked my tenon refinement depth as I moved the template:
    First-timer Archtop Build-1ef2e6cf-d937-4a8e-afc1-417e360d9aed-jpg

    Here’s the final fit:
    First-timer Archtop Build-cd41fd70-c631-497d-8d12-2d2dd1f3f53b-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-ed2141af-d92a-4213-9536-006f91a2ccef-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-f2a930fa-3b99-48b2-b65c-b463f0ed1714-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-fdc629a1-1eea-43f0-a7d6-26e6b5e55300-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-1274e382-e6e1-4990-8ad1-0873893bd28f-jpg

    Less nervously looking forward to cutting the real deal.
    Last edited by sbeishline; 12-02-2019 at 08:17 AM.

  23. #172

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    Building a guitar is a bit like building a house: the foundations and rough framing go in relatively quickly and it LOOKS like a house; but the finish carpentry is where the real time is taken.

    Keep at it. You are doing great! When I used to help teach a guitar building class 25 people would start and we would be lucky if 5 fully completed a guitar. Such a shame! The worst sounding and playing guitar is the one in parts sitting in a box in your garage.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Preach!

    Thanks, Rhett. Words of wisdom- much appreciated.

    Is there an ideal amount of protrusion of the dovetail I should aim for if the neck extension will be 5/8”?

  24. #173

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    What happened with the template that was marked LMI M&T for cutting a straight sided mortise and tenon?

  25. #174

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbeishline
    Preach!

    Thanks, Rhett. Words of wisdom- much appreciated.

    Is there an ideal amount of protrusion of the dovetail I should aim for if the neck extension will be 5/8”?
    It depends on your neck angle. Place a straight edge on the neck. It should fall 3/4” above the soundboard at the bridge. Unlike a traditional guitar, you have some wiggle room, but 3/4” +/- 1/8” is just about right. That should give you about 1/2” — 5/8” of protrusion. But what matters is what is happening at the bridge.

    Your heel is long enough to reach the bottom of you rims, right?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  26. #175

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman
    What happened with the template that was marked LMI M&T for cutting a straight sided mortise and tenon?
    Still a possibility. Steve (shop owner) suggested trying the more difficult/stronger joint to start practicing and see how it went. So far, I feel like the tapered may be doable.

    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    It depends on your neck angle. Place a straight edge on the neck. It should fall 3/4” above the soundboard at the bridge. Unlike a traditional guitar, you have some wiggle room, but 3/4” +/- 1/8” is just about right. That should give you about 1/2” — 5/8” of protrusion. But what matters is what is happening at the bridge.

    Your heel is long enough to reach the bottom of you rims, right?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    I decided on a 4deg neck angle- slightly flatter than the Benedetto in the book. Re: heel reaching bottom of rims.. not sure exactly what you mean. I chose 2-1/4", a bit short of the bottom of the rim so I wouldn't cut too far into the back. I figured a heel cap would get me close to the back plate. Is that what you mean?

  27. #176

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbeishline
    Still a possibility. Steve (shop owner) suggested trying the more difficult/stronger joint .


    More difficult, yes. What makes it any stronger?

  28. #177

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman
    More difficult, yes. What makes it any stronger?
    Good question! I just work here.

    How does the protrusion amount work for the straight joint?

  29. #178

    User Info Menu

    I am not exactly sure how to set the bridge height with a tapered mortise. With less neck angle 4% the bridge will be a bit lower than with a 4.5% angle with the 15" body it is a bit difficult to predict.
    You are going to have to check your neck angle before adding your extension.
    With a straight walled mortice and tenon I always set the neck/bridge height with the fingerboard extension glued in place and the fingerboard fretted bound and attached to the neck. As long as the mortise is long enough the neck depth is set by where the underside of the neck extension meets the top plate. In order to set the neck deeper you remove wood from this area until your story pole indicates your desired bridge height of about 1".

