Expletive, expletive dovetail neck joint

Ok, this was tough.  Probably one of the most challenging things I’ve done so far.

The hand cut dove tail neck joint.

Started my making templates to lay out the pieces.

dovetail templates

Marked the mortise on the body first.

mortise marking

Then cut and chiseled it out.

yikes

Other than the trepidation of taking a saw to a newly finished guitar body, this went pretty smoothly.

The neck then has to be cut at a slight angle to match the angle of the top, in this case about 2 degrees.  Then, using the templates, I marked out the tail on the end of the neck. Cutting to these lines at two different angles is a bit tricky, but luckily they are supposed to be cut oversize and trimmed down to fit.

Then the fitting.  This was the difficult part.  Lots of different things to look for and consider before removing material anywhere.  Dovetail needs to slide in tight and (1)the top of the neck must be flush with the body.  (2)The neck has to be flat to the soundboard top and not twisted in either direction.  (3)Neck has to be centered on the joint and the (4)center line from the neck must be aligned to the center line on the body, no angle left to right.  (5)Then the shoulders, where the neck meets the body, must be flat with no gaps underneath.  Shaving something in one spot could very well change what happens in 1 or more of the other critical areas.

checking twist

So, got that, most of it went fine with a bit of thought.  The flat shoulders were my real issue.  Once I got the dovetail in and all the angles right, my shoulders needed to be improved.  Got those touched up and the neck ended up down too far into the body.  Ok, glued veneer to the tail, let it dry, then started fitting all over again.

fitting

 

Finally got it.

neck dovetail

Not the cleanest thing, but I think it will work.  For a first time, it went OK.  I did learn a lot, which I should help on the next ones… make the shoulders perfectly flat first!

 

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