Can anyone recommend some easily-obtaibale glue that would work well
for the following job:
I am repairing an old stringed instriment (a lute). Part of the work
involves sawing the neck off and resetting it at a slightly different
angle. I think the best way to strengthen the joint would be with a
couple of dowels. The problem is, when I drill the holes for the
dowels, I have no way of making sure they will line up exactly (and be
exactly in-line). So, I guess the only thing to do is make one of the
holes slightly oversized, to allow some play - then use a glue which
will fill the excess space. I was thinking of using epoxy (Araldite),
but I'm not sure if that would be the best choice. The wood looks like
it might be maple and is around 80 years old.
Thanks in advance..
PS, an additional question regards this job:
The mating surfaces of the nack and body after sawing the neck off
will be as follows: the neck end will be all end-grain. The mating
surface at the body will be partly end-grain and partly side-grain. So
what is the best glue for going end-grain to end-grain? Hopefully the
same glue I'll use for the dowels....
I don't have your glue answer; but would like to suggest that you
build a simple drilling jig using steel bushings (something like:
I don't have instrument-making experience; but I'd guess that
you'll want both mechanical and accoustical "strength" in the
joint - and would guess that an oversized hole (even if
glue-filled) would compromise that.
Hi Morris, Thank you kindly for your input. The above URl seems
obsolete, but I think I found the page you meant. I'm not too worried
about accoustic transferrence. I guess your drilling rig idea might be
good in ideal circumstances, but it is actually rather necessary to
have some play in the dowel while the glue is still wet, in order to
get the alignment of the neck exactly right prior to glue setting. I
'd have grave doubts about achieving the exact corect alighnment via
use of a jig. I'm sure that if the joint is strong, the acoustic
properties will be adequate. So, if I may rephrase my question: If I
use an oversized hole for the dowel, which glue would you use?
(Anyone?) Please bear in mind that the sawn neck-end will be end-grain
so the adhesive needs to be good for that too...
No, it involves steaming the old joint apart and re-setting it, not
sawing cross-grain. I'm no luthier, but I know you don't saw through
If you're repairing a broken neck, I believe long scarf joints are the
way to go, not dowels. Are you expecting to play this thing
And aren't you the baboon who posted to uk.d-i-y about epoxy and
bridges ? I'm beginning to suspect a troll here. How about you leave
the musical instruments alone and stick with molesting goats on
This is not intended as an insult, but... Yikes. It sounds like you're
about ready to ruin a cool old instrument that has lasted for 80 years (or
more?). The repair you described kind of makes me cringe.
Try getting some guidance from a luthier, or have them do the repair. You
might try asking over in the "other stringed instruments" section on the
www.mimf.com board. There's also a new book (within the last year I think)
available on lute construction from GAL. http://www.luth.org/luteblrb.htm
I'm not that familiar with lute construction and how the neck joint works.
But I know there are methods for steaming guitar necks apart without making
everything else fall apart.
Use ground hide glue (not liquid hide glue)... The idea is to keep repairs
and modifications as reversible as possible. With epoxy, you're going to
have the final word on this instrument.
Also, make sure a neck reset is what the thing actually needs. If the neck
is warped or the top is warped, a neck reset might not really help it int he
end. If all you need is to raise the action slightly, what about making a
replica bridge that's just a little higher?
assuming (i hate that word) that you're using something like dowel
points to line it all up (drill one side, insert dowel points, dry
assemble and tap to mark) you're going to be pretty close...
I'd be tempted to only drill one oversized hole, if possible.. then
use something like low tech carpenters glue that has a longer "wiggle"
time than the newer glues..
with a glue that has a longer setting time, mixed with a little fine
sawdust from your cut, you should be ok..
Greetings and salutations...
(assuming this is not a troll....)
On Fri, 17 Sep 2004 09:07:42 GMT, email@example.com (Jim T) wrote:
First off, my question is "why?" My second question is "you
haven't done much of this sort of thing have you?" Another one is
"what is your goal for working on this instrument?"
Actually, what would be MOST helpful would be for you to post
some pictures to alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking of the lute. That
would make it a lot easier to have a good opinion of what needs to be
Now, in the pursuit of information...if you are having to
reset the neck angle because it has warped from the tension of the
strings, it seems to me that there are more problems than just a
neck angle. It might well be that the neck itself is damaged or
too light, and, in that case, you probably need to look at replacing
the entire thing.
In any case, I am not sure that your plan will work because
I don't think that you can create a strong enough joint to withstand
the forces of the sring tension AND dynamic forces of playing. Any
joint like this is going to be a weak spot, and will likely be
liable to break, especially if you produce a deliberately sloppy
hole for the re-enforcing dowels.
The only way this might work, having mulled it over a bit,
would be to use an epoxy and microbubble mixture. The microbubbles
add a chunk of structural support to the glue, and might make
it strong enough.
Having kind of wandered around, though, I would say that
before you did anything, I would suggest talking with a real luthier,
who can evaluate both the value of the instrument, and, the best
way to restore it.
Jim T's post over in rec.music.makers.builders titled "Refurbishing an old
German lute-guitar (resetting neck & repairing split)" has a lot more info
and links to pics, the same post over here might have cleared up some of the
confusion (I didn't see it till after I had made the above reply).
At least on a guitar, it's actually a compression joint and doesn't take all
that much force to hold it together. Harry Fleishman
(http://www.fleishmaninstruments.com ) uses a bolt-on adjustable neck and can
actually loosen the bolts and make adjustments while it's strung up to full
tension (through an access panel). He could probably glue it up without the
dowels and it'd stay put if the mating surfaces were tight.
I ended up using dowels and epoxy, and I'm happy with the result. An
experienced luthier whose opinions I respect suggested glue alone
would be OK, without the dowels, but I felt dowels would encrease the
strength considearably and I'm sure it has. I did a test on some scrap
wood first and after that, I knew it would be fine. The joint now
looks exactly as before and is probably stronger than before. Luckily
the neck was dead straight. It just needed resetting.
Thank you all for the help, advice and suggestions. Much appreciated I
can assure you I wasn't trolling, like the hot-headed freak suggested.
The instrument was very beaten up and unplayable when I bought it. Now
it is all back together and plays like a dream. I'm happy!
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