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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 4:25 pm 
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Koa
Koa

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Location: United States
This past week my website got deleted during a server change and I subsequently lost some pictures and other things there. Someone had asked about the missing pictures in a previous V-joint thread where I explained how I make the joint. I lost some of those pictures, but have imbedded some new ones and a couple of small updates.

----

Materials (assuming for a classical, 650mm scale):
Spanish Cedar or Mahogany for the neckshaft: 420cm long X 68mm wide X 30mm thick

Spanish Cedar or Mahogany for the head: 20cm long X 90cm wide X 18mm thick.

-----

Tools:

Stanley #4 Smoothing Plane
Sliding T Bevel
38mm Chisel
19mm Chisel.
Dozuki Razor Saw
Japanese Single-Bevel Marking Knife
Small Square
Hot Hide Glue
Glue Pot or Baby Bottle Warmer to heat the HHG
2 Bar Clamps
2 C Clamps
1 Cam Clamp

-----

Squaring up all the surfaces of the neck shaft is very important in planning the joint. I use a Stanley #4 for this.



You must have a centerline that is accurate on both the front and the back.

The intended dimensions of the V are 45 tall by 36 wide, for a 52mm neck width, you'll want to change these for something less.

All marks are made with a japanese marking knife - ie they're scribed into the wood. Once I decide which is the face of the neck, to accept the fingerboard, I make a mark 2mm from the end of the neck, and 47 mm front the end of the neck. This is the 45 mm length of the V.

At the 47mm mark, I use a small square to mark across the neckshaft. Then along that line I make two marks, on either side of the center line, at 18mm from the center line. These marks are for the width of the V.

Next I clamp a straight edge to correspond with the marks and scribe the V into the wood (the knife is a single bevel).

Once the piece for the head is planed to its near final thickness SANS headplate, you can use it to determine how much angle you can get, and record this with the sliding T-bevel. How much angle is possible is directly related to the thickness of the wood for the neckshaft.

Once I've set an angle on my sliding T-bevel, I use it to scribe a line on both sides of the neck shaft, angling toward the back of the neckshaft. Then on the back of the neckshaft I use a square to scribe a line connecting the ends of the lines on the sides. This establishes the angle, and this should all remain square to keep carving easily.

Next I measure up from the line across the back of the neckshaft, up the center line 45mm and make a mark. then along the across line I make two marks 18mm from the center line, and scribe everything as I did the front.

Now that everything is marked, I've made sure the marks are deep enough to chisel out a bevel against them on the outside only to help as a saw guide.

Here is a picture of the scribed lines, before chiseling out a bevel.



With the Dozuki saw I first make the cut at the sides, establishing the angle - careful to not cut beyond the scribed V, and sure to no obliterate the original scribed line. I used to use a fret slotting saw for this, but have switched to the Dozuki saw which makes for a far better cut.



For the V cuts, when looking down at the endgrain of the neckshaft you'll note that you need to cut at an angle (ie. not 90 degrees) in order to connect the scribed lines of the front and back of the V.

Again, I'm careful to not obliterate the line, because I will later carve right down to them with the chisels.



Once the rough V is cut out, I use a wide chisel that is freshly sharpened to true up the V. If the original planning and marking of the V was good, and I didn't kill the lines, it will be accurate enough to not really need to be touched while fitting the head.



For the head, it may be useful to use an entirely different piece of Cedar of Mahogany from the neckshaft. The natural color and grain variations from one piece to another will show off the joint better. For me its become kind of a trademark to veneer the back of the head with offcuts of the back (or something similar to bindings), and this shows off the joint nicely.

The head is already planed to the desired thickness, minus the front headplate, which in my case is 18mm.

Once the center line is scribed across the head, and a line square to it across the head at the bottom - I mark the dimensions of the V and scribe it. Then cut it out with the Dozuki saw. This can be done on the bansaw as well, though it will require more work with the chisels.

Next the head is cleaned up with chisels and checked at the neckshaft for a good fit, and worked continually until you can see no light through the mating surfaces. There should also be no twist in the head. it needs to be a good fit, or it will be quite obvious. This takes time and concentration.

Once everything is fitted, I prepare some hide glue. Hide glue is important - because if the guitar it dropped 5 years from now and the V-separates (which it will do, instead of a neck fracture - since its glued end grain to end grain), you won't need to clean the glue out of the end grain. You can simply add more hide glued and clamp the thing shut.

