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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:41 am
Posts: 26
Location: Atlanta
Hello,

I am building my first acoustic guitar and struggling with the dovetail neck joint. I am wondering if there is a more experienced builder in metro Atlanta who would be willing to help me?

Thanks,

David Mathis


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:21 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1318
We all have had dovetail issues. It took me over a week to set my first neck.

Just in case you've not seen them, John Hall has a series of 4 videos plus an addendum that may help you on YouTube.
Here's a link to video 1. The rest of the videos should be listed below this one. I hope this helps.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=L3YJh9OT4mw


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:31 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:49 pm
Posts: 10
Ditto to the John Hall videos.
I struggled so badly with my first dovetail joint that In desperation I converted it to bolt-on.
After watching Those videos and learning the method ACE ....Angle....Center....Elevation, the mystery was solved.
Thank you John Hall!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 5:17 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:14 pm
Posts: 944
Watch the videos as a starting point. If you have specific questions, ask away and we will attempt answers.

A couple of general thoughts:
Work on fixing one angle at a time.
You will need to use shims, and there is nothing wrong with that.

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Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:24 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:41 am
Posts: 26
Location: Atlanta
Thanks to all for your replies. John has already helped me with several things with this build (thanks!!). I have watched his videos, which are great, but as I have tried to implement the steps, it was not going well and I felt I must be doing something wrong. I got frustrated and stepped away for a while. I have built three electric guitars this year, but I'm determined to get back to building my 00 14-fret.

I will watch the videos again and get back at it and post specific questions as I go. I appreciate your responsiveness.

David


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:05 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1318
David, I've been there and done that! Building can be as frustrating as it is satisfying. You made a wise decision to step away. I've had my best "eureka" moments at 3am. You've built electric guitars. I've never even played an electric and I'd be absolutely lost if I had to build one. Hang in there. If you have any specific questions about the neck, please ask. Sometimes it's easier to work through each problem separately

Good luck! I'm sure your guitar will turn out great.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:40 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:50 pm
Posts: 2281
Location: Seattle
Without an idea of where you are struggling, I would like to suggest one issue I had that made the process seem impossible. When adjust the cheeks to get the correct pitch and neck angle I was not relieving the area around the tenon. (I did initially). Without the relief the neck would not sit correctly being hung up near the tenon. It is hard to see what is wrong and the correction you think you are making are not having the intended effect.

Later, after doing a few dovetail neck resets, I learned it was really easy to set the neck angles on the heel cheeks with the tenon loose (just like a bolt on mortise and tenon). So even when I do a new neck joint I start with a tenon that can go all the way in the mortice when I set the neck angle. Once the neck angle is set I shim the tenon and proceed to fit the dovetail joint knowing that once the dovetail fits the neck angle is correct.

The last tip is I use chalk while setting the dovetail. I chalk the mortice try to fit and then from the tenon I only remove the chalk (with a thin shaving of wood) with a sharp chisel.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:18 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1318
I've also done what John Parchem suggests. Once I have the angle, I glue thin strips of mahogany to each side of the dovetail to tighten the joint.

My big problem was making that heel sit down, like it's part of the top of the guitar. Even scribe sanding didn't sit it completely down, creating a small gap between the heel and shoulders.

My problem was that material under the heel, close to the dovetail, was a tiny bit taller than the outside. I've learned to check for this first, when there's a gap. I chisel at an angle, so that nothing but the outside of the heel can touch the guitar. The strength of the joint is in the dovetail, not the heel.

I have a couple of resets that I need to do. I'll take closeups to show you what I mean.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:41 am
Posts: 26
Location: Atlanta
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the replies. I will attach some pictures and describe the first issue I am experiencing. When I try to snug the neck into place, whether tapping with a hammer or with a clamp, the neck falls right out instead of staying in place. I am wondering if the point of the "V" on the tenon is bottoming out in the mortise.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

David


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:50 am
Posts: 425
Location: Chadds Ford, PA
Have you chalked the joint to see where you are getting contact?


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