Jump to content

Entry for May 2019's Guitar Of The Month is now openĀ ENTER HERE!

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Efilnickufesin

Glue For Set-neck Joint

Recommended Posts

I have recently played an LP gold top and discovered that it was the best guitar I have ever played. The $3,300 price tag unfortunately informed me that my unemployed sixteen year old self will not be buying it. Because of this, I'm thinking about building my own, one question I have about it though, is what kind of glue should I use for the set-neck joint in a les paul?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say either titebond original or epoxy (good quality, boatbuilding stuff like West Systems). Although 90% of the time I use titebond.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As Mattia suggested, epoxy can be used. It probably produces the strongest bond of all the glues mentioned, but it is a little overkill. Messy, sticky, and smells like a dead duck. Also I think it stiffens up a bit to quick (maybe use more glue and less hardener?), which makes it a little hard to work with. Get it perfect though, and you'll have to blow the neck off with a grenade if you want to take it off :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Use a good quality epoxy like West Systems - take your pick of slow and fast setting (I use the stuff that achieves full bond in 24 hours...I think. Something long like that), which gives you plenty of time to apply the glue (layer on each part of the joint, then add thickener, then apply that to one half of the joint). The Good Stuff is much, much thinner than stuff like 5 or 30 minute Araldite, cures much harder, is much easier to sand, and generally more pleasant to work with. And heat will release it, which is why I use it for fingerboards (no moisture introduced into the neck).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

titebond original seems to be favoured in guitar building circles, although its usually easier to find titebond III. I *think* the only difference between original and III is the open / cure time, but somone correct me if I am wrong :D

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
titebond original seems to be favoured in guitar building circles, although its usually easier to find titebond III. I *think* the only difference between original and III is the open / cure time, but somone correct me if I am wrong :D

Mike

I can't remember the specifics, but when I was researching the same thing everyone said that if I used Titebond then use only Titebond original

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Titebond III is waterproof. Not really a feature that is of much use on guitars(hopefully, or you will have bigger issues to deal with). Titebond original is wonderful and easy to use and find. It bonds wood like a champ, but joints need to be prepped well of course. Epoxy is good(stronger? maybe?, but extra strength would not really be needed as titebond would exceed the strength of the surrounding wood if properly joined). I use a 24 hour set finishing epoxy for grain fill and finishing applications. I use a 90 minute set for glue applications(plenty slow for fit up), I avoid that fast 5 minute cure epoxy. My motivation for using epoxy would usually be one of two reasons, either to limit moisture introduced into a project or for its gap filling ability(inlay or something like that).

Rich

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get titebond III simply because I don't want it to sit around for months and months, so I only want to have one bottle around. I can use III for outdoor stuff and guitars. Elmers makes a water-resistant one too I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would recommend titebond original over III. I've used III in the past and in a couple cases I got some creep in the joint(s) in my body blanks. Its definitely a pain in the rear after its been painted and cleared and then all of a sudden you see a line where the wood shifted going down the length of the body.

Under no circumstances should you use Titebond II. That stuff is garbage. Creep galore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use epoxy for set neck joins....It works so much better in that particular use...I use titebond for everything else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't had any creep with III, but it is pretty wet, so if you seal in that added water before giving it a while to disperse, then I could see it causing problems. I am so slow that it's never an issue. Most of the laminates I glue up sit for almost a month before I do anything with them. The body and neck blanks for my daughter's guitar were glued up 5 weeks ago and I've yet to do the final jointing or planing.

Swellng at the glue line that causes finish problems isn't creep, but it sure is a problem. As to III allowing more actual creep than I, Titebond claims it doesn't, but I suspect they want you to buy the more expensive one so maybe it actually does. Then again, IIRC, they do admit it has happened with II.

Regards,

Todd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Titebond and Elmers creep. I recently visited a friend of mine who is the regions best recorder maker. He had made a dining room table some twenty years back with some expensive hardwoods and those woods were starting to change shape. Some swelling this way, others that. Of course, it was glued with titebond, and I used that as an excuse to chide him because he knows how to use hot hide glue, and now knows he should have used HHG on that table. The other disadvantage of titebond is that it's not that hard, and on audible joints, such as edge glued spruce for soundboards, can be heard as a muffling of highs (at least by me). I wouldn't let titebond or elmers anywhere near my good guitars. But, that's just me and I ain't nobody but a good piano technician with big ears. On the other note, William Cumpiano uses titebond and he's arguably the best guitar builder in the US.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can I go out on a limb and recommend polyurethane glue? I've been on a bit of a Gorilla glue kick lately, and I'm liking it so far. PU glue doesn't seem as slick as Titebond or epoxy, making it easier to get parts in place before clamping. No mixing to worry about. No unexpectedly quick hardening (I hosed a neck a while ago trying to glue up a fretboard with "60 minute" epoxy on a hot day. The glue was gummy in less than 10 minutes). Expands to fill gaps, but doesn't foam excessively if you use the right amount. Doesn't creep. The bottle claims it's unaffected by heat. Don't know how true that is, but it's something to think about. Makes repair harder, but it also reduces your chances of the joint coming loose while it's sitting in your car one day. And, as the bottle suggests, it's Incredibly Strong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PU can't be disassembled, and I use it in certain areas (backstraps, laminating end blocks for acoustics, etc.). I also use epoxy, hot hide, CA and titebond in various places. Re: epoxy, use quality boatbuilding stuff (West Systems or System Three) if you want reliable results. PU requires very, very good clamping; the foaming will exert pressure on joints, pushing them apart a little, and can leave more visible glue lines. Also, the foamed/gap filled bit has zero structural gluing strength, so you need joints at least as tight as with titebond. Best way to kick PU is to lightly wet the joint with a damp sponge before applying the glue. Catalyzes the reaction.

