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Lesson 8: Attaching the neck

Dan teaches you how to properly attach the neck to the body.

In this video you'll learn:

  • How to make a custom caul to glue the fingerboard extension
  • Where to apply glue when attaching the neck
  • The process of attaching the neck and keeping it straight
  • Using rubber bands to clamp the neck in place

What you'll need:



Video Transcription

[on-screen text reads: How to Build a Ukulele. Lesson 8: Attaching the Neck]

Dan Erlewine: It's time to put the neck on the body. Before gluing the neck, decide if you're going to use a natural finish or a stain. If it's a stain, you want to stain the neck and the body separately before you put them together. To do that, go to the lesson on staining and then come back here to put your neck on.

Plan before you glue

I'll put glue here. Glue on all the holes where the dowels are going to go. Glue on the dowels, glue on the cheeks, glue here, glue on the fretboard, glue here, and then I will quickly put it together. I'm not going to worry about this glue squeezing out right now because I'm more concerned with clamping.

See, I've got a clamp. I'm going to clamp down that fingerboard onto the body and a little piece of plywood that's the same shape but a little smaller than the fingerboard. And I'm going to come in with the clamp.

Make scrapewood cauls

Now, I don't want to crush this little brace here. You can do it. I have done it. You can put a clamp like this right on that shoulder brace. But instead, I made this little caul of two strips of wood and a piece of plywood super glued together and they fit right over that brace and press on the top. That's a gluing caul. When I use it, I'm going to put a piece of masking tape on it, rolled up inside out so it sticks to the top and doesn't drop off while I'm fumbling around with my clamps.

Apply the glue

[Dan applies the Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue with a gluing brush to the areas where the neck attaches to the body. He then cleans up the squeeze out and attaches Rubber Clamping Bands to hold the neck in place while the glue dries]

I think I'll let this dry for an hour and a half or two hours. There's a lot of glue in there.



Dan Erlewine

Guitar Repairman and Builder