• Don

Tonelog: Useful Jigs

Cutting the dovetail joint is always the most challenging part of any build for me so I've created a couple of jigs to make routing the joint nearly foolproof. With careful setup these jigs can cut the joint very squarely and precisely.

I use them to cut the dovetail an 1/8 to 1/4 inch proud of the joint and then hand chisel it down to fit. This allows for minute adjustments to be made to the neck angle as it is fits into place. The Rosewood Wizard is the second build I've done using these jigs and it was easier this time to get them setup. The only real challenge is that the bits must be secured in the chuck as shallowly as possible to get the joints cut to the proper depth. Once that's determined it's just a matter of taking several shallow, careful passes to remove the central bulk to a depth of .550 inches and then use the dovetail bit to angle edges to a depth of 1/2 inch.

The dovetail jig is designed with a hinge to allow the dovetail to be cut at the desired angle. Once the angle is locked in and the neck is centered on the jig, the inverse template is carefully positioned and clamped in place. From here the process is much the same as above. The bulk of the outer material is removed in several shallow passes, and the same dovetail bit is used to route the inside angle of the dovetail. The precision of the cuts made by the router, particularly when done with patience in several shallow passes, makes for a tight very close fitting joint.

Both cuts went smoothly and the resulting joint is very clean and tight, however the side to side angle is just a bit off center. The neck pitch as it relates to the top looks good but won't be set precisely until final fitting. It took a full day to do both setups and make the cuts so final neck joint fitting will have to wait for another day. There's plenty of work to do on the neck in the meantime. The truss rod channel and peg head must be finished before initial shaping and final fitting can take place. More on that in the next entry.

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