    I cut my tenon 1/2 "tall to fit in a mortise cut 9/16" deep the mortise is deeper than the tenon to alow for glue squeeze out and for access to the joint for disasembly.

  30. #179

    User Info Menu

    A tapered mortise’s advantage is it is always tight. A straight sliding mortise will be too tight until it is just right... or you go to far and ruin it.

    On a tapered mortise you sneak up on it. You are not intended to ever bottom the tenon in the mortise. You start with the tenon too big which will mean it only slides in half way. You continue to shave it (or move the template back in the case of the O’Brien jig) and it will sit deeper and deeper in the mortise until you have it where you want it.

    The comment about the heel being long enough is because that has happened to a friend of mine ;-)

    I planned on 1/2” of fingerboard extension, 3” of body depth, less 1/4” of binding. In theory the bottom of the heel will line up perfectly with the top of the binding. A matching heel cap creates a seamless line from binding to heel cap. So 3-1/4” from bottom of fretboard to bottom of heal, right?

    Turns out that fitting the tapered mortise to my neck angle (I use 5°) and making sure I had a least 3/4” above the top at the bride meant on this particular guitar with this particular carved top that I needed the neck to be a little bit prouder than 1/2”. With that my heel wasn’t tall enough to reach the top of the binding. I hadn’t given myself any margin for error.

    That neck blank ended up in my bucket of shame (which now is three large Home Depot storage totes full of “learning opportunities”). I now make sure I have 3-3/4” of heel so I can trim off the excess.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  31. #180

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    A tapered mortise’s advantage is it is always tight. A straight sliding mortise will be too tight until it is just right... or you go to far and ruin it.

    On a tapered mortise you sneak up on it. You are not intended to ever bottom the tenon in the mortise. You start with the tenon too big which will mean it only slides in half way. You continue to shave it (or move the template back in the case of the O’Brien jig) and it will sit deeper and deeper in the mortise until you have it where you want it.

    The comment about the heel being long enough is because that has happened to a friend of mine ;-)

    I planned on 1/2” of fingerboard extension, 3” of body depth, less 1/4” of binding. In theory the bottom of the heel will line up perfectly with the top of the binding. A matching heel cap creates a seamless line from binding to heel cap. So 3-1/4” from bottom of fretboard to bottom of heal, right?

    Turns out that fitting the tapered mortise to my neck angle (I use 5°) and making sure I had a least 3/4” above the top at the bride meant on this particular guitar with this particular carved top that I needed the neck to be a little bit prouder than 1/2”. With that my heel wasn’t tall enough to reach the top of the binding. I hadn’t given myself any margin for error.

    That neck blank ended up in my bucket of shame (which now is three large Home Depot storage totes full of “learning opportunities”). I now make sure I have 3-3/4” of heel so I can trim off the excess.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    How is the underside of the fingerboard extension fitted to the top of the guitar?

  32. #181

    User Info Menu

    The ledge is cut after the mortise. Fit the neck and mark where the top meets the neck. Cut the rabbet there. I thickness the extension to match what I need and refine with a hand plane. Carving the mating part that follows the top contour I do with chalk and a rasp, but that’s the same regardless of the type of tenon.

    At least that’s how I’ve always done it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  33. #182

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    The ledge is cut after the mortise. Fit the neck and mark where the top meets the neck. Cut the rabbet there. I thickness the extension to match what I need and refine with a hand plane. Carving the mating part that follows the top contour I do with chalk and a rasp, but that’s the same regardless of the type of tenon.

    At least that’s how I’ve always done it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Thanks, rlrhett. I was not sure if your neck was completely assembled, carved and fretted when it is fitted. I was thinking of my f-style mandolin method of neck attachment where the neck is glued in first then the addition of the fingerboard extension with the bound and fretted fingerboard to follow.
    Last edited by Matt Cushman; 12-03-2019 at 09:43 AM.

