Summer Uke Build #17: Neck Mortise

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Blog entry by onoitsmatt posted 02-17-2017 09:20 PM 907 reads 1 time favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 16: Cutting Fret Slots Part 17 of Summer Uke Build series Part 18: Fitting the neck »

The last several days of shop time have been pretty much dedicated to building a neck mortise jig. This jig is designed to hold the uke body firmly while routing the neck mortise.

The neck mortise has to be perfectly centered and perfectly perpendicular to the top. I built the front face with cams on both sides to fine-tune the left/right orientation. This ensures the rout runs perpendicular to the top.

When cams are engaged, it flexes a thin piece of particle board that has leather glued to the face.

The back of the clamping mechanism is also faced with leather and has bolts that allow it to slide in and out to clamp the uke body in place.

The top surface has rails on the sides that allow only the width of the router to fit. There is a stop added between the rails that is attached to the rear clamping face (on the underside) to ensure the router stops about 1/2” shy of the back of the uke.

The router sits on the top between the rails with the uke body clamped into place. I took about 3 passes, increasing the depth of the router bit with each pass.

The end result is a decent (not sure yet how decent) mortise to house the neck tenon. Like most things with the first instrument build, you spend about 10 or 15 hours building a jig to spend a minute or two on instrument building. The good news is that this is adjustable enough to do the neck mortise for a guitar as well, so this jig will get reused a few times.

-- Matt - Phoenix, AZ

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