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Locator Dowels, And Who Uses Them?

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Hey guys, I was wondering if anyone uses dowels of wood, or metal pins etc to locate their top to the body, and the fingerboard to the neck? If so, can you post some pics of this. I used dowel setters on my top and body, and its hard for me to linet he center lines up because the points on the dowel setters are so tall. When I push down to mark the top it always goes off center. Anyone have any idea what I am doing wrong?

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On the fretboard I drill a small hole thru the first fret at it's center and at the ninth fret.Drill a little into the neck,so the pins lock the two together.As for the body ,leave a little extra wood above the neck pocket and the bottom of the wood ,at center .Drill thru ,like the fret board and pin when gluing.You will not have to force anything ,the pins lock it in place.Others may have better or other ways og doing this,so hope this one helps.

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I used staples, with the tops cut off.

From my Jove build : http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.php?showtopic=44402&st=0&p=478638&hl=daughter&fromsearch=1&#entry478638

To prevent the wings from slipping during clamping, staples are inserted:


The head of the staples are cut off:


After cutting the tops of the staples off leaves two little nibs:


The wings are aligned and dry clamped to the neck blank.

During dry clamping, these nibs, leave impressions in the neck blank, making register marks to align and keep the wings from slipping during glue up.

The same process was used to glue the top and bottom of the wings, the pencil marks indicate where the staples are:




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For fingerboards I drill a hole at the 3rd and 14th frets with a small drill bit and use the bits as dowels, be sure to rub them with parafin wax though so they come out easier and are less likely to be clogged with glue.

For tops I just use sheet rock screws screwed straight into where the pickup cavities, neck pocket and trem route will be. If you cant find short enough screws just take them to a grinder and shorten them.

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  • 1 month later...

I use the same idea for dowel locating however I drill holes the same diameter as a cocktail stick into one piece, then insert tacks/nails with the heads clipped off and the points facing outwards by say 2,0mm - 3,0mm then doing the mating/tack removal/cocktail stick dowelling. There is usually less than a mm of wander so I have used this for scarfing laminated necks with pinstripes that really need to be dead on. Any wander can be "pushed out" in glueup unlike thicker dowels.

Your wandering might be down to the drill bit you use to open out the second dowelling hole, perhaps? I find that larger drill bits jump slightly from central locating holes made by dowel locators. Fine for quick carpentry but too large a tolerance for me when fine woodworking or instrument making. If dead on is needed, open out the locator pinhole with a small diameter bit (couple of mm) in a hand drill before opening up the hole towards the final diameter. Things like running the drill backwards to establish opening taper whilst centralises the bit helps. Just play with it and see what suits your skills and available tools. Cheaper drill bits benefit from a little tuning since their points are seldom centralised and spurs never pointy enough. I learnt a lot about drilling holes properly when I found that my string ferrules were never equidistant.

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