  34. #183

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    The ledge is cut after the mortise. Fit the neck and mark where the top meets the neck. Cut the rabbet there. I thickness the extension to match what I need and refine with a hand plane. Carving the mating part that follows the top contour I do with chalk and a rasp, but that’s the same regardless of the type of tenon.

    At least that’s how I’ve always done it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman
    I am not exactly sure how to set the bridge height with a tapered mortise. With less neck angle 4% the bridge will be a bit lower than with a 4.5% angle with the 15" body it is a bit difficult to predict.
    You are going to have to check your neck angle before adding your extension.
    With a straight walled mortice and tenon I always set the neck/bridge height with the fingerboard extension glued in place and the fingerboard fretted bound and attached to the neck. As long as the mortise is long enough the neck depth is set by where the underside of the neck extension meets the top plate. In order to set the neck deeper you remove wood from this area until your story pole indicates your desired bridge height of about 1".

    I cut my tenon 1/2 "tall to fit in a mortise cut 9/16" deep the mortise is deeper than the tenon to alow for glue squeeze out and for access to the joint for disasembly.
    I'm thinking a good place to start will be cutting the mortise in the body. Then, I'll cut the tenon a little extra fat - enough to get the neck on the body and see where I stand with the straight edge to get an idea of bridge level. Then decide what protrusion height I'll need for the extension to get myself to around the 3/4"-1" bridge height, before cutting the rabbet edge, right? How do you guys cut that at the appropriate neck angle?

    Rhett, if going with the dovetail, I'm also still a bit unclear of how I'll get the neck extension contour and dovetail to get into the right position.

  35. #184

    User Info Menu

    I don’t want to add to your confusion. I’m afraid I’ve muddied the waters rather than help.

    A couple of clarifications: Both style tenons are dovetail. One is straight sliding dovetail and the other is tapered. Also, remember you are measuring the height above the bridge without fingerboard or frets. That will add 1/4”. Keep it at about 3/4” for now, or you might end up with a very tall bridge.

    The way I do it is just as you describe. Cut the mortise in the body first. Robbie O’Brien cuts his so that the bottom of the mortise is about 1/2” from the edge, and that seems about right to me. Then cut the tenon.

    Deliberately leave it a bit fat by pushing the template down. Fit the neck to the body. It should cinch tight, but will be well proud of where you need it. Take it back to the jig, move the template up a smidge, and rout away a little more. Re-fit the neck.

    It should only take a couple of tries before a straight edge tells you that when tightly fitted you have a 3/4” gap at the bride location.

    When satisfied, take a pencil and mark where the top meets the neck. Mark out a rabbet using a pencil and appropriate squares, straight edge etc. Using a hand saw, I then cut out the rabbet (parallel and perpendicular to the fretboard plane.) Use chisels and/or a rabbeting plane to cut this as cleanly as possible and fit an appropriately sized extension. They need to mate PERFECTLY. There is nothing more annoying than to look down as you are playing to see an ugly joint here!

    Now the neck won’t sit tight in the body with the extension. Use a pencil and spacer and scribe the extension on both side, like you did to fit the braces to the top. Only about half the extension needs to mate to the top, the rest gracefully arches up away from the top. Refine the fit with chalk, CC paper, or whatever until the neck sits tight again and about half of the extension is mated to the top.

    See how much time is spent in finished carpentry. This is just for the silly extension. :-)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  36. #185

    User Info Menu

    You should make yourself a story pole, set up for setting your bridge height. You need a straight stick the same length as your scale length with a small block that has been cut to the same height as the desired bridge height attached to one end. This will act as your straight edge so be sure it is straight and strong. You are going to be using a straight edge repeatedly and the story pole is fast with less chance for a measuring error.
    Last edited by Matt Cushman; 12-04-2019 at 12:11 PM.

  37. #186

    User Info Menu

    The joint for the neck to neck extension is easy to see on the finished guitar. So this joint must be square to look it's best. Some kind of router set up is best for cutting clean and square joints like this one. I use a mill but a router table or something like Benedetto uses in his book is a good way to go. My hat is off to rlrhett cutting this with a saw, chisel and plane.

