I'm in process of a fairly extensive repair on a 1914 A1. Having taken off the fingerboard,I notice what seems to be a Maple insert down the centre of the Mahogany neck.........looks like Gibson have done this to make it easier to make that awkward neck joint,
Do you have any info on this method of forming the dovetail on the maple and then inlaying it?
Thanks and best regards............Eric

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Quote Eric Carswell " Do you have any info on this method of forming the dovetail on the maple and then inlaying it?" end quote.

I know you are asking Mr. Ford about this but I just want to ask if you are sure this is how it was done?

I think that cutting/fitting the dovetail first then fitting the mahogany to the maple inlay and the body of the mandolin would make the joint much more complicated than just gluing together the neck then cutting the joint. Also, I seem to remember seeing some pictures of this sort of neck once that indicated that the maple was inset before the joint was cut. I don't remember where but I remember that the mahogany was cut with a wide, deep "v" groove making it something like a thick veneer around the maple. I wasn't specifically looking for it but I don't remember seeing that the dovetail was already cut and I think it would have caught my eye if it had been. I think that inlaying the maple first then cutting the joint would still result in a joint that looks like your picture.

Then again, I could be completely wrong.
Ned, thanks for your reply. The thing is...........I just don't know !!
I have made my "A" style joints by first cutting the dovetail socket on the neck block and then transferring it to a cardboard "template" that I use for marking up the neck part of the dovetail . I then mount the neck ,heel up ,on an inclined jig that I then cut oversize on the bandsaw then trim in with chisels and files.
I was originally an Industrial Engineer .....a science largely perfected in the USA............and it strikes me that although Gibsons' instruments were very good , they were a thriving business and would probably not been as wastefull of their time in making this joint as I am with mine. That is why ,when I saw this, it struck me that if the internal curve in the heel was cut first and then the maple dovetail was "fitted" in , it would be a faster and thus,cheaper, joint to make.
But I am only any of the old Kalamazoo guys know?
I could be wrong, but, I think that the maple insert was for stiffening, and reinforcing the neck, and has nothing to do with the dovetail joint.

That's right, the maple reinforcement is just that, a stiffener added when the neck was in "billet" form. It was the standard, and only, neck reinforcement Gibson used before the adjustable truss rod. Earliest Gibsons had laminated necks with a dyed black 1/8" layer in the middle, but the dyed wood decomposed and the necks started failing, so they switched to the maple reinforcement somewhere around 1910. Ofr style reasons, they used a shallow 1/8" black inlay up the back of the neck. At the end of the peghead, they painted a black stripe to simulate the end of the inlay.

During the War Effort in 1944, Gibson made guitars with no metal truss rods, returning to the maple reinforcement of old. Just for fun here are some shots of 1944 J-14. You can see the reinforcement at the peghead end, just as you often can with the old mandolins:

All.............Thanks for your input.................Eric


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