View Full Version : A major screwup...

Mar-02-2004, 6:20pm
Don't laugh - or I'll never post on this board again!

My Stew-Mac A model turned into a disaster. Last night I was looking forward to attaching the tailpiece, installing the nut, bridge, and putting on strings to try it out in the white. I nearly fainted. I set the neck all wrong!!! I thought I had the neck installed in the dovetail of the body, correct angle and all, according to the Stew-Mac instructions. Something slipped or maybe a clamp problem. In any event, I need help!

What's the easiest method for taking the neck and fretboard off? Heating gun, blowtorch, what.....please tell me!!!!

Keep in mind that this was to be my bang-around travel mandolin for me. It's not the end of the world, but I have got my pride to clamp, uh, uphold.

Ticked in Texas http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif

Mar-02-2004, 6:36pm
What do you mean exactly when you say, "I set the neck all wrong"? What kind of glue did you use?

Mar-02-2004, 7:24pm
If you have a thin spatula or putty knife, you can get the fingerboard off with the help of a household iron. Start at one end and heat the board with the iron (set on "kill") until you can get the thin blade started under it and work your way to the other end heating as you go. If you used hot hide glue, it'll be pretty hard to do, any other glue will not be so bad.

Once the board is off you'll be able to see the dovetail. If you have a source of steam (preasure cooker, Mr. Coffee espresso machine) get a piece of tubing, vacuum line from an auto parts store works OK, and a fairly large syringe needle or basketball inflation needle and inject steam into the joint. The needle needs to go in between the end of the tail on the neck and the head block. Check occasionally to see if the joint is loosening and wiggle and pull until the neck comes out. Unless you used epoxy the glue will soften, but you may have to put some work into it.

Good luck!

Mar-02-2004, 7:45pm
I thought the Stew-Mac neck blocks were pre-assembled to the sides and necks were pre-cut. How could your angle be wrong if the dovetail was seated?

Mar-02-2004, 8:25pm
I used the Titebond glue.

How did I set the angle wrong? I honestly don't know. I thought I had it set correctly before glueing everything. I could have forced it into the dovetail a little more than I should have. The second mistake I made was not re-checking everything before glueing on the fretboard.

I appreciate the advice and will let you know how it turns out.


Mar-02-2004, 8:27pm
The only thing I can think you could have done wrong is slide the neck in to deep or too shallow into the dovetail, is this the problem? Neck too low or too high?? The only other problem could be the angle (right to left) needs adjustment prior to gluing. Hope you can work it out. I know the feeling when you screw up, however mine have been easy to fix, this sounds a bit more involved. jd

Mar-02-2004, 8:45pm
The only other problem could be the angle (right to left) needs adjustment prior to gluing.
There are mistakes available to us that we don't even know about yet. That's what makes them so hard to avoid.

Titebond comes loose pretty easy.
Look at it this way. Not only do you get a chance to start learning building, but you get to start learning repair too.

Mar-02-2004, 10:49pm
One thing might have been overlooked by sunburst. If you`ve already fretted the fingerboard, you`ll need to pull the frets to allow maximum heat penetration through the fingerboard. If you have`nt fretted yet then disregard this post. All the best with your repair.

Mar-03-2004, 7:14am
You can do it with the frets still in. The metal frets conduct the heat into the board pretty well.

Mar-03-2004, 11:06am
Thanks guys. I removed the fingerboard last night. Only damage was to the binding(from the heat). But that's not a problem. I can either re-bind or put in a new fingerboard.

The big job is the dovetail joint.

Mar-03-2004, 4:27pm
If you could post a picture of the problem it would help us see what the problem is. I think you answered your own question though...dry fit first--check alignment/setting--then glue. I have made the same error and will make it again--just part of building.

Mar-03-2004, 7:22pm
I have removed and reset many necks. http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/pagelist.html Check out the section on neck removal. #It comes along with the "nature of the beast" sometimes. #I also know the sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach when you have poured much time and effort into something and that......OH NO feeling hits. #Deep breath. #its part of the learning curve. #The Titebond will soften up with the steam. #I use a pressure cooker I have converted into a steamer for this job. #I go one step further and cut down on the steam to get more dry heat. #My steam goes into another container and a tube coming from that is used to direct the hot air. #AND I MEAN HOT so insulate it well so you do not get burnt. # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # Don