  38. #187

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman
    The joint for the neck to neck extension is easy to see on the finished guitar. So this joint must be square to look it's best. Some kind of router set up is best for cutting clean and square joints like this one. I use a mill but a router table or something like Benedetto uses in his book is a good way to go. My hat is off to rlrhett cutting this with a saw, chisel and plane.
    Amen to those skills.

    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    I don’t want to add to your confusion. I’m afraid I’ve muddied the waters rather than help.

    A couple of clarifications: Both style tenons are dovetail. One is straight sliding dovetail and the other is tapered. Also, remember you are measuring the height above the bridge without fingerboard or frets. That will add 1/4”. Keep it at about 3/4” for now, or you might end up with a very tall bridge.

    The way I do it is just as you describe. Cut the mortise in the body first. Robbie O’Brien cuts his so that the bottom of the mortise is about 1/2” from the edge, and that seems about right to me. Then cut the tenon.

    Deliberately leave it a bit fat by pushing the template down. Fit the neck to the body. It should cinch tight, but will be well proud of where you need it. Take it back to the jig, move the template up a smidge, and rout away a little more. Re-fit the neck.

    It should only take a couple of tries before a straight edge tells you that when tightly fitted you have a 3/4” gap at the bride location.

    When satisfied, take a pencil and mark where the top meets the neck. Mark out a rabbet using a pencil and appropriate squares, straight edge etc. Using a hand saw, I then cut out the rabbet (parallel and perpendicular to the fretboard plane.) Use chisels and/or a rabbeting plane to cut this as cleanly as possible and fit an appropriately sized extension. They need to mate PERFECTLY. There is nothing more annoying than to look down as you are playing to see an ugly joint here!

    Now the neck won’t sit tight in the body with the extension. Use a pencil and spacer and scribe the extension on both side, like you did to fit the braces to the top. Only about half the extension needs to mate to the top, the rest gracefully arches up away from the top. Refine the fit with chalk, CC paper, or whatever until the neck sits tight again and about half of the extension is mated to the top.

    See how much time is spent in finished carpentry. This is just for the silly extension. :-)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman
    You should make yourself a story pole, set up for setting your bridge height. You need a straight stick the same length as your scale length with a small block that has been cut to the same height as the desired bridge height attached to one end. This will act as your straight edge so be sure it is straight and strong. You are going to be using a straight edge repeatedly and the story pole is fast with less chance for a measuring error.
    Thanks, men. For some reason, I had thought that the rabbet needed to be cut at the 4degree angle as was the neck/dovetail angle, but I went back and re-read Rhett’s explanation that clearly stated parallel and perpendicular to fretboard surface. That being said, I’ll probably cut it on the router table to make things easier.

    Next step, I’ll make the story pole. Then get to the mortise.

  39. #188

    User Info Menu

    As Matt and Rhett suggested, having a story stick will be necessary.

    Last night, I milled a piece of leftover 2 x 4 on all 4 sides. I marked the midline on both edges of the stick and measured the distance of my scale length (24.75”) and marked it in those spots.

    I then used a Festool domino mortiser depth set to 25mm one one side and 20mm on the opposite side. Using a 50mm domino, I malleted it down until it protruded 1” from the stick. Then, I cut another 50mm domino to 45mm, and tapped in into the 20mm mortise on the opposite side, which ended up protruding 3/4”.

    Being that my fretboard and frets aren’t in place, I will use the 3/4” when sizing the dovetail tenon and planning for cutting the rabbet at the proper height protrusion for the fretboard extension.

