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Thread: jig for cutting neck mortise

  1. #1
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    Default jig for cutting neck mortise

    Today I cut the neck mortise on my 2nd from scratch mandolin using my home-made router jig. It took about 10 minutes to do the cutting but several hours to assemble, adjust, and test.
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    Last edited by Larry Simonson; Mar-11-2014 at 7:22pm. Reason: spelling
    -Newtonamic

  2. #2
    Registered User testore's Avatar
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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    A hand saw and chisel takes about 3 minutes.
    vesselmandolins.blogspot.com

  3. #3

    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    Larry, nice job on the jig. It seems to me doing this with a router would make a more accurate joint and a stronger glue up than a hand saw and chisel. Good luck! Danny Gray

  4. #4

    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan of SC View Post
    Larry, nice job on the jig. It seems to me doing this with a router would make a more accurate joint and a stronger glue up than a hand saw and chisel. Good luck! Danny Gray
    Depends on who is wielding the saw and chisel. (Not referring to myself but people I know).
    Bill Snyder

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    Registered User testore's Avatar
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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    Gray, I was trained to use a chisel and my neck sets fit on 100% of their surfaces. Don't underestimate someone's hand skills just because you haven't seen it.
    vesselmandolins.blogspot.com

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    Much quieter with a saw and chisel too. Final fitting is normally done with with chisels anyway, so the quality of the joint will be similar. A cleanly chiseled surface is a better glue joint than a routed surface.

    It's fine to jig up for power tool methods, some people enjoy doing that as much as building the instrument itself, and in production it can save a lot of time, but Gary is right; a neck joint is a quick procedure with hand tools, so like many other procedures in the small shop, jigging for a router doesn't really save time.

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  8. #7

    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    Testore, I don't doubt anyone's skill, I've seen what a really good craftsman can do. I just thought your initial response to a guy on his second build was rather terse. I see this website as a place to encourage each other. I hope others feel the same. Danny Gray

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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    I'm sorry for sounding terse and non encouraging. My goal is to encourage someone who may not have access to tooling up. What I see way too often are people making simple tasks far more difficult. So often I see jigs and machinery replacing simple handtools. I also feel that learning to use hand tools is very very important. When I see people using Dremel tools to cut F holes I scratch my head in shock. What's wrong with a sharp knife? Again my apology for sounding unsupportive.
    vesselmandolins.blogspot.com

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    I also think it is good to learn to use hand tools even if we move on to power tool methods later. Using hand tools, we learn just what it is the tool is doing, how the wood reacts, what techniques help with managing the wood and reduce damage and so forth. All good knowledge to have when using power tools so that the tool works better and more efficiently and with less chance of damage to the work and the worker.

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  12. #10

    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    Testore, Sorry if I insulted your skill. Just trying to be supportive of Larry. Although I've worked with my hands all my life (64) I've only been building musical instruments a couple tears, strictly self taught, books etc. I'm sure your luthier skills far surpass mine. No hard feelings, Danny

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    Resonate globally Pete Jenner's Avatar
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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    I like to use my teeth. ...if I can remember where I put them.
    The more I learn, the less I know.

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    Registered User testore's Avatar
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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    Danny, not at all! We're good.
    vesselmandolins.blogspot.com

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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Jenner View Post
    I like to use my teeth. ...if I can remember where I put them.
    I think you might have left them at that Mexican restaurant...

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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    I don't doubt the quality of a finely created joint but I don't think I see why a chiselled one would be a better gluing surface than a routed one.. Assuming both were done correctly, care must be taken with both to get a good glue surface..

    KLW

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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    A single, sharp, slicing blade leaves a cut wood surface with the least damage we can accomplish. That surface accepts and holds glue better than a machined surface. A rotating cutter leaves a microscopically scalloped surface when done correctly, and when done too quickly can leave a visibly scalloped surface. The microscopically scalloped surface of a rotary cut piece of wood, though it seems reasonable that it would be a poor gluing surface, doesn't adversely affect gluing so much as the compressed, damaged portion of the wood of a rotary cut surface. The smaller the rotating cutter, the more the damage. Damage is caused by the trailing portion of the rotating cutter because the cutter is moving relative to the wood (it can be the wood that moves, as in using a jointer, but the relative movement is the same) so that the trailing edge of the blade is forced into the wood as the cutter exist the curved cut. Even the best rotary cut surface from the best set up jointer with a large diameter cutter head is inferior to a hand planed surface made with a single pass of a sharp blade. A router cutter is a small diameter cutter, cannot easily be honed to a razor edge, and moving a router by hand along a guide in a jig seldom results in a smooth motion so the surface usually has some ripples.
    How much better is a neck joint cut by hand? Not much, really. Either method yields acceptable results. The point we're trying to make here is the quickness and ease of making the joint by hand, and the hand method's viability as an alternative to the machined joint aside from it providing a superior glue surface.

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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    Thanks Dan for your kind words. I had no intention of try to convince anyone that my method is better than anyone else's. I was just sharing a simple method I worked up so that maybe someone might find it helps them.

    Sunburst mentioned that some people just love to build jigs and I include myself in this camp. Having been retired for 8 years or so I just enjoy taking my time to get it as right as I can. I don't doubt that Testore could produce a better product by hand in 3 minutes but I know for damn sure that I can't. I have found that cutting to a line with either hand tools or machines is a problem for me, so I do much better not having too many lines to cut to. The mortise I cut had no lines drawn. The bottom line is that a good joint requires at least two pieces that fit well and having one that is right makes it easier to get the 2nd one acceptable.
    -Newtonamic

  20. #17

    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    Larry,
    Great job on the mandolin! Looking good so far! Have you heard of the North Bennet Street School in Boston? Pretty amazing place. nbss.edu

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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    I think you might have left them at that Mexican restaurant...
    Yes - probably buried in that pile of grey stuff on the plate.
    The more I learn, the less I know.

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    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    I, too, have difficulty with this joint and have tried machines. Even they haven't worked well for me. I even have troubles with guitar neck joints. I'm working on a re-design of the joint.
    Scoff all you want, but the point is to build a mandolin.
    Bill
    IM(NS)HO

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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    Hi jwpost, Yes, I have heard of the North Bennett School and its great reputation. I drove right by there a couple of weeks ago going to Tuft's medical. My daughter has taken a course or two there a few years back and there can be no doubt that I would benefit from their program but I've been liking my self-teaching in woodworking so I will just keep plugging along with no other goal than enjoyment. Now, back to working on a jig to cut the neck tenon with my ever useful router.
    -Newtonamic

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    Registered User Jim Adwell's Avatar
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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    Quote Originally Posted by billhay4 View Post
    I, too, have difficulty with this joint and have tried machines. Even they haven't worked well for me. I even have troubles with guitar neck joints. I'm working on a re-design of the joint.
    Scoff all you want, but the point is to build a mandolin.
    Bill
    I suspect this is the reason why some builders use bolts.

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    +1 for the "Some folks just need to make moulds, jigs and patterns like they will build ten thousand" concept. My brother and I built a 13' Adirondack guide boat (Blanchard design from the Blue lake museum) and he insisted on making patterns to make dozens, we barely finished the one! Very pretty but, I understand why it was not really recommended for the home builder, very demanding but amazing little boat.
    I wish he had not sold that one!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    Sorry for the simple question but what type of hand saw would you use?
    -Robert T. -

  27. #24
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    Dovetail saw. It's a small back saw.

  28. #25
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    Default Re: jig for cutting neck mortise

    I have a Japanese back saw that is incredible.
    vesselmandolins.blogspot.com

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