Jump to content

Best Scarf Joint?


Recommended Posts

What is the opinion on the best scarf joint?

Two types I am interested in.

One: Fingerboard on top of the joint. That's where the peghead piece is glued to the cut edge of the neck.

Not requiring a headplate veneer because the glue joint is under the fingerboard.

Two: Headplate veneer on the glue joint. Where the peghead piece is glued to the underside of the neck.

Veneer required on the headstock because the glue joint is at the headstock.

Question 2;

What is the best headstock angle?

I am looking at a 10 degree to 12 degree angle.

I don't think I need that sharp an angle. Fender and Rickenbacker's angles are very shallow.

Gibson's is very sharp and needs a more precise joint as the gluing surface is smaller then the shallower angles. 13 - 15 degrees seems way too sharp for me.

Opinions please.

(I don't have the computer skills to draw that out and post it. Sorry)

Thanks for any help,

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've used both, both work fine, both have different aesthetics. In theory, there's a slight risk of joint slipping due to thermoplastic creep in the 'joint under fingerboard' scenario, but the other has the more visible line. Upside to the joint in the headstock is you can hide it very, very will with veneers on front and back. I tend to use the glue line at the headstock approach these days, because I like the look of backstrapped headstocks (veneer on back), and I pretty much every guitar I make has headplates anyway. I have no problems switching between the two, though; one approach I find very attractive is that used by Jimmy Caldwell (makes acoustics), which is to use the glue-joint-under-fingerboard approach, but add a contrasting veneer, which leaves a clearly visible line on the neck. Be proud of the joinery and all that. He also does some other funky stuff with the headstock (extreme angle, volute with interesting backstraps, etc.) that works with his design, but would look out of place on more trad guitars, methinks. It's a design element, and needs to be part of a design aesthetic if you do it that way.

'Best headstock angle'....no such thing. I tend to use about 13 on my electrics, 15 degrees on my acoustics. Works, looks fine, it's fairly traditional. Because of the glue surface issue, I much prefer to use the 'joint in headstock' system for the sharper angle. 10, 11, 12, 13 degrees all have proven track records.

Also, Fender has zero neck angle. Their headstock face is merely below the plane of the neck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you mattia.

I like the lower angles like 10 degrees, because it allows more wood to be used and can provide more gluing surface. My only concern was the possibility of string buzz due to lower string pressure on the nut.

I have a Rickenbacker 12-string and it is very shallow and has no buzz, so that makes me feel a bit more secure.

I thought the "under fingerbaord" joint would provide more protection as the fingerboard is, in essence, a big veneer.

You find the headstock glue joint better?

I thing it is easier, but for strength, I don't know.

Do you veneer both sides of the headstock when gluing up at the headstock?

Many thanks,

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Johnathan Kincaid has a book on acoustic construction. He's an English fellow and it does have some great photos and ideas.

One method he uses for his scarf joint, is to glue two 1" thick slabs parallel to each other. They're glued on the flat side.

One piece is the main neck piece and the other is about 7" long glued to the underside at one end.

Than he cuts an 11-degree angle to the top face.

The thickness of that cut is about is about 3/4". (that'll the headstock width).

The idea is the same as Method #2 above, but without the need to made a perfect splice.

Anybody try this one?

With a nice hard headplate of ebony, it should be as strong as any other scarf joint, wouldn't you think?

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Johnathan Kincaid has a book on acoustic construction. He's an English fellow and it does have some great photos and ideas.

One method he uses for his scarf joint, is to glue two 1" thick slabs parallel to each other. They're glued on the flat side.

One piece is the main neck piece and the other is about 7" long glued to the underside at one end.

Than he cuts an 11-degree angle to the top face.

The thickness of that cut is about is about 3/4". (that'll the headstock width).

The idea is the same as Method #2 above, but without the need to made a perfect splice.

Anybody try this one?

With a nice hard headplate of ebony, it should be as strong as any other scarf joint, wouldn't you think?

Mike

No, because gluing flat faces to each other results in, essentially, the same thing as a one-piece neck; still has short grain in the headstock. It's as strong as a regular 1-piece, but it's not a scarf joint.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Johnathan Kincaid has a book on acoustic construction. He's an English fellow and it does have some great photos and ideas.

One method he uses for his scarf joint, is to glue two 1" thick slabs parallel to each other. They're glued on the flat side.

One piece is the main neck piece and the other is about 7" long glued to the underside at one end.

Than he cuts an 11-degree angle to the top face.

The thickness of that cut is about is about 3/4". (that'll the headstock width).

The idea is the same as Method #2 above, but without the need to made a perfect splice.

Anybody try this one?

With a nice hard headplate of ebony, it should be as strong as any other scarf joint, wouldn't you think?

Mike

Scarf joints have two purposes:

1. to save wood

2. to have no "cross grain" on the headstock.

Doing it with the method you described would be WEAKER than ANY of the usual scarf jointed necks. The scarf joint (glue line) would be equally as strong as any other, but the majority of the headstock will be cross grain.... you know, like a Les Paul, which is THE number one guitar for headstock breakages. The ebony plate would add strength though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even with plates on both sides of the headstock?

Man, the scarf joint is hard to get just right.

I'll still give it a try.

Thanks guys.

Plates on either side will strengthen the whole thing, but it won't be as strong as a scarf joint with grain running the direction of the headstock. Stronger than one without two veneers, but that's about it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...