    First-timer Archtop Build-0c41f945-b781-4a0c-951e-99822ce25cd6-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-48fa95da-4434-4c0e-bd3f-be60793534b6-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-771fcee7-7238-4914-bc5a-c2c2d33cd7d3-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-9420c95a-bff4-4e0e-87cd-e116b1168f89-jpg

    Here’s a couple pics of it when holding near 15th mark:

    First-timer Archtop Build-77b52705-9da1-4f5d-95c8-ce856d0ed3ac-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-caf899ec-99cf-47de-ac9d-717db233c693-jpg

  40. #189

    User Info Menu

    Using the LN101 hand plane, I planed the top and back edges flush with the sides, so it will sit flush against the top of the jig:
    First-timer Archtop Build-f766028b-8ce8-43db-bdf2-77d534c0b5f6-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-aeb72518-997d-46c8-8264-949601056dcf-jpg

    I slid the body up into the clamp boards on the jig, and I’m not thrilled with the way it fits.

    Firstly, one of the screws for the mortise template hold-downs was too long and hitting the side of the guitar before it was flush. The other screw didn’t affect it because the cutaway is there. I took it out and hacksawed ~1/4” off and that took care of that issue:
    First-timer Archtop Build-84b6dddb-7e89-4f8f-9222-25916f9b75bc-jpg

    Secondly, because of the arching of the top plate, it starts to get snug pushing upwards when there’s still ~1/4” from bring flush with the jig. So, on Saturday when back in the shop, I’ll take a couple hours and either refine the current clamp boards so there’s room for the belly (remove red area) or replace them:
    First-timer Archtop Build-c56c3188-8e17-4f35-bd40-282b9ed22276-jpg
    I also need to make a clamp, maybe with turnbuckles, to clamp the lower bout area. Can always use some ratchet straps.. Hopefully, will get this damn dovetail cut by the end of the shop day.....?

  41. #190

    User Info Menu

    Got into the shop later than I’d planned and started about 3 hours behind schedule.

    Knowing the arch of the body kept the clamp from having ideal contact, I started by taking off the front portion of the jig clamp, marked the lower area I had previously planned, and drilled 2 holes in the corners of the area to be removed and then cut it out on the bandsaw:
    First-timer Archtop Build-92b30974-7852-462b-befb-0854649020fa-jpg

    I reattached the piece with screws and retested the fit with the guitar body. We then realized part of the back plate was preventing a good fit, so I had to take the front off again to remove the back piece, and repeat the same procedure to do the cutout:
    First-timer Archtop Build-35126b7d-7349-4275-8222-ad6a67a06e2d-jpg

    After reassembling, I inserted the body and it had a much better fit in the clamp. We got out the back plate clamping caul and contemplated using it against the back of the jig (a la Cushman), but it didn’t fit. Steve came up with the idea to put the sawhorses under with some blocks stacked underneath and padded with a towel to support from the bottom. We then used a ratcheting strap clamp around the guitar waist to hold it in place:
    First-timer Archtop Build-cc82e811-dc51-435e-8356-6add71422893-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-483e2b4c-e307-4951-bf99-f966ea3369f9-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-b6b5440d-eea4-4a31-a8f1-8646f85c7c80-jpg

    I tried to make sure it was flush with the top of the jig and using a centerline I had marked on the guitar body, I spent a decent amount eyeballing to make sure things looked aligned from the front. I realized there was so many planes this could be off and accepted I couldn’t really do much else except request some luck from the universe. Haha I decided to stop dragging my feet and make some sawdust. Every blog I’ve read, everyone always hesitates at this stage and are nervous because it can ruin all the time and effort put into the body, me included. I resigned myself to learning to adjust with shims or what have you when something ends up wrong.

    I decided to make several passes at 1/16” each to minimize stress on the body and any chance of movement. Straight bit loaded, here’s after my first pass:
    First-timer Archtop Build-ad6bff3f-4970-420a-8050-f09f5ee51ca2-jpg

    And here’s after I got to goal depth of 3/4” with the straight bit:
    First-timer Archtop Build-75b1524c-f66e-4221-84d8-d69c1e32267f-jpg

    I then used the centering bit to ensure the guide bushing was centered and changed to the dovetail bit. I then set the bit to the full depth and made the pass:
    First-timer Archtop Build-e08c57e9-d2ac-4466-b1e0-3d6da1b31dce-jpg

    Was anxious to take the body out and see how it looked.. see next post for images (hit upload max).

