4/14/2013

Workshop: Regal/Washburn Mandolin Neck Joint


Here's a mid-20s Washburn flatback mando on the workbench. These were made by Regal for Lyon & Healy and while they're much nicer than a typical in-house Regal brand instrument, they share the same construction. Here I've removed the fretboard binding and cut off the fretboard extension in preparation for a neck reset...


But, you ask, why not just drill into the joint and steam the neck out instead of removing the whole extension? Here's the answer: this has a dowel joint, not a dovetailed joint! It's the downfall of most Regal mandos as eventually the glue that holds the heel down at the lower part of the neck comes loose, as has happened on this guy, and the neck pulls forward.

It's thus necessary to slowly "twist" the dowel loose, aided by steam if necessary, but to twist that neck out the fretboard extension needs to be removed first. After the neck is reglued I'll also "bolt-through" the heel with an additional dowel or strap-button/bolt job in the lower part of the heel.


Meanwhile, the dyed maple fretboard shows the usual symptoms of the neck pushing against the board on the top -- it's got a hairline split on its side that was hidden by the binding.

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