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Setting and gluing a neck

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by stratovani, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. Yeah, I know it's a bass forum, but since I'm here, I figured I'd ask here. A friend of mine has an Ovation Celebrity acoustic guitar which he happened to be playing the other day. Suddenly, the strings got floppy and the neck felt like it had gotten loose from the body a bit. So I asked him if he'd mind my having a go at repairing it. I separated the fretboard from the body with a couple of kitchen knives, worked the neck until it felt wobbly, and gave it a good yank away from the body. I heard a loud crack and off came the neck, everything intact. I'm going to clean up the neck joint real good, removing all the old glue, and then glue it in and clamp it down. My question is, would slow-curing, high shear-strength epoxy work for gluing a neck to a body, or is there something else I should be using?
  2. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    depending on the contact surfaces, Epoxy would be fine, if the contact surfaces are wood, clean and tight fitting, Titebond is the preferred glue, but either should be fine as long as the joins are good, and well clamped throughtout the curing time mandated by the product you use.
  3. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Personally, I would not use epoxy for that, it will make it a serious bitch to remove in the future if it needs to be reset again. Wood glue will shine in this application...
  4. kornsystem69


    May 31, 2007
    I would use epoxy only as a last resort, hot hide glue is the preferred glue, otherwise i would use titebond 1. if the guitar ever need the neck reset the epoxy would make it near impossible.
  5. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    ^ I have to respectfully disagree with using hide glue in this case. Although hide glue is fantastic for luthiery in many ways, its properties will probably not work in the OP's favour while working on an Ovation. In order to use hide glue, the joint must be perfect and have really tight tolerances from the get go. From the OP's description, this is not the case. Although I've only reset one Ovation neck over the years, in my experience, the tolerances were not that close, and in addition, there are places where the wood bonds with the Ovation's "lyracord" or whatever the heck that back material is called. PVA wood glue is preferable here if for nothing else, just for its ability to gap fill. That said, OP, make sure you get that joint really clean...
  6. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    Hide glue comes off with heat or water.

    Titebond come off with heat or acetic acid.

    Epoxy comes off with heat.

    Any of these will work. Hide glue s the weakest.
  7. From what I've been reading so far I think I'd be better off using Titebond glue. That said, Beej, the joint is really crusty from all the old glue still in there, so I'll ba making sure that the joint is nice and clean before gluing it in.

    Thanks to everyone who chimed in with advice. Much appreciated, especially considering I'm just a "kitchen luthier" at best.
  8. vbasscustom


    Sep 8, 2008
    mmm kitchen... mmm sandwich.... ill be back :D
  9. Reuben sandwich okay, vbasscustom? I make a killer one!;)
  10. vbasscustom


    Sep 8, 2008
    mmmm... reuben.... send, mail, now!
  11. Too bad I'm a vegetablarian, otherwise I'd have you send me one too. :D
  12. Sardine


    Feb 2, 2009
    Don't use epoxy. In a neck joint, epoxy is pretty much forever, meaning that if the guitar ever needs another neck reset, it's not getting one. In the acoustic guitar world we have a term for guitars with epoxied-in necks: we call them "disposable guitars." Once they pull in, you have little choice but to bin the guitar.

    What kind of glue you use really depends on the neck joint. I'm not familiar with ovations, so a description of the joint and a picture would help. For a good-fitting dovetail, hot hide glue is excellent, but can be expensive and difficult to use. A better choice would be a white woodworking glue such as LMI sells.This glue dries harder than Titebond, which will remain slightly gummy after curing.

    And Mikey, I have to disagree with you here. Hide glue comes off easily with heat and moisture, but just heat has very little effect. In fact, when subjected to just heat, Titebond will fail long before hide glue.

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