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Question about neck & tail blocks
Author
Post
Mystic6

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 6
My LMI dreadnought kit arrived last week. The sides are in my mold and the top & back are stickered to keep them flat while I patiently wait for everything to acclimate to my shop. I have been rereading Bill's book Building Martin-Style Acoustic Guitar Kits and I've come across a question concerning how to position the neck and tail blocks when I glue them in. On page 20, in the middle there is a note about leaving both blocks 1/32" proud so that the proper radius can be sanded into them. But then at the bottom of the page it says when gluing the neck block "it does not need to be proud of the rim". So should I leave it proud by 1/32" or not? My kit has the bolt-on neck, if it makes any difference.

Thanks in advance, I'm sure this will be the first of many questions to come as I begin my first acoustic build project.

Mark

Dec 15, 09 | 5:03 pm
dviss

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 165
I think we need to know what kit you purchased: are the sides profiled already?

Dec 16, 09 | 4:20 am
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Mark, I haven't read Bill's book, but he will likely chime in shortly. Let's assume the sides are profiled. The back will have a 15' or similar radius to it. In my opinion, you need to keep both the neck and tail blocks a touch proud so when you sand your radius on the back, the blocks will be radiused as well. That radiusing will take the outer edges of the blocks down even with the rims while leaving the inner edges of the blocks a little higher. The goal is to have a nice smooth radius to the back with no dip or hump where it is glued onto the neck and tail blocks.

Perhaps Bill is referring to not keeping the neck block proud on the front of the guitar as opposed to the back. I usually shim my neck blocks by about the width of a quarter or nickel so when I slope the front of the rims to match the neck angle, I am not removing too much of the neck block.

Ken

Dec 16, 09 | 4:54 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Mark -- Hmmm. Well -- egad -- It is the new version that has the contradiction. I will need to clarify that.

You have the current versionof th ebook; when you look on page 20, you will see what you have in print.

The reference is to the neck block only; it doesn't need to be proud of the rim. I will remove the confusing reference.

Again -- sorry for the confusion! Thank you -- that was a good catch; I will correct it immediately.


Bill

Dec 16, 09 | 5:17 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Mark -- a further bit of info. I've just reread our original post.

The LMI kit is different from Martin and Martin-style kits.

Though most of the general principles are the same, in the area of the neck geometry, you should follow the instructions for the LMI kits.

I think Dave Painter, a first-time builder, has put a photo instruction on the web of his building of an LMI dreadnought. LMI endorses it. Here is the link:

http://www.lmii.com/CartTwo/DaveKit/dave/LMIKitBuild.htm

Thanks again -
Bill


Dec 16, 09 | 5:42 am
Mystic6

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 6
Thanks Bill & everyone! I have seen the Dave Painter site, he doesn't mention it at all. I will have to look at the LMI plans and make some careful measurements before deciding what to do. My main concern is that if I set the neck block to high the bolt holes won't line up if I have to do some work to get the neck down far enough later.

Dec 16, 09 | 3:54 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Mark -- you can easily elongate the bolt holes in the neck block so that you can move the neck up and down. I had to do that with the LMI kit I'm working on right now.

Bill

Dec 16, 09 | 3:59 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
Mark,
I built the LMI dred serviced kit. The sides in your LMI dred kit are not yet sized for the depth/profile of the guitar body, nor are they cut to the final length. Also, your end blocks are not cut to their final length. You have to determine what those dimensions are from the plans, and then cut them down allowing for the extra length to accomodate the radius you will be putting on them. Did you not order Robbie O'briens DVD with your kit? He has a good explanation of how to do this. To start, you can determine which surface of your sides will be the top, and glue the blocks in proud of that surface. You will then bring the other surface (which will be your back) of the sides down to the proper height/profile sanding the radius onto this end of the tail and neck blocks along with the side radius once you've installed your kerfing.

I actually cut my end blocks down to length and put the radius on them before glueing them in. That worked well for me.

Bill.....can you help explain this in clearer language?

Kevin

Dec 16, 09 | 6:51 pm
DanB

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 272
Do you have radius dishes? As far as I know the block is fairly forgiving as long as it's straight and centered for your neck joint.

If you have radius dishes it you should be easy enough to get the correct slope on the blocks even if they are a bit proud or short of the rim. Like I saw above, you can elongate those holes for the bolt to accommodate any misfits with your bolt lining up.

If anything though, if you have radius dishes, I think slightly proud would be less sanding than if you were flush or short of the side. It'd take less time to take the proud block down to the correct slope and flush with the side, than it would be to take the entire side down to make get the radius you need in the block.

Although, if your blocks are preradiused on the top and backside, then you can just make it flush, and the side touching your sides should be the low side, and it should slope upwards to match the radius of your back or top.

Dan

Dec 16, 09 | 8:51 pm
Mystic6

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 6
Kevin,
I haven't measured the sides and blocks yet to compare to the plans, but I do know that the sides are not as wide at the neck end as the tail end. Before I do anything with them I will measure everything. I will leave the blocks proud and then radius them. If I have to elongate the holes in the neck block, so be it. I do have Robbie O'Brien's DVD.

Dan,
I do have radius dishes.

Dec 17, 09 | 8:13 am
Mystic6

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 6
Ok, here are some more specifics. I can see that I am going to need to work in metric for this stuff.

My plans call for the guitar body to be 98/100mm at the neck incl. the top & back, and 121/124mm at the tail, also inclusive. The top is spec'd at 2.8mm thick and the back 2.4mm.
My sides as arrived from LMI are 103mm at the neck and 125mm at the tail. So from that I calculate that my sides need to be trimmed about 8.2mm at the neck and 6.2mm at the tail. That doesn't sound like much to me, should I leave that to allow for radius sanding?

My tail block is 128mm tall, so it doesn't need much trimming either. A little less than 9mm.
My neck block is 107mm, so that looks like about 12.2mm larger than needed. That's probably more than I want to leave for sanding? When I place the neck tenon in the mortise, the block sits above the top of the neck by approx. 1.5mm. Am I right in thinking that that is about how much I should leave the block above the finished dimension of the side to allow for the radiusing? So I should be trimming the block on the bottom side?

Dec 17, 09 | 5:00 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
Mark,
Is there a label on the neck block telling you to cut the top of the block down the thickness of your top to allow for the neck once in the mortise to be flush with the top?

Kevin

Dec 17, 09 | 6:53 pm
Mystic6

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 6
Yes. So I marked the block where the neck met it, then measured down the thickness of the top, and trimmed the top of the block. I will then cut the block to just over it's final height prior to gluing in. I already cut the tail block to just over its final height. When I glue them in I will glue the neck block flush to the top of the sides, and the tail block 1/32" proud. Then I will trim/sand the back edge of the sides to the correct width.

Dec 18, 09 | 7:41 pm



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