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Level Then Set the Neck or Set Then Level?


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I'm not sure if it really makes a difference but I'm planning out how I'm gonna tackle my first build and want to know if there are any pros or cons of doing one way versus the other. Also what are some opinions on TiteBond Hide Glue? I'm strongly leaning toward this to set the neck.

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I prefer a set neck - a dollop of glue is less work and cheaper on parts than screws , threaded inserts etc. 

I would recommend getting as much of the fretwork as  you can done before you set the neck because it's much easier when there is no body in the way, especially with a Les Paul style build, those top frets are a PITA to get to. That being siad, I've done it after a few times, it's good practice for doing a refret. 

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There's more than one way to skin a cat. As long as you know how to continue to the next step choose the way that suits your way of thinking and the tools and premises you have.

Re TiteBond Hide Glue, buying it just for gluing the neck may not be worth it. Agreed, there's some difference in set time and also in how it ages etc. Those may or may not be taken into consideration when repairing old instruments. For a new one not so much. The tonal qualities can be and are being argued but on an electric guitar even those play a very insignificant role. Basically any wood glue that is hard or even brittle after drying will do perfectly fine - which outlines the rubbery contact glue and the plasticky PVA.

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8 hours ago, SGFanboy42 said:

I'm not sure if it really makes a difference but I'm planning out how I'm gonna tackle my first build and want to know if there are any pros or cons of doing one way versus the other. Also what are some opinions on TiteBond Hide Glue? I'm strongly leaning toward this to set the neck.

first off... I am an SG fanboy too!  my first good guitar was an SG90 and man... my whole life has been trying to get back to that one guitar.  I'm certain nothing I build will ever measure up to what that guitar was in my mind... even that guitar itself probably wouldn't, and the chase is on.

there are pros and cons galore but it'd help to narrow it down to what specifically you are interested in comparing pros and cons of.  set vs bolt?  two way truss vs one way?  order of operations? 

there are as many dif answers as there are questions so I'll limit my info to one specific thing I've pondered on a lot lately... 

There is a very well known builder named 'terry' over at 'another forum' who says that the neck should be shaped to within a few thousands of final shape prior to applying fretboard.  He says this is the only way to guarantee a stable neck.  He also says that double action truss rods are for the birds.  I would guestimate that 95% of guitar builders don't do it this way.  I certainly don't.  Given his reputation and experience I have to assume he knows a lot more than me and perhaps we should all heed his warnings... but I also know that there have been more mfg not doing it that way for more time than I or he has been alive.  My point being that all guitar building advice is a paradox.  I think most importantly you have to find the way that works best for you... as such you probably have to TRY building one every way possible!

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2 hours ago, mistermikev said:

there are pros and cons galore but it'd help to narrow it down to what specifically you are interested in comparing pros and cons of.  set vs bolt?  two way truss vs one way?  order of operations? 

I'm comparing the order of operations. whether gluing the neck then leveling the frets is better than the reverse order. I probably should've specified leveling the frets...🤣

 

6 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

Re TiteBond Hide Glue, buying it just for gluing the neck may not be worth it.

I'm interested in using the hide glue because of its serviceability. I like that if I need to I can split the neck with, from what I've read, a chisel and a soft blow from a hammer.

Edited by SGFanboy42
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1 hour ago, SGFanboy42 said:

I'm interested in using the hide glue because of its serviceability. I like that if I need to I can split the neck with, from what I've read, a chisel and a soft blow from a hammer.

Would that happen by accident as well if your guitar falls down?

If you really need to, TiteBond Original isn't too bad to take apart either. It's a bit tough but doable with some heat and patience. Hopefully your builds end up being basically right from the start so you won't have to tear them apart to start from scratch. For example, as has been told on other threads, refining the neck with strings on can be surprisingly rewarding. Dry fitting should eliminate most issues that would require a total reassembly.

No glue will save you from structural mistakes or bad clamping.

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44 minutes ago, Bizman62 said:

 Hopefully your builds end up being basically right from the start so you won't have to tear them apart to start from scratch. For example, as has been told on other threads, refining the neck with strings on can be surprisingly rewarding.

I'm not so much worried about gluing the neck wrong, (though given that this is my first build it is a possibility) I'm thinking if like the neck breaks or warps somehow. I could be completely over blowing the issue though...

44 minutes ago, Bizman62 said:

If you really need to, TiteBond Original isn't too bad to take apart either. It's a bit tough but doable with some heat and patience.

Have you had to remove Titebond from a project before? What did you use? I just did some quick googling and some people suggest vinegar and some suggest heat.

Edited by SGFanboy42
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1 minute ago, SGFanboy42 said:

Have you had to remove Titebond from a project before? What did you use?

I haven't had to do it personally, but Jerry Rosa who's been in the build and repair business for 35 years or so has done it several times. If he can do it with a clothes iron, or a steaming system made out of a football valve, some hose and a whistle kettle, it can't be too difficult of a task. Heat breaks most glues sooner or later.

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2 hours ago, SGFanboy42 said:

I'm comparing the order of operations. whether gluing the neck then leveling the frets is better than the reverse order. I probably should've specified leveling the frets...🤣

 

I'm interested in using the hide glue because of its serviceability. I like that if I need to I can split the neck with, from what I've read, a chisel and a soft blow from a hammer.

I wouldn't worry too much about removing a fretboard or unsetting a neck if you're not using hideglue. I've successfully unset a neck that was glued with gorilla glue using my girlfriends hair dryer and some water - Any wood glue whether it's titebond1, gorrilla, hide glue will come away with steam and patience. I however think there is a lot more opportunity to get the mix wrong, the temp wrong or spend too long clamping up with hide glue (coming from someone that hasn't used hideglue that is), so for the first few builds, I'd have thought titebond would be the best option, not to mention cheaper option as a bottle of titebond is a lot cheaper than hide glue + kettle + thermometer. You will also get many builds out 1 bottle of titebond. 

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17 minutes ago, Bizman62 said:

If he can do it with a clothes iron, or a steaming system made out of a football valve, some hose and a whistle kettle, it can't be too difficult of a task.

You're right it doesn't sound too bad!😎

15 minutes ago, ADFinlayson said:

I however think there is a lot more opportunity to get the mix wrong, the temp wrong or spend too long clamping up with hide glue

I was planning on using cold hide glue but if Titebond and the other wood glues can come off with steam as well then Titebond is probably how I'll go.

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on that note... my recent experience with it... it is scary how easy it is to use heat to loosen glue.  I was doing wood binding, and just a little heat and voilla!  that said... and as @Prostheta has learned me... you really might want to focus on not getting to that point in the first place - unless you absolutely have to!

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22 hours ago, SGFanboy42 said:

I'm comparing the order of operations. whether gluing the neck then leveling the frets is better than the reverse order. I probably should've specified leveling the frets...🤣

I prefer to level the frets prior to gluing the neck in. In fact, I try to get nearly the neck work done, from carving to complete fret dressing and polishing prior to gluing the neck in.It is much easier to clamp a neck into a working position without a guitar hanging off the end of it.

And I always--always find a way to booger up the body a little when I'm doing the final neck work after gluing it in.:wacko:

SR

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