Summer Uke Build #19: Rough Shaping Neck and Aligning Fingerboard

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Blog entry by onoitsmatt posted 03-03-2017 10:32 PM 1237 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 18: Fitting the neck Part 19 of Summer Uke Build series no next part

Over the last few days I’ve been rough shaping the neck. I’ll spare the details of the scarf joint that puts the headstock at a 15 degree angle as I covered that on the previous neck blank I made.

Here is the new neck with the scarf joint:

Also vaguely visible in that photo is the headstock veneer I glued on. It is just some leftover Padauk that was used for the back and sides. It had already been resawn thin and will match the back and sides so makes a good choice for the headstock veneer.

I also rough tapered the sides of the neck. I will final shape this taper once the fingerboard is installed.

The headstock veneer is a little thick, so will sand it down. But I wanted to drill the tuning peg holes first so if there’s any blow-out from that, I can sand it out. Also the back of the headstock will need to be thinned quite a bit as well, so will do that after drilling the tuning peg holes for the same reason (blow-out).

I drilled holes in the fingerboard for some “dot” inlays to mark fret positions. These will be made from olive wood (I had originally made the soundhole rosette out of this olive wood, but that wound up getting sanded off accidentally). So I will be doing these inlays and a headstock inlay out of olive also will put a little cap on the heel of the neck from the same wood.

I used bradpoint bits for these holes to slice the edges cleanly. After aligning/centering the fingerboard exactly where it will be glued into place, I took advantage of the the tiny holes the brad-point bits made through the back of the fingerboard in the 5th and 12th frets to tap small nails into the neck.

I clipped the heads of the nails off then removed the fingerboard and clipped the nails even shorter so they barely go through the back of the fingerboard.

These will be used to align the fingerboard correctly at glue-up. They will also prevent the fingerboard from sliding around at this critical time.

I rough shaped the headstock and trimmed the bone nut as well and a few other odds and ends.

Here it is in its current state:

Next up (hopefully) will be finishing up the shaping of the neck, cutting and installing the 1/4” inlay dots and then fretting the fingerboard and gluing it on.

*Edited to add*
I have decided to put the Uke build on hold. The intent here was to do a dry run for a guitar build, making my mistakes on cheaper materials and just learning the process and where the mistakes are likely to be made. At this point, I still have a fair amount to do, tapping in the frets, gluing fingerboard to neck, gluing bridge, finishing, dressing the frets, setting it up shaping nut and saddle, etc. etc. But these all seem to be things that would be best done as a practice right before doing them on a guitar build rather than do it today and not do it again for 6 months when the guitars are ready for these same processes. So I’m taking a break and will start on guitars and will be finishing up the uke when the guitars are at this same stage of build. Thanks for reading!

-- Matt - Phoenix, AZ

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