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Measuring Neck Set Angle on Martin Guitar With Neck Jig

The neck dovetail is close to being perfect.  I cooked up a simple jig to hold the neck in place so I could string the guitar up and test the neck angle under tension.

The jig is really just a block of pine that's routed to hold a 24" bar clamp.  I tried the clamp on its own, but it kept sliding off the guitar.

Here's the butt end (hee hee).  I glued a piece of cork onto a circular scrap from the speakers I built to use as a caul to fit over the end pin.  I have four scraps I was saving and they finally got put to use.

No slip, no scratch.

The business end of the jig.  The yellow arrow points to the block that's routed to hold the bar clamp.

The green arrow points to another DIY caul made of InstaMold plastic.  While the plastic was soft, I molded it over the neck heel, then I stuck it on the jig and tightened up the clamp.  It holds the neck in place on the body.

Now I can put some strings on this puppy and tune it up and measure the neck angle.

Got some neck bolts to temporarily attach the strings to the bridge.  I'm only using 8 strings, but I should get enough tension to get a good idea of the angle.  The saddle isn't really shaped yet - I just rounded the top a bit so it wouldn't break the strings.  The final saddle (and nut) will get done last.

Turns out it was a couple of 64ths off.  So I took a tiny bit more off the bottom of the heel.

I also went ahead and used some strips of 320 grit paper to get the curve of the heel to mate tightly with the body.

Put the strips in so they contact the heel, then pull 'em out while holding the neck in place.

After a few passes, the fit is good.

Retesting the neck angle with a long straightedge.

It sits just on top of the bridge - perfect!

Now I'll glue the neck to the body.



The Complete Martin Guitar Restoration Saga
Restoration begins
Repairing heel break
DIY chisel for bridge plate removal
DIY bridge plate removal iron, Pt.1
DIY bridge plate removal iron, Pt.2
Steam removal of bridge plate
Bridge plate removed
Tongue brace removal
Crack repair and brace scallop
New bridge plate Pt. 1
New bridge plate Pt. 2
Patching hole in top
Final fitting of top patch
Installing carbon fiber rod
Fret removal
Fingerboard crack repair, Pt. 1
Fingerboard crack repair, Pt. 2
DIY fret bender tool
Refretting Pt. 1
Refretting Pt. 2
Tuner shaft repair
Neck reset - dovetail fitting
Measuring neck set with DIY jig (This page)
Gluing the neck with hide glue
Tortoloid Pickguard
Fitting bridge pins
Brace reglue
Making bone saddle
Making a buffalo horn nut
Restoration completed

 
 
 
 

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