So, I'm finishing up fixing up a 100 year old plus no-name 5 string with a walnut neck and dowel and find that the neck has about an 1/8" "wiggle" if you twist it from side to side after it goes into the pot. The wiggle remains when it's screwed into the pot and the metal heel-to-pot clip is screwed into the neck heel. It just seems that either the wood on the dowel wore down or the square opening on the pot got worn.
So, would you shim the dowel with some extra walnut to make it a tighter fit? I'm concerned that this wiggle will mess up keeping everything in tune. THANKS!
You might check the glue joint where the dowel enters the neck. Remove the neck from the pot and try gently twisting the dowel to see if that's where the wiggle is coming from. If so, it will need to be re-glued.
Right now, there's no glue, just the dowel wiggling in the pot. Will reglue be enough or should the dowel be tighter in the pot with no wiggle before reglue?
I think Trey meant that the dowel may be loose in the neck. You'll have to remove the neck from the pot to check that. It's the first thing I'd look at.
The dowel should be glued solidly into the neck, but no glue is involved in attaching the neck to the pot.
Edited by - Dan Gellert on 09/27/2022 08:33:49
The dowel is glued into the neck and this joint can fail. But that doesn't sound like what's happening here. There are many types of "metal heel to pot clip" and each has its own ways of not working. A photo of your particular setup would help.
My neck does that at times
If you need a shim, then use one
A century of usage and humidity can merit a little shrinkage
AndrewD, I think, has the best approach: a photo of heel to pot clip. The more information, the better; you may not need to re-glue if wedges are loose or missing, or a hardware screw has loosened up.
Necks have been attached many different ways and knowing what's in there will help in figuring out the possible problem.
You may, in fact, need a shim or a re-glue; but maybe not,if the hardware isn't right.
Old banjos sometime need thicker metal shims on the typical metal neck “collar” the snugs the neck TIGHT to the rim. Typical Vega shim looks like a squared horseshoe.
If the square hole in the rim is slightly larger than the wood of the dowel stick, you will get this wiggle. This would be either the hole was cut a fraction too large or the dowel a fraction too small. Also things could have worn over time.
My approach would be slightly shim the sides of the rim hole to eliminate the movement. Maybe one shim would suffice. In this instance I would glue a thing piece of wood veneer to one side. Trim once dry and insert the neck. It may bind as going in so the shim needs to be sanded/filed a bit until the dowel moves freely in an and out and there is no wiggle. Just my 2c worth.
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