TLDR: Should I glue the neck stick into the neck?
My dobro's neck came loose while in its case. Upon taking it apart at my luthier's shop, we discovered a very silly and weak system for holding the neck in place. Others must have encountered this. Here it is before disassembly. You can see how the neck came up and bent the fingerboard.
Here is how it is held together. The neck stick screws into a block inside the guitar. The other end is a ramped tenon that fits nicely into a mortise on the neck. This joint is not glued.
The fingerboard is glued to the neck. The ramp tenon fits into the mortise on the neck and stops when it hits the fingerboard.
The neck is not secured to the neck-stick tenon except by friction. The neck is not attached to the body at all. The tail end of the fingerboard is screwed to the top, under the last double dots. THAT'S IT! The whole thing relies on the fingerboard sturdy and unbendable and being glued to the neck (which failed), and two little screws!
Upward pressure on the neck causes the ramp tenon to press up on the fingerboard, attempting to bend it and break the glue bond, which it did.
Our plan is to re-glue the fingerboard to the neck. Then, we'll attach the heel of the neck to the body with long screws from the inside. I'd also like to pin that ramped tenon to the neck with a couple dowels. Glue on the M&T would be strong, but I don't want to be cursed by some future luthier ??
The answer to your question is yup. The original glue on the neck stick probably gave up from age or abuse and string tension. I don't think it could have left the factory if the stick wasn't glued in place. If it did it would have looked a lot like it does now except it would have been shiny, pretty, and broken. You don't have anything to lose by gluing the stick back in place and screwing the end back into the thumbnail moon shaped chunk of wood inside the soundwell. If that doesn't hold it in place, then go ahead and screw away if you want, but you probably won't need to.
Edited by - 2BUCKS on 06/09/2022 12:15:21
Thanks for the reply. What is really weird is that I see absolutely no signs that it had ever been glued. It seems obvious that it should be glued, but this one never was. The fit of the ramped tenon into the mortise is perfect- not too tight, no slop- so it will be perfect for glueing.
Now, what glue? My luthier buddy will make the right call, I'm sure, but normal PVA (elmers type wood glue), or hide glue (that can be undone later with heat)? I think we'll just PVA it and get on with our lives :)
I think you and your luthier buddy are making the right call.
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