Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Prep for Reattaching the Neck - Gretsch Ukulele

Before I go any further, I'm going to admit this right up front.  I did reglue the neck on the ukulele, and it was not a perfect job.  So I'm going to take it apart and do it again.  But what you see here is part of the preparation for reattaching.  I'm just not going to show my goof!

The old dowel has to come out of the neck.  There's no way to get it out other than to cut it.  So I did.

I'm going to put a new dowel in, so I drill out the old one.  I used a 1/4" drill bit as a guide, then I moved up to 3/8" to get all of the old dowel out.  The dowel is a 3/8" so that works out perfectly.

Here's the new dowel in place.  It's a bit long - I cut about 1/2" (maybe 13mm) off the length.

This dowel attachment is not the ideal way to attach a neck.  I found this out when I reglued the neck.  What I goofed on was the lateral alignment.  I was so focused on making a tight neck joint, that I overlooked the horizontal alignment.  I wound up with the neck tilted side-to-side (as I say, lateral) a couple of millimeters.  So I have to steam the neck apart, clean it up and try again.  My neck set is also off a bit, so I need to correct that a tad too.

I'm not too worried - I'm pretty sure I can fix it.  As Dan Erlewine says "practice on junkers."  This isn't exactly a junker, but it has been a good learning project. 

This alignment issue, by the way, is why better quality instruments use a dovetail or other joint to attach the neck - there is much more accuracy than relying on a dowel.  The neck can rotate too easily on a dowel.  When I re-reglue this one, I need to clamp the neck down in 2 directions.  Lesson learned.

Not to mention that one of the back cracks came unglued while I was handling the body.  I didn't put any patch there, but now I know I need to. 

 
 
 
 

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