Hi friends...

I have just built by first neck and headstock and working on a second one. I am using 1 x 2 poplar. Scarf neck joint. For the headstock I have glued two short pieces of 1 x 2 to the existing neck/headstock piece (three wide) I have been drilling and using dowels to glue the pieces together.

My question is... has anyone built a headstock without using dowels? (just glue) If so... how did it work?

Thank you guys so much!!!


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You don’t need dowels for a scarf joint. I am on #7 build and these scarf joints have worked great.


I've never used dowels. Just glue. If you get a good joint it's not going to come apart. 

titebond glue and so is gorrilla glue good for necks/head stocks.

I glued a headstock and the next day after taking the clamps off it was lopsided so I tried to break it apart,

but was not having any of it and I consider myself a strong person.

in the end I had to recut and glue.

so no need for dowels for strength.

Thank guys!!!  That will save some time!!!

One trick I just learned from somebody here:  Drop 2 staples into one side of the joint, then cut the staple off with some flush cutters.   It will leave a sharp pin protruding, which will keep the joint from slipping until the glue dries...   

This has saved me a lot of time clamping scarf joints to my workbench...

Yeah, that were me. ;-). I stole it from a luthier's website.

Thank you for stealing and sharing!  Should we meet, the first beer is on me.

I just used dowels on my 6 string build that I'm working on. My 4 string CBG's are fine without, just a little more help couldn't hurt on the 6 string.

Josh Gayou has a good method for making scarf joints in his Advanced Cigar Box Guitar Building Guide. I have used this method successfully to make scarf joints. No dowels are involved. In fact, I have never heard of anyone using dowels. The scarf joint, in and of itself, is quite strong.

Available for free download here:


Thank all of you very much for replying to this post.  As always, your advice is greatly appreciated.

I may not have made myself very clear in my post. I tend to make that mistake a lot... my apologies.

My question was not about using dowels in the scarf joint... it was about using dowels in the headtsock when your're gluing extra pieces of wood to each side of the headstock in order to make it wider. I too use the system explained in Josh Gayou's manual using a scarf joint to attach the head to the neck.



I have never used dowels to attach the wings on the head stock.
Same as gluing scarf joint. Do a good job with glue and clamping and it's a strong as it can be. I laminate different wood this way into the head for a bit more interest.

I have never used dowels to glue "wings" on the headstock. The joint is quite strong.


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