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Glue for a set neck

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Gaolee, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. Gaolee

    Gaolee Strat-Talker

    Jun 8, 2011
    The Great North Wet
    Here's a question which might be an oddball question: What kind of glue would work best for a set neck build?

    I have used marine epoxies for furniture building with great results. The epoxy fills gaps completely and makes the joint strong, solid and monolithic without a huge amount of clamping pressure. Once it has cured, it is stronger than the wood.

    I have not used hide glues. The disadvantages, in my mind, are the heat necessary and the clamping requirements. The advantage is that hide glue draws the joint together in a way epoxy doesn't.

    These are the two glues I'm thinking about using, with epoxy being my preference. I don't know what it does to transmitted vibrations. I'm sure it would be plenty strong for a guitar neck joint. Hide glue is the traditional adhesive, so I'm sure it would transmit vibration just fine, but I'm not sure it's strong enough to glue a Fender style neck to a Fender style body.

    Since somebody here has already probably tried something like this, I figured I would ask here first.

  2. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 28, 2011
    I used Titebond I think it is called. It worked like a charm. Just make sure you clamp it together and it dries pretty quickly.

    Gorilla glue is strong, but its puffiness is annoying to me.

  3. jflintmac

    jflintmac Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 2, 2010
    Yellow carpenters glue is best for joining true surfaces. Hide glue is not necessary for this purpose.

  4. Gaolee

    Gaolee Strat-Talker

    Jun 8, 2011
    The Great North Wet
    Thank you, gentlemen. I have built enough furniture to know how to clamp for carpenter's glue. I just didn't know if it was strong enough or if it transmitted vibration. I appreciate the advice.

  5. Dave Howard

    Dave Howard Strat-Talker

    Nov 29, 2010
    Ava, MO
    I've always heard Titebond and other wood glues are normally stronger than wood if the joint fit and clamping are done right. I do know for sure though, that epoxy has some downsides you may not want, the biggest being that epoxy softens when it warms up. One oops in the car on a hot day and it could free up.

  6. Gaolee

    Gaolee Strat-Talker

    Jun 8, 2011
    The Great North Wet
    I haven't had that experience with epoxy, but then I live in a cool climate. Hide glue works on heat, so that's a concern with it possibly. Heating gets hide glue joints apart, so I understand, but I haven't ever used it. Carpenters' glue is another issue. It redissolves in water which has its problems if you ever need to take the neck off again, but if the guitar is built right, it shouldn't be a problem. I had forgotten that I repaired an upright bass with carpenters' glue and also a broken guitar headstock, both over 20 years ago. The guitar is still floating around somewhere and sill ugly but playable. I appreciate the advice, and I'm very happy to think carpenters' glue is all you need. I have used it to build all kinds of things and understand it very well. It just seems to straight forward to build a guitar with it. Guess not!

  7. Carlsoti

    Carlsoti Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 19, 2008
    Chandler, AZ
    The problems most people have with epoxies are typically related to mixture or mixing. Put in too much of one part, or not enough of the other, and things don't work right. Don't mix it enough, and it just won't set. The other is that most epoxies need heat to polymerize. I've got some "good" lay-up epoxies that are supposed to have a working time of "at least" a few hours, but start to kick in as little as 15 minutes when working in the heat in the garage in AZ.

  8. oldwolf

    oldwolf Strat-O-Master

    Jun 6, 2011
    San Antonio, Texas
    +1 for the Titebond, but they now make several formulas. I think the original would be the best choice.
    Gene Warner

  9. stratphobic

    stratphobic -----------------------

    Jan 14, 2011
    Fort Smith, Arkansas

  10. madmat

    madmat But I digress Strat-Talk Supporter

    Oct 13, 2010
    Allatoona Landing
    With hide glue you can get the neck off (if needed) with heat and steam but not so much with Titebond or epoxy. It's still a total PITA from what I've seen but the instrument can still be salvaged.

    That's the only real selling point I can see for it over newer glues. I wouldn't use Gorilla glue for anything that you plan on doing a good smooth finish on. It's plastic based and getting it all off with no residue would be problematic at best. Plus since it expands it could have a dimensional impact on the neck such as pushing the fretboard up.

    I've got some rubber reinforced CA glue that I'd use if I ever made a set neck guitar. It's what is used when reconing speakers for attaching the spider to the frame. It's thick, cures slowly, fills gaps and can withstand a whole lot of abuse. Plus it's dimensionally stable. It doesn't expand when it cures.

  11. kgbeast

    kgbeast Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 23, 2010
    OC, California
    Hide glue is the best. It holds plenty strong and can be taken apart with steam. You can get a cheap small rice cooker or crockpot to keep glue hot, but with just one neck joint you do not even need that. It will not come apart if you leave the guitar in the car on a hot day even if in Phoenix (it is ballox).