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Nightmare du jour! HELP!!!!!- Dovetail problem

Total Topics: 38
Total Posts: 76
Ok I guess that I'm knee deep again. I have been having a TERRIBLE time with this dovetail joint. I 'm half ready to turn the whole thing into kindling.
If you look at the close up:

You will see my nightmare. there are a number of things going on that are just flat out BAD. What do I do now????

1. The magenta line is the line that should run through the center of the body. the green line is the line that now runs through the cneter. I have tried to fix it but it gets worse. What face to I need to work on to bring it to the center?

2. In my panic to line things up, I slipped and applied a bit too much sanding angle to face "B" (notice the edge rides up from the body and makes a gap) What should I do now?

The good news if any ( I think) is that the top of the neck is flush to the top of the body and the distance on a straightedge is approx 1/8 above the bridge position.

That is my best course of action now? Thanks in advance........ Stuart

Sep 21, 06 | 2:13 pm

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113

Seems to me you need to add a shim at the 'C' side of your dovetail, and sand down the 'D' side to make room for it to shift over. I think this would do it if all you need to do is shift the location of the centerline. If the angle is also off, you'll need to sand the face of whichever wing (A or B) needs to come in.

I had some difficulties with mine and used the approach described above to eventually get everything where it needed to be. I can well relate to the frustration you're experiencing!

For peace of mind, I also added a bolt to the glued dovetail joint. I was assurred by people more knowledgeable than me that I didn't need it, but it was easy to add and as I said left me with peace of mind.

That's my 2 cents based on building one guitar. I'm sure some more experienced forum members will weigh in with possibly better ideas.



Sep 21, 06 | 4:02 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Stuart -- It's not as pretty as it could be, granted, but maybe not as bad as it seems either.

Ed's advice seems to be correct as far as the center line adjustment. Just do it very slowly and don't take too much off at any one time.

The wings of the neck (A and B) do need to have firm contact with the body to keep the alignment secure. I know it would be real pretty, but maybe some sandable, stainable wood filler would help here. The only concern I would have with it might be that it might compress under the pressure of the strings.

If the neck just goes entirely to pot, you can buy another one from Stewmac and start over ... not an attractive option, but at least an option.


Sep 22, 06 | 2:43 pm
Phlytyer (Keith)

Total Topics: 37
Total Posts: 273
Stuart -- If you haven't already, get a copy of either the StewMac Dreadnought or Triple O plans. There are FREE downloadable PDFs of each. Starting on page 23 of the Dread manual (page 22 in the Triple O), there is some excellent information on fitting a dovetail.

IMHO, the green and magenta lines are really not that far apart. What is critical, is a tight, square fit at the neck joint with proper inclination for the 1.5° cant of the finger board. AND the true-ness of the bridge/saddle to the neck.

Note: I have yet to build a kit but having read and re-read the SM manuals, I think one or the other will probably help you.

Sep 22, 06 | 6:24 pm

Total Topics: 38
Total Posts: 76
I messed around with ti a bit and got it to line up OK with a space a bit above 1/16" at the bridge position. should work (hopefully). After gluing in the truss rod ( so the tip of the thread comes to about half way through the brace, I now need to route a channel through the top to allow insertion of the truss rod and still be able to fit the dovetail. i'm a bit concerned that I may have to cut into the outside horizontal brace ( the thin flat one) but I don't see much choice in the matter if I am to make it fit.

Sep 22, 06 | 6:44 pm

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