Greetings Again Nation......


Another question for those who dabble with scarf joints for the headstock/neck: I don't use power tools exept my dremmel and drill so all my cuts are by hand. But my scarf joint cuts are uneven and require a lot of extra work to make them look decent. Any suggestions on the best type of hand saw to get a straighter/cleaner cut? I've tried a coping saw, laminate saw, a Stanley "Fine Finish" hand saw, and even a hack saw. The only thing left to try that I can see would be one of those Japanese style double-edged saws, or possibly a box saw (which look a lot like the aforementioned Stanley saw). A miter box doesn't give me the angle I need/want for the cuts (looking at 12-15 degree angles). Any thoughts? Unfortunately I don't have access to a table/band/scroll saw- otherwise I'd make my cuts and call it a day!


Any and all comments welcome and appreciated!



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Even with cutting mine on a table saw using a jig, I still don't feel the joint is tight enough for a good glue up and so am sure the same can be said for cutting by hand.  That said, it is possible to do this without power tools.  My first choice would be hand saw then a number 5 or 6 hand plane to fit the two pieces together.  (a couple of years ago I just about completed my collection of hand planes at flea markets and yard sales #3-7)  If that is not an option for you, I would try block sanding to get a good fit.  I glue sandpaper to planed blocks of wood for a lot of tasks where I want to try to keep my sanding square and flush without rounding edges.  To make these blocks last longer I use good wet/dry paper.  I use just a simple glue stick you get at an office supply store.  Very cheap and works great.

If you want to try a hand plane also do a search for shooting boards.  With one of these and a sharp plane with the blade trued, you can yield good results.

A good sharp tenon saw will do the job. You can make a simple mitre box to your preferred angle.  You'll need to clean up the cut, but the saw isn't the key to making clean scarf joints.  Until I got my bandsaw last year, I used to simply clamp the timber in my vice at the correct angle, and saw straight across the top of the jaws with a disposable "Jack" general purpose saw.  The saw looses it's set after a lot of joints, but that's a lot of joints for a $5 saw. I clean the cut surface on my bench sander, but careful sanding with a block & sandpaper will do the job.

Hi Donny,

I had the same problem with the angles but what i did was as follows

IF you have acess to a electric mitre chop saw set the angle up to 45 degrees then make a fence out of scrap mfc with a fence fixed to the base,

I will try and post a picture tommorow of it and you will see .you can then cramp the peice of wood to the fence so it doesnt move as you cut

+5 for Don Goguen and Chickenbone John. A good jig always helps. Plus see my blog at for more info on how to plan for a scarf.


I'm a great believer in doing things by's pointless buying a $1000 tool to make a $100 guitar unless you are making LOADS of them. I was up to about 250 guitars built before I got my (secondhand) bandsaw...but for cutting scarf joints, sawing by hand is actually more accurate and cleaner. 

Very interesting and I usually do mine on a band say BUT will finish off with a hand plane. The issue with the band saw is that it might have the tendency to drift which would make the cut uneven and would require post cut work. Much like doing twice the work, so I will tinker with the idea of making a mitre box. That shouldn't be too hard. I can even make one that has adjustable tension to hold the work.


Thanks for the comments everyone...... I am attaching a photo of the side view of my last build. I was able to construct the neck with a scarf joint..... just seemed like a LOT of work. More than anything I guess I was looking for an easier way.




Nice cut from what I can see. Neck seems a little thick but hey, it works right!

Say, how did you get the chair and guitar to stay that way on the wall like that?


Superglue >:-E

For 3- and 4-string CBGs, there are easier headstock designs, such as these...

Here's a slotted headstock w/o a scarf joint:

Here's a non-slotted, non-scarf joint head:

And here is a scarf joined slotted head:

And here are some build photos to give you an idea on how to make these other style headstocks...


Hopefully these photos are worth a thousand words to you.


good morning, how thick is  the wood you use for  these necks shown here? good pictures,thank's

Hi Bizzaro.

The wood I use both for building head/neck assemblies and sound boxes is sold by local (Shenzhen, China) building suppliers as "trim wood" and comes in lengths of 2.2 meters by 3cm by 0.5cm. So the thickness of each layer is 0.5 x 5 layers = 2.5 cm, or about a 1" wide neck. Most of the threes stringer necks I make now are 6 layers for a 3cm wide neck to allow more room between the strings. For 3 and 4 stringers, these laminated necks hold up real well without using truss rods. The oldest laminated necks I have are about 1.5 years old; so longer term, I'm not sure how they'll hold up. So, far, so good! You'll need a lot of clamps!



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