While the hide glue is heating, I clamp a block to the face of the neckshaft that has angle on one side of it. This enables me to use a bar clamp to clamp the joint tightly. I clamp from the angled portion of the block to the top of the head.



Sometimes it is helpful to clamp from side to side too, as shown.

I wipe the surfaces clean, spread the glue on and clamp it up. Where the neck connects to the head, the head should be slightly proud of the neck. This corner that is created will be chiseled off to be where the nut seats.



Once the glue is cleaned up, I find its best to call a pretty girl and hit happy hour for margaritas. This will get your mind off of straight lines and back to curves almost immediately, and reduce strain on your eyes.

jfrench39105.0225115741


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 4:58 pm 
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That's just beautiful Joshua.
I have trouble understanding how this is a strong joint however. It seems like your glueing end grain to end grain, I must be missing something, if you could explain its merits to me I would appreciate it.
Thanks,
-jim

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:02 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Looks to me like the whole point here is that the joint will be pulled into itself by string tension, the "V" also offers up quite a large glue surface.

Oh, of course, beautiful work Josh, thanks for sharing

Cheers

Kimlarkim39105.2108217593


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:10 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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I've made a couple of practice joints using Joshua's tutorial, and was surprised how well they turned out. I now have a selection of thicker neck stock (it's available from my local luthier supplier specially for V-joints) and have hopefully made my last scarf.

To me, after a careful layout, the use of a marking knife rather than a pencil is important, and Joshua's system of chiselling up to the line on the waste side before sawing is inspirational.

I don't have any problem with end grain joints especially with the use of hide glue. Carefully prepared and well fitting they are fine. Don't forget that with this joint the string tension actually pulls the joint together.

My only problem with the joint is that I won't be able to post pictures of my joints here after you've all seen Joshua's.

One thing I like about this joint is that it is just that, a proper joint, we are not just gluing two angled slabs of wood together, so it takes some degree of craftsmanship and mastery of hand tools. Much more satisfying.

Thanks again Joshua.

One thing I would disagree with Joshua about is the wood dimensions. I would suggest that you start with a blank at least a couple of inches longer. Why? Because when you make a mess of the first attempt at cutting the joint you can saw it off and start again. Oh yes been there done that!

ColinColin S39105.2260648148

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:43 pm 
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Koa
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Thanks Joshua, great tutorial.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 1:43 am 
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Beautiful work Josh.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 1:56 am 
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Koa
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Lovely work Joshua.

While there is some end to end in the joint, more than half of the joint in area is like a scarf joint, which is a proven strong way of joining boards with an angled joint.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 2:00 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Josh...Very elegant looking joint! And your explanation along with the pics is understandable and inspirational.

Thanks for posting...this one goes in my archives!

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http://www.DonohueGuitars.com


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 2:33 am 
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Koa
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Location: United States
Hi everybody, and thanks for the kind words.

The joint has more than adequate strength and one of the desireable features of it is actually its end grain against end grain orientation. If the neck were to get knocked hard enough to break at the head, the joint will separate. Use a little warm water and some fresh HHG and you'll barely even have to touch up the french polish. As opposed to having an actual break in the wood.

I disassembled a V-joint and also killed one with a sharp blow from a hammer. It separates cleanly.

Colin - for my necks (and in that measurement) I allow about 3cm extra for trimming. The neckshaft is about 39cm from the V to the other end when finished. If you mess up on the V instead of sawing it off and starting over you can just re-mark it 5mm down and carefully carve to the new lines. I've done it more than once.



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 2:56 am 
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Sure looks pretty! I'd love to try one of those someday, if for nothing else, to see if I "can". Excellent workmanship.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 3:09 am 
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Great stuff, Joshua!

So how strong is the joint? Even if it is easy to repair, some customers might not like it if the headstock snaps off too easily. You say it can be separated by a sharp blow from a hammer, would the same blow break a solid wood headstock?   

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 3:59 am 
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Koa
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Hi Arnt,

It is actually a very strong joint, particularly since the forces on it are not already trying to peel it apart. It does not come apart easily. On one occasion I replaced a head on a guitar I was making before shaping the neck, and it took a lot of heat and a lot of pressure to separate the joint.

