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jmrentis

Scarf Joint Or Not?

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I don't have a plane. :D

Greg

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Greg, you can use a jointer as long as you don't glue the wings on first.. lol Either that or a big belt sander and then you have to be extra careful as to not get it uneven. I find that a scarf joint won't slide if you clamp at the right locations first before clamping it from other locations. The pressure will force it to slide like GregP said, but if you know how to clamp it properly you'll minimize the slide or even eliminate it altogether.

MaTT V

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I don't have a jointer, either. <chuckle> Belt sander would require a jig for me to feel comfortable using it without screwing up the wood, which is just as much (or more) work than the technique I ended up going with.

Given my potential output of guitars (one every 2 years at this rate), I'm not worried about the way I ended up having to do it. :D The right clamping technique is all that I would have researched more carefully!

Greg

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I tried to get mine perfect on the table saw but in the end had to plane it anyway. The more I do this the better cutting tools I'll get but i just used a 10 dollar block plane from home depot. Got the blade nice and sharp and it made quick work of my gluing surfaces. Then after I glued it, i left the peghead sitting slightly above the fretboard surface and just planed that off as well and all was good.

For sliding, i found if I didn't over saturate with titebond and waved the board in the air for 4-5 seconds it was sticky enough that it resisted sliding. Then just careful clamping in areas that didn't distort the joint first, then extra clamps to fill in the gaps.

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Pro Tip - use a nail, or three, strategically placed where the truss rod slot will later but routed, or in the sections of neck which will later be cut away. Dont go too deep though (in the truss rod area)

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Pro Tip - use a nail, or three, strategically placed where the truss rod slot will later but routed, or in the sections of neck which will later be cut away. Dont go too deep though (in the truss rod area)

I've used bolts in the waist areas, worked awesome.

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Pro Tip - use a nail, or three, strategically placed where the truss rod slot will later but routed, or in the sections of neck which will later be cut away. Dont go too deep though (in the truss rod area)

That sounds like a great idea, do you think a large staple lightly tapped in would work, or would this be too flimsy? It really helps hearing everyones opinions and personal problems and how they solved them, I feel now when I will do one, I will know more or less of what to expect, obviously it won't be perfect, but much better than it would have been had I never asked about it.! Thanks for everyones help! Jason

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its just to stop the two pieces sliding, so a staple might work, but i doubt it. Im actually starting to use a dowel in the truss rod slot area, simply because i dont need nails for anything else, and can never find them when i do a scarf joint....

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I scarf all my necks, laminated or not, and have volutes on them as well. The scarf (when executed well) means less short grain/runout in the headstock (y'know, the reasons Gibsons are notorious for neck breaks), add a veneer on the head, and you hide half of it, add one to the back as well and you pretty much hide all of it, and it's stable to boot. The volute adds a bit of 'meat' to what is generally one of the weakest areas on a neck. Besides, I like the look and feel it gives me.

I tend to use small brads/staples to line up and hold the joints in place, and they work fine. It doesn't take much to prevent things from slipping around.

You can make an angled router setup (basically a wedge for your router to ride on) to do your scarf joint, but frankly, with a sharp handsaw, a sharpened plane or two, and a bit of practice, making a nice, tight joint isn't difficult. Add the fact that freshly planed surfaces make for the best gluing and you've got a winner.

Seriously, do yourself a favour and get a plane or two. Start with a block plane, then a jack, and learn to sharpen them up well. Particularly the block plane is an invaluable part of any woodworking project, IMO.

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I also use a scarf joint. Contrary to the belief that this method was developed in a mass production setting to save wood (acutally wood is still cheaper than time in the States) this joint has been in use for centuries because it produces a stronger headstock joint. Most classical builders still use this method. It just happens to be a more efficient use of wood as well. It wasn't until the age of bandsaws and volume discounts that one-piece necks came into popularity. They are much easier and cheaper to produce especially with CNCs. Now that wood is getting more expensive one-piece necks also have the illusion of being higher quality simply because they use more wood and cost more to make from a materials standpoint.

My necks all use a scarf joint. Sometimes I add ears, sometimes I don't. It depends on the size of the wood I have on hand. The way I do mine is to not interrupt the the wood underneath the fingerboard and add the piece under the headstock instead. I make the cut with a japanese saw and plane the faces with a hand plane. It takes me about 10 minutes to get one ready to glue. For gluing I clamp the pieces firmly onto the bench and use clamping cauls. Here is how that works.. If you want to keep everything from moving try toothpicks instead of nails, dowels, or staples. They work great for a lot of things.

~David

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Pro Tip - use a nail, or three, strategically placed where the truss rod slot will later but routed, or in the sections of neck which will later be cut away. Dont go too deep though (in the truss rod area)

Hey! I was using a pro technique and didn't even know it!

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Thanks guys for that info, Myka I always admire your work and how well you design ways to accomplish certain tasks with efficiency, if your jigs and ideas are built properly even a begginer can do an almost perfect job. All the tutorials, jigs, and table setups are a huge help to me and I'm sure many, many others.

I am currently building your neck pocket router table, I still have a little more to do, but I was just curious if you had any more improvements on it yet, I know you are constantly redesigning your ideas and I was just curious. I am thinking of using some plexi/acrylic and I was wondering your thoughts on thickness. I am using a plunge router that has a plunge that goes just a hair under 3". So anyways thanks for all your help and info it is a tremendous help for someone as myself that wants and needs all the info and advice people have to offer.

Thanks everyone for posting your thoughts and ideas on the scarf joint, I should have enough wood left over from my headstock angled laminate, that I should be able to do a scarf joint as well as the angled one. I would like to do both that way I can get a feel for what I like personally. It seems that most people that have built a lot of necks prefer the scarf joint, but I as a hobbiest I am not to worried about the waste of wood, which I will end up using anyways for other things. But also I want to have a neck that is going to last, so if I feel that I can do just an angle and not have it too brittle that will be what I do, but if not I will be doing scarfs. Thanks again for the help! I will post how it goes when I finish the neck! Jason

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