Marking the neck root

First, you need to calculate the final height of the neck root. To do that, you need to measure the height of the whole violin body /ribs+top+bottom plates/ where the neck root is inserted. The measurements are taken from the violin you are copying.

It is helpful to create a table summing up the measurements. See Fig. 1. for an illustration of a finished neck root. For our violin the numbers are as follows:

Overstand "a" 6.5 mm
Top plate thickness "b" 4.0 mm
Rib height "c" 30 mm
Bottom plate thickness "d" 4.0 mm
Total "x" 44.5 mm

Take a look at Fig. 2. First, you will need to mark the red lines.
  1. Mark the total height "x", starting from the fingerboard underside down the neck root wall, using a scribe.
  2. On this line, use a compass to mark, from the centerline, the width "f" of the button +0.5 mm. The button width for the Messiah is 17.5 mm plus 0.5 mm, 18 mm in total.
  3. Using your steel ruler mark the sides of the neck root wall. See the red lines marking the walls in Fig. 2.
  4. Trim the height of the neck root to the bottom line, retaining the angle, as in Fig. 3.
  5. Extend the side marking lines to the bottom side of the neck root as well as to the neck's underside. See Fig. 4 for reference.

Adding the nut
  1. Clean the nut bed of any remnants of glue.
  2. To create the nut blank, get a block of ebony and cut it to the dimensions of 8 x 7 x 26 mm. The grain direction should be that of the fingerboard.
  3. True the back and bottom sides, which will be glued to the fingerboard and neck so that they are at right angles and the nut sits well in its projected gluing position.
  4. Using your block plane and a file, create the front wall, sloping flush with the pegbox wall.
  5. Put the nut in place and trace the radius of the fingerboard, including the sides, on the back wall of the nut.
  6. Trim the width of the nut so that it stays only a little proud of the fingerboard width. Be careful when sawing off the ends as they easily split.
  7. Using your knife, trim the nut above the line of the traced radius, but stay 1 mm above it. Finish roughly with your file.
  8. Glue the nut with thin hide glue and holding in place with your hands for about 30 seconds.
  9. Remove excess glue and let dry.
  10. After the glue has dried, you may reduce the width of the nut further, so that it extends only fractionally beyond the width of the fingerboard.

The nut will be finished later after we have shaped the rest of the neck.

Category: Neck and scroll
Comment by
2017-03-15 23:58:01
why do you add the bottom plate thickness? THe neck root will sit above that?
[Comment deleted]
Comment by Vojtech Blahout
2017-03-19 00:32:32
Yes, the back plate extends into the button which the neck root bottom rests against.
Comment by
2018-02-05 10:28:03
So should "total x" not be a+b+c without d?
Comment by
2018-02-07 03:19:45
No, the aim of all this is to get the correct taper of the neck root. In order to do that you need to mark the final button width where it will ultimately be.

Marking the button width (f) at (a+b+c) will give you the wrong taper.