Guitar Making Tip No. 287 is about major glue joints. It’s important to allow all major glue joints to dry overnight before flexing them. It can be tempting to go right into the next step in the construction process, but it can cause damage if you go too fast.
Major Glue Joints on the Guitar
If you rush too fast, you can weaken the joint, and over time it can fail.
When you are making a guitar, there is really no need to rush. It should be a fun experience, and leave you wanting more time in the shop, not less. All rushing says is that you do not enjoy your time, or you want to just get the project done. Don’t let that happen to you.
A guitar is a longer project, and it’s that way for a reason. There are a lot of little stopping points where you need to wait for things to dry. This is normal, and rushing the process can lead to problems down the road…
The Neck to Body Joint
The biggest joint on the guitar is that of the neck and the body. This is a simple joint, that 170 pounds of string tension is trying to constantly break. If you have a weak neck to body joint, your sound will suffer.
The joint between the body and neck needs to be rock solid, and any movement in that area will reduce the vibrations that the string make. When this happens, the strings do not energize the top plate as much, and the instrument produces less sound.
The sad thing is that you may never really know if it’s your neck to body joint that is the problem. You may just have a reduction in sound that you cannot explain. This can all be avoided by making a good joint, and not flexing it before the glue has fully dried.
See Also: Glue Covered Problems are Harder to Fix for come fun gluing tips.
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Other Big Joints
The joints at the center seams of any book match are important, simply because the plates are so thin that the pieces can separate easily. Give these time to fully dry before bending the piece along that seam.
Also, the bridge, and the plates to the sides is important, because you are going to be adding stress to that area when you do the next steps in the building process. Give these time to dry better, and the process will be easier.
Also, your fretboard and neck can be a problem if you never let the glue fully dry before testing out the ability of the truss rod. A truss rod on soft glue can pop the fretboard right off the neck, and you will have to clean the area for hours before you can glue it again.
See Also: How to Make an Acoustic Guitar Bridge for a simple, stress free method of making a bridge for your guitar.
Keeping Busy While the Glue Dries
If you want to stay busy when the glue is drying, there is a solution. Since you can’t work on the pieces until they are fully dry, you can work on other parts instead. This way, you rotate your work, and you nearly always have something to work on as another part is drying.
For example, you can glue up the top plate, and then start the milling process on the back plate. After that, you can start gluing the braces, and then making the neck blank. You might also start making and carving the bridge while the fretboard is gluing to the neck.
There are so many pieces on the guitar that you can easily find pairs that will allow you to work on something while another part dries. All you need to do is keep working on your pieces, and resist the urge to stress a joint that still needs time to dry.
See Also: Make a Baton Press for Book Matching and you can save money making this jig yourself.
Your homework is to look at your guitar making process and write down or at least think of pairs of guitar parts that you can make in order, that will allow the glue time to dry on the first while you work on the second. This should be several pieces, so you have variety.
The next time you are in the shop, resist the urge to break something out of the clamps before the glue has fully dried. Instead, go over to your list and pull out the other half that you already decided upon.
Work on that piece, and when you get to a gluing stage, you can flip back to the list and find another part. After a while, you will just know what you need to do, and you will flip through pieces and parts really quickly as your other parts dry.
Guitar Making Tip No. 287 Wrap-Up
Guitar Making Tip Number 287 is all about not stressing your joints before the glue has had time to fully dry. You need to give certain joints more time to dry than others. This is because they are load bearing joints, and very important.
The joint between the body and the neck is very important. This one can rob you of tone and sound, reducing the volume that the guitar is capable of making. Give this joint, as well as several others more time to dry, and you will not be risking as much.
Other examples are the plates at their center seams, the bridge, and the plates to the sides. Give all of these joints more time to dry, and they will come out better. You will have less to worry about, and your guitar will sound better too.
1,001 Acoustic Guitar Making Tips for Beginners
Tip No. 287 is from my book, 1,001 Acoustic Guitar Making Tips for Beginners, which has a thousand more great tips to get your first few builds on the right track. There is no secret to guitar making, just a lot of small things that you need to get right. These tips will help you.
While I publish the overwhelming majority of my woodworking content for free, I also have several books available as well. You can see them on my Available Books Page, and they cover several different woodworking disciplines.
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