As for hitting it with a hammer - I'm positive the same blow would have crushed a one piece neck or a scarf joint. I put the neck down on a flat surface (unattached to a body) and hit it as hard as I could where the nut would seat.

I have zero reservations about the strength of the joint.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 4:15 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Great tutorial Joshua, i think i had saved the previous one but couldn't resist saving this one as well, i just love that first pic with the shavings, it will make a nice poster for my shop too!

Thanks!

Serge


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 4:55 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Joshua -- that's a very well illustrated and written tutorial. Thank you.

Would it make sense to drill through the side of headstock before the ears are attached and dowel the "V-joint"?

Looking at your thread -- I am thinking how I could jig up to to use my tablesaw and/or bandsaw to make this joint. (I know I am a heretic).


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 5:00 am 
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Anthony, I'm with you on that! Hand tools scare me...

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 6:15 am 
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Koa
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Hi Anthony and Don,

I think Al Carruth stated in the past he has been able to rig something up to make most of the cuts on the table saw (or band saw). I'm sure you'll still need to use chisels to finish the fitting of the joint though.

With a good hand saw these cuts are easier then with any power tool.

Anthony, the joint doesn't need any added reinforcement or doweling. I'm actually surprised people are questioning the strength of the joint. Its as good or better then any other method I can think of.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 6:17 am 
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Great pics and craftsmanship in that joint. I don't know if I have the hand skills to even attempt it. Josh, you are the man, and of course anyone else who does the joint this way is also the man, woman, etc.

Blake


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 6:31 am 
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As to the strength issue, when the top veneer is glued over the head, covering the V, it seems that all kind of strength is added.

Great stuff, Joshua.

SteveSteve Kinnaird39105.6063194444

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 6:56 am 
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Joshua-

I have always wondered how to do one of these joints and this is an easy to understand tutorial. It is really one of the prettier joints too - especially with the back of the headstock veneered the way you do it.

Thanks a ton-

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 7:36 am 
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[QUOTE=jfrench] Hi Anthony and Don,

I think Al Carruth stated in the past he has been able to rig something up to make most of the cuts on the table saw (or band saw). I'm sure you'll still need to use chisels to finish the fitting of the joint though.

With a good hand saw these cuts are easier then with any power tool.

Anthony, the joint doesn't need any added reinforcement or doweling. I'm actually surprised people are questioning the strength of the joint. Its as good or better then any other method I can think of.[/QUOTE]


There are a bunch of old guitars with that head joint still goin' strong


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:05 am 
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Hey Joshua,

I'm curious as to how Spanish guitars are made in Texas?
Wouldn't they be Texan guitars?
Is that like German cars that are made in Mexico? Or perhaps more like Philly Cheese-Steak sandwiches made outside of Philly?



Oh...nice website...You do some really great work!

Thanks again for the pictorial. I'm gonna give that a shot.


Don Williams39105.7124537037

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:39 am 
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Koa
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Don, are you kidding me? English is a second language around here!   

I use the term "Spanish" to reflect where my inspiration comes from and what I'm trying to achieve with my instruments. It also describes the style of construction. "Classical" has become pretty all encompassing and I tend to be something of a traditionalist. So I chose to try and distance myself from the modern label.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:56 am 
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Joshua,

Thankyou for taking the time to re-post your tutorial.

I have always admired the v-joint headstocks and the subtle yet meaningful degree of craftsmanship that they seem to add. The addition of the off-cuts on the back of the headstock truly do make it stand out to a much greater degree. It draws the eye to it's shape immediately. Keep up the good work !!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:25 am 
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[QUOTE=jfrench]I use the term "Spanish" to reflect where my inspiration comes from and what I'm trying to achieve with my instruments. It also describes the style of construction. "Classical" has become pretty all encompassing and I tend to be something of a traditionalist. So I chose to try and distance myself from the modern label.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, I like that. It works.

BTW, I love that mosaic rosette on your website. Very cool. Reminds me of Al Carruth's stuff.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:37 am 
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Steve K -- good point about the headplate veneer adding extra strength.

Joshua/Brad - I don't doubt the strength of a well executed V-Joint -- the dowel was an after thought for added insurance.

Josh thanks again for posting this -- I think I might just use if for a Martin O with slotted headstock that is in the works. It'll sure make for an elegant looking volute especially if the headstock is backstrapped as nicely as yours.


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