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In the past, when building guitars, or re-setting necks, I have always glued the shims into the dovetail cavity of the guitar.  Is there any reason why the shims couldn't be glued to the neck part of the dovetail?  It would be easier to take wood off the shims, and leave more support wood in the actual dovetail, itself.  I typically use maple veneer, or maple tongue blades for the shims.

I'm pretty much self taught, using 4 or 5 different books, but couldn't find anything in any of the books I have.

Thanks for the help, George

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I have always glued the shims to the neck tenon then adjust the fit.

Ditto, I've always glued the shims to the neck tenon of the dovetail... 

Thomas and Mike,

Thanks for the info.  Don't know how I got started doing it the other way, but time to try your version.

There's also no reason you can't adjust the fit by making and thicknessing the shims appropriately for a nice tight dry fit and gluing the shims and dovetail in one operation.  It's worked for me these last five decades. . .

I know, Frank, and I've watched you do it. Didn't work well for me [and I don't remember why; it's been so long ago] so I glue my shims to the neck tenon, adjust the fit, then glue the neck on in a separate step.

Frank, I'm a shim gluer but am going to give your method a shot tomorrow. I recall a step-by-step on frets.com and will research it. Do you sand two tapers into each shim (lengthwise and breadthwise) as a start? Or just one?

I thickness or taper them as required to make the dovetail fit tightly without shifting the neck side-to side, particularly at the bottom of the dovetail   I don't worry much about how tight the dovetail is at the top because the thrust is all in the direction ff string tension, pulling the neck to the body.

I did it this way for a number of years, but found that after a solid dry fit, once hide glue is applied, the shim tends to swell a bit, often leaving the fingerboard extension proud (I mostly use holly shims).  So I switched to gluing them on the neck dovetail.  But either is fine if that's the way you're used to it .. Tom

I do it just like Mr. Ford describes above.  I believe this is how they taught us to do it in luthiery school, but I've looked at Frank's website so many times since then, I don't remember the exact origin of the method...

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