I use it or epoxy when laminating CF to wood as well. It is completely impossible to disassemble, though, so it'd be fine for laminating necks in darker woods (glue line), but less for invisible joints or for things like fingerboards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point about the need for good clamping. And, of course, proper joint preparation is key no matter what adhesive you're using. That said, I've had no problems with visible glue lines so far. In fact, the fretboard I glued up last week with PU is one of the best I've done so far. No gaps whatsoever, and the glue line is basically invisible. There's a thread going on a Talkbass right now about polyurethane adhesives, and one if the members is showing off an ash body blank he glue up. The glue line is basically impossible to pick out. Of course, this is more a product of proper joint prep and clamping technique, but I just wanted to put it out there that good glue lines are entirely possible with PU glue.

Also, on the subject of glue lines, I always get annoyed when I see a line in the finish of an older instrument caused by uneven wood movement at the joint. Even a perfect joint can, and usually will, allow wood movement over time at the interface, causing a visible "crease" in the finish. Some of the people who have been using PU for a while claim it is more immune to this phenomenon. I'm going by other peoples' experience here, since I haven't been using polyurethane nearly long enough to find out for myself, but it's something to think about. If it's true, it would be a big plus for PU in my book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would favour titebond everytime for a setneck joint. It's thinner, and the squeezeout is easier to clean up, and its strong enough by far. I really can't see any advantages to using epoxy, except possibly that it won't add water and swell your neck mating surfaces.

IMO, titebond is the way to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would favour titebond everytime for a setneck joint. It's thinner, and the squeezeout is easier to clean up, and its strong enough by far. I really can't see any advantages to using epoxy, except possibly that it won't add water and swell your neck mating surfaces.

IMO, titebond is the way to go.

Honestly, now that I have mixy cups, syringes and good quality (West Systems) epoxy, I find it just about as easy to work with as titebond. Cleans up more easily, works and sands more nicely. That said, I still glue 9 out of 10 set necks with titebond. Because it's usually lying around, and it's tried and tested.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even in the best hand-made set-neck joints, there'll be a gap somewhere - even if its just the corners. So epoxy is my choice.

System 3 has rather tight tolerances on the mixing ratio - you don't want to be off by very much. West is more forgiving in that regard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay...

Well, a set neck should really be pretty snug to start out with anyway. Creep is not really much of an issue unless (string) pressure on the joint is going to pull it out over say, thirty years. :-D

The difference between Titebonds and epoxies is purely down to gap filling and future maintenance. Make of that what you want. Probably not important at this stage. What is important however, is making sure that the mortice and tenon of the neck/body joint are as strong as possible from the outset.

A well-crafted mortice and tenon should do more of the structural work than a glue. A glue is there to bond surfaces. A good neck/body joint will present sufficient gluing surfaces that even a rubbishy glue will bond.

Perry loves to dem his method of picking up the body using the neck. As long as that "snugness" isn't going to squeeze whatever glue you use out of the joint, that's perfect. Upshot of this all is, pay more attention to your building technique than the glues. Titebond I is more than enough for a joint that is well made, and can be steamed out years in the future. Or hot hide. Why use more?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Perry loves to dem his method of picking up the body using the neck. As long as that "snugness" isn't going to squeeze whatever glue you use out of the joint, that's perfect. Upshot of this all is, pay more attention to your building technique than the glues. Titebond I is more than enough for a joint that is well made, and can be steamed out years in the future. Or hot hide. Why use more?

Honestly, I can't really think up a good reason to want to try and steam out a set neck on an electric guitar, and it's really, really not anything resembling 'easy' given the geometry of a standard tenon. It's not an acoustic with a dovetail joint. I mean, really, repairiability is NOT a real issue. Any fault a neck develops that would require removal, I feel, would not be anything that would require 'saving' the original neck. Just cut it off, re-route, and replace. Fingerboards will come off just fine when glued with epoxy (which requires heat, no moisture, and is therefore too difficult to release from a captured joint like a mortise+tenon), and a saw takes care of the rest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't dream of steaming a solidbodies neck out either Mattia, but some people advocate that kind of thing for some odd reason. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×