  42. #191

    User Info Menu

    Took the body out of the jig and had a gander:
    First-timer Archtop Build-6f8c3ad7-fa7e-481f-a2d2-69b5c1881ef8-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-2a5c982e-259a-4b14-8d3e-07e41d7026f6-jpg

    Having not cut the dovetail tenon, I needed to forge ahead to see how things turned out.

    So, I turned the jig around, clamped it to the workbench, and placed the neck in. I reinstalled the threaded rod (had to remove for the mortise as it was in the way) and reset the jig angle to 4°. I changed back to the straight bit, set the template to start with the tenon oversized, and started to take the 1/16” passes. Here’s a clip of the neck routing process:


    Once I got down to about 1/16” short of 3/4”, changed to the dovetail bit, and ran it at full depth, I took at look at the neck and realized I made a mistake. I had cut the neck, marked the 15th fret location and dovetail end, but never cut the 1/4” extra distance I had on the end:
    First-timer Archtop Build-d87af007-3dda-413a-9724-05c962a8f9f5-jpg

    No remedy this, I set the table saw cross cut sled to 4°, set the 4” double-square to the distance to wrap around the mark, and took tiny incremental passes till I got it to the line:
    First-timer Archtop Build-94157a07-19fa-4937-85e4-1456b634047b-jpg

    Because of this mishap, I needed to go back to the straight bit to reform the rest of the tenon, and again finish with the dovetail bit at the full depth. I then started the process of fitting the tenon by moving the template upwards and taking a pass with the dovetail bit. Each time, I would check the protrusion and I stopped when it got to 5/8”. Here are some pics of the story pole at the 5/8” protrusion:
    First-timer Archtop Build-40749a8c-3139-4cc8-ad46-693f7b75301b-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-fe0087a4-f878-42a2-8753-f1658545adcf-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-c3c0cc79-b476-40f7-94fa-9b3a64352be4-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-0ea1ce14-20a1-4953-a431-a695154f1965-jpg

    As you can see, it’s close, but not touching the top plate. I stopped at this point, but prolly need to take a little more off to get to 1/2” protrusion to get it to the top. Is this a good idea?

  43. #192

    User Info Menu

    I was so curious to see how the alignment came out. I came up with the idea of putting an extra jig spline into the slot and see how it lined up:
    First-timer Archtop Build-b7cac280-0d28-4a8d-babf-e4c9d566499a-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-b657f791-4334-4221-a509-6529ae644c92-jpg

    Not bad!

    Here’s the view of the fit from the sides:
    First-timer Archtop Build-4c22e376-b69d-4914-b3be-1bfc9f77391a-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-70668bca-6d21-429a-ab34-e9a5378b68a0-jpg

    I think I came up a bit short on the heel, but I’ll use an end cap that gets me to the start of the back plate and have a small step:
    First-timer Archtop Build-91864c51-ba78-4744-8303-a8a203707cdf-jpg

    Had to take this one:
    First-timer Archtop Build-fc3853f9-bef9-49d8-a107-7dfee4cc3cc0-jpg

    I welcome any commentary and/or direction from the gallery!

  44. #193

    User Info Menu

    She's looking good

    No one thinks about it much but this joint is one of the more difficult to get correct.
    The neck body joint must be right to stay put through the years of tension.
    Now your all set up so that any future builds will be much easier for you.

  45. #194

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman
    She's looking good

    No one thinks about it much but this joint is one of the more difficult to get correct.
    The neck body joint must be right to stay put through the years of tension.
    Now your all set up so that any future builds will be much easier for you.
    Thx Matt! Appreciate all of your guidance.

