Making the neck for the ukuleleThe next step in my build was to make the neck.
The head of a guitar or ukulele is usually attached to the neck with a scarf joint.
People usually make this scarf joint on the head side, of the bend, but because I
wasn't going to veneer the head, I made the joint on the neck side where it would be
hidden by the fretboard.
I was initially going to have my workpiece facing the other way, but then I realized that the
wedge that I'm cutting off might jam itself between the saw blade and my support, so I changed
the orientation so that couldn't happen.
I clamped it by wedging it between the neck part and another piece of wood. I put a layer of packing
tape onto the other piece to prevent glue squeeze-out from gluing the extra piece of wood onto the neck.
In retrospect, it would have been easier to cut and fit the neck mortise first, before
sculpting the neck. This is especially true if you don't have a Pantorouter.
But, if you build one, I recommend making the neck as wide as the head initially, as that will make
aligning things much easier when you cut the neck mortise.
So I clamped it against a large piece of wood. I clamped a small block of wood
to the left side of the large block to put it at a slight angle,
then cut the back of the neck with my old 18" bandsaw.
After that, I rounded the edges with a spokeshave...
I should have been more careful when I did this. I ended up cutting away a little bit too much.
A disk sander would have been a better tool to do this with.
I made a mortise template from a scrap of plywood and mounted it above the router on
I wasn't sure if I would get a perfect fit, so I first used the template to cut a test tenon into a scrap of wood. As it turned out, the neck mortise was about 0.75 mm (.030") too narrow. So I made a wider neck mortise template.
I was confident that the wider template would make for a good fit, so proceeded to cut the tenon in the end of the neck.
A perfect fit.
Attaching the neckIt was tempting to mount the neck with just a few drywall screws from the outside, but it would have been tricky to drill the holes and countersink holes cleanly in the neck that I had already sculpted. So I used hanger bolts, like many guitar makers do.
Here's drilling the holes for the hanger bolts in the neck block.
This would have been the prefect job for a horizontal boring machine, but I wanted to focus on building this without a lot of special equipment. (except for the pantorouter, but everyone should have one of those :) )
I made that by grinding a notch out of the threads on two sides with an angle grinder.
I then mounted the tap in a small drill and used it to cut threads in the holes.
Getting the nuts on the hanger bolts will be tricky once the back of the ukulele is glued on. Fortunately, I have a small nut driver that I can insert through the hole. If you don't have a small nut driver, you can use a socket set socket, plus an extension piece as a handle.
See also: Pat making a ukulele neck
Next : Making the fretboard