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Thread: Detailed plans for a dovetail neck joint jig

  1. #1

    Default Detailed plans for a dovetail neck joint jig

    I'm wrapping up my first build, but I am planning to do more. One of the things I am focusing in on before starting another mandolin is getting every jig that I need built out and as precise as possible--and constructed in a way to allow me to reuse them and replicate results. For this first build I have kind of thrown together jigs quickly as I needed them. Having decided that I want to build more, I need some quality and durability in my jigs.

    Everything that I have seen in terms of instruction on neck jigs is in the way of YouTube videos, photographs, anecdotes via forums, etc. and also in-depth analysis of the geometry. But I have not found plans for such a jig that I could follow to ensure accurate results.

    Does anyone know if such plans exist? Or do I just have to wing it and hope for the best?

    Thanks,
    Mark

  2. #2
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Detailed plans for a dovetail neck joint jig

    What kind of dovetail? (straight, tapered) What kind of mandolin? (Flat top, arch top F or A) Do you plan to cut it with the top attached or on assembled rim or pre-cut the block before rim assembly? What machinery do you have? (bandsaw, routers, table saw, shaper?) You need answers to all these questions before you can build a jig. Many folks just cut it by hand (like me) or have just simple device to help to cut desired angle on bandsaw and finish the fit by hand anyway. Very few have dedicated jig, mostly factories or highly mechanized shops (Ellis, Gilchrist) but most of those don't do dovetail anyway.
    There used to be S-M jig by Macrostie with shaper blades and holding device but that was many years ago...
    Adrian

  3. #3

    Default Re: Detailed plans for a dovetail neck joint jig

    While instrument plans abound, I think the proprietary effort in complex jig design is reserved to the makers. There is a good video of Austin Clark using his jig, but not much discussion of it. I don’t think most folks who spend hours in such effort often give away the fruits of their labors without compensation. Even the available plans have costs.

    I think you will have to do your own engineering using the tools and processes available to you.
    Last edited by Bill McCall; Jun-13-2019 at 2:14pm.
    Play it like you mean it.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Detailed plans for a dovetail neck joint jig

    You have likely seen the online videos of the O'Brien neck angle jig for cutting either dovetail or mortise and tenon neck joints. O' Brien Guitars.com has a menu tab for plans that list the neck jig plans for $20. Jig uses LMI templates. I have no experience with or connection to the product, but the videos look cool.

    Scott

  5. #5

    Default Re: Detailed plans for a dovetail neck joint jig

    My dovetail video from a few years ago:

    https://vimeo.com/149088032?cjevent=...ab006a0a240611


    The goal is for everyone to make better mandolins, not get distracted with too much jig and tooling nerdiness. Go over to the guitar forums and they completely miss the point and have a jig for every step of the process but very few of them seem to actually play the guitar. The first priority is to learn how to build something well. Once you work out a reliable method, then a jig can help you with efficiency and repeatability. Too many people get sidetracked on the jig aspect and wind up with some amazingly efficient production of mediocre things. This one is nothing- you should see the four foot tall welded version that I have for double bass necks. If the mandolin version saves me three hours, that one saves me three days per neck.

    My grandfather was a patternmaker; I'm a mandolinmaker (who occasionally finds it necessary to make a good pattern jig)!

  6. The following members say thank you to grandcanyonminstrel for this post:


  7. #6
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Detailed plans for a dovetail neck joint jig

    Quote Originally Posted by grandcanyonminstrel View Post
    My dovetail video from a few years ago:

    https://vimeo.com/149088032?cjevent=...ab006a0a240611


    The goal is for everyone to make better mandolins, not get distracted with too much jig and tooling nerdiness. Go over to the guitar forums and they completely miss the point and have a jig for every step of the process but very few of them seem to actually play the guitar. The first priority is to learn how to build something well. Once you work out a reliable method, then a jig can help you with efficiency and repeatability. Too many people get sidetracked on the jig aspect and wind up with some amazingly efficient production of mediocre things. This one is nothing- you should see the four foot tall welded version that I have for double bass necks. If the mandolin version saves me three hours, that one saves me three days per neck.

    My grandfather was a patternmaker; I'm a mandolinmaker (who occasionally finds it necessary to make a good pattern jig)!
    You guys make it look so easy.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  8. #7
    Registered User
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    Oct 2007
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    Davison Mich.
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    365

    Default Re: Detailed plans for a dovetail neck joint jig

    Macrostie has an interestin jig from Stew Mac on his how to build an archtop mandolin series
    Mike Marrs

  9. #8

    Default Re: Detailed plans for a dovetail neck joint jig

    You should do a search through the library at mimf. I've seen a few jigs there. It used to be a very active place but its not anywhere as active as this place.

  10. #9
    Mandolin & Mandola maker
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    Sep 2002
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    Bega NSW, Australia
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    Default Re: Detailed plans for a dovetail neck joint jig

    I agree with grandcanyonminstrel. You can spend way too much time making jigs and not enough time actually making mandolins and improving the sound you are getting. Personally I hate making jigs. My dovetail neck joints are done using a very simple jig to get the angle of the neck right in the bandsaw, plus a strip of cardboard. The rest is handwork, and I have done well over 200 now. Practice makes perfect, and I want to be the perfect mandolin maker (still working on that), not the perfect jig maker.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
    http://www.petercoombe.com

  11. #10
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Zanesville, Ohio
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    2,437

    Default Re: Detailed plans for a dovetail neck joint jig

    Not a jig, but there is a fool hearty process of making a dt joint on Peter Coombes website. Which was also based on Dudenbostel's easy to follow directions.

    They really aren't hard at all.

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