    Onto the neck extension and fret board work. I still haven't finalized any head stock shape on cardboard yet..

  46. #195

    User Info Menu

    I wasn’t thrilled with the position of the story pole at the 3/4” protrusion as it was still approx. 3/16” from touching the top at the bridge. I took another pass with the router and brought the protrusion for the neck extension to just over 1/2” (that got the story pole touching the top at 3/4” above):
    First-timer Archtop Build-d7454901-fa77-4970-aaca-40ed2a64aa73-jpg

    Next, I used a pencil and marked across the dovetail at the level where it met the top plate. I then placed a piece of masking tape along the line and used a Sharpie marker to mark the line, so it would be below the rabbet area to be removed:
    First-timer Archtop Build-9eb45936-116e-41b5-acb7-3a661378d393-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-84e3925a-8fac-47ad-8882-a5106f3751b1-jpg

    I set up the dado blade on the table saw and set the fence so that it’d max the cut at 3/16” for the rabbet joint. I ensured the cross cut miter fence was set to 90° and made the passes in cutting the rabbet:

    First-timer Archtop Build-6f3c53b9-ccb3-4113-ab87-154c63a23c27-jpg

    Overall, I think the cut came out pretty good:
    First-timer Archtop Build-9d708b4f-0ce5-40e1-ba6e-185a88258ea1-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-9c81e072-b7a3-4ada-abea-2ebd42c14f57-jpg

    As you can see, the extension will measure about 1/32” thicker than 1/2”:
    First-timer Archtop Build-32af9dcc-59fb-4ef1-a7ab-86489636279f-jpg

    I guess this is a tad thinner than 5/8” instructed in Benedetto book. I figured the bridge height/break over angle trumped the thickness of the extension?

    Here’s a view of the dovetail in the mortise:
    First-timer Archtop Build-a22fc905-0ba7-45a9-aa7d-77a115f9b324-jpg

    Not a bad session!
    Last edited by sbeishline; 12-22-2019 at 01:07 AM.

  47. #196

    User Info Menu

    At the end of that previous post’s session, I milled up a piece of mahogany for the neck extension 17/32” thick (to be flush with the neck blank surface) x 3” x 5”. Definitely feels like I’ve made some visible progress when I see this pic:
    First-timer Archtop Build-1bf992fc-4771-4a3f-a684-f04d1d826f44-jpg

    Other views:
    First-timer Archtop Build-ab0a3f30-af3e-48d8-b808-c1c0dcd2ce88-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-16432888-a7f1-4f32-add5-5c058ab8d05b-jpg

    Earlier this week, I took some time to get out the LN plane and further refine the violin-style edges to about 1/8”- hand tools don’t reach the waist curves or cutaway, so I’ll need to do those on the spindle sander. I plan to finalize those by hand:
    First-timer Archtop Build-4b4d569c-f13d-4e38-b46c-9dfaaf325617-jpg

  48. #197

    User Info Menu

    Been a bit since I touched the fretboard, but it was time to proceed. I had initially planned to leave the fretboard unbound, but changed my tune on that for cosmetic purposes. I have been contemplating the best order of operations between tapering/radiusing/binding/fret installation/gluing to neck. I decided to first taper the fretboard. Because I didn’t like the idea of doing the work of radiusing to shape and then gluing on a bigger binding piece and having to risk over sanding the binding edge angle, I made the call to bind before radiusing.

    I like the width of my Godin Flat Five X, so I measured the fretboard width at the 5th (1.860”), 12th, and 14th frets.. I won’t bore you with the numbers. So, I first started by using a white chalk pencil to mark the centerline. I then spent time doing a bunch of math (half of widths, converting to closest decimal for marking with ruler, etc). Then I used a straight edge to do my best to closely mark the edge lines. For being precise work, it’s really hard! The thickness of the pencil even plays a part in making things challenging!:
    First-timer Archtop Build-0e478120-f3f2-4076-be83-fb2e47dc238a-jpg

    I set the fretboard on the tapering jig and ran a practice piece cut to see how it would line up with the actual line. Came out acceptable and decided to proceed:
    First-timer Archtop Build-5bf6f026-f3c3-407d-b511-8dfbd6e6b89c-jpg

    Well, I had the fretboard re-loaded, saw on and ready to cut, when it struck me... I hadn’t factored in the thickness of the binding!!!!

