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  1. #151

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    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.




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


    More difficult, yes. What makes it any stronger?

  28. #177

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman View Post
    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

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    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

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    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    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

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    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    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 View Post
    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

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    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. :-)


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  36. #185

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    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.