    So, I turned the saw off and flipped the fretboard over to re-mark. I wrapped the fret locations around, did more math, and remarked less 3/16” (3/32” binding strips):
    First-timer Archtop Build-42af489c-1ba0-45a3-b90f-0ec464e458a1-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-3c8f260c-557f-4e36-829d-1d77db417256-jpg

    I reloaded the fretboard in the jig:
    First-timer Archtop Build-bfaa6d07-200f-4159-b0bc-e26ee594fd63-jpg

    I had to adjust the jig after making one of the cuts to take a little more off, but overall it came out pretty good. The post-taper-prebinding 5th fret measure came out a hair wide (1.704” instead of 1.6725).
    First-timer Archtop Build-8734cdce-cb28-4d20-a81f-6d7f5a7dabcd-jpg

    Another experience where I appreciate the skill of pro luthiers..

  49. #198

    User Info Menu

    When I initially milled the fretboard, I had milled a second blank at that time to the exact same dimensions. This helped, because I was able to cut ebony pieces for the binding that were exactly the same height.

    I wasn’t aware of this, but my buddy Steve had just bought a jig for cutting thin strips. As long as the piece is parallel, this allows an accurate strip to be cut using the outside cut off the table saw:
    First-timer Archtop Build-b09e85a6-f407-4a9c-9adb-50d644b059b7-jpg

    I set the distance using a 3/32” set-up block, set it tight where it made it push the blade a tad to make up for my wide taper, and had at it:
    First-timer Archtop Build-ae73f01f-a5a2-4b15-a8bd-a8eba731f70e-jpg

    Strips came out well!
    First-timer Archtop Build-c0c6f8da-8c50-46c5-917e-0ea29cf63b66-jpg

    Here’s a dry fit:
    First-timer Archtop Build-e4717e35-a7ad-4c14-a456-c4e1192b7435-jpg

    I cut some 1/2” plywood to use as calls, set up some clamps, and put a minimal amount of hide glue (just enough to coat the binding piece - so it minimized risk for squeeze out into the fret slot):
    First-timer Archtop Build-32ff8c02-6912-43a4-b273-5a3b6f1cf5af-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-da9856a1-797a-42f2-8097-e5d3b06ed350-jpg

    She’ll be in clamps till tomorrow!

  50. #199

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    The first neck extension blank was a bit lighter in tone, so before doing the fretboard work today, I quickly milled up another scrap that was slightly closer in tone (although still lighter).

    In my thoughts about glues, I decided to use TBII PVA glue for the neck extension rabbet joint. I figured that if I ever had to steam apart the dovetail, the nearby neck extension wouldn’t be weakened.

    I applied the glue:
    First-timer Archtop Build-24fdb966-d6e0-40fd-8fa5-c1427e368291-jpg

    And used this setup:
    First-timer Archtop Build-760d1e67-49eb-4e52-a7bc-3cf4001d5c09-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-c736372c-2745-4d6a-af3b-0492090c413b-jpg

    The neck blank was set on a piece of wax paper (so it wouldn’t get glued to plywood) on top of some 1/2” plywood. The blank was held down by a Bessey clamp and once the extension blank was centered, we tightened the heel clamp over top. We used some blocks clamped tight by bench dog in the vice to ensure the extension blank was pushed into the rabbet. Here she stands and she’ll rest in the clamp overnight as well!


  51. #200

    User Info Menu

    The dado appears to have left some noticeable ridges. Did you clean that up before the glue up?


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