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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!
Man I like that body shape. Looks like one of those Russian watchamacallits. Got to try one this spring when my garage (wood shop) thaws out. Cool neck but I'm dangerous with a chainsaw.
The Russian balalaika looks quite a bit different in that it has a "rounded" backside and a slanted transom (i.e. the side that we often attach a tail-piece onto rather than on the sound board). The "rounded" backside is built from usually 7 staves, with the pieces fit together at odd angles (look up "stave construction" and "Oud" for more details).
What Randy S. Bretz has is a regular trapezoid shaped box with the shortest side approximately the width of the neck, making it appear like a triangle. This design likely makes it easier to attach the neck or possibly yields a stronger neck-to-sound box joint.
I have built one triangular box guitar and I really like the shape and size, easy to hold. I think I have posted some write-up on it under my Home Made Resonator Boxes 101, v.2.0 discussion group. The triangular box guitar is still one of my favorite builds. Here's a photo:
If the balalaika still sounds appealing, there is a free set of detailed plans for building In the form of a .pdf file on the Internet. I have a copy, and with a bit of research might be able to find the URL of the original site. We should have a balalaika build-off (after a seminar on stave construction techniques). Just kidding about the build-off... I'm not ready for that.
P. S., I Googled "Building a Balalaika" + "James H Flynn" and got 2 hits, but could not find the .pdf file link. I did find this info:
"Building the balalaika, a Russian folk instrument"
by James H Flynn, Jr
Vienna, Va., U.S.A., 1984.
here is the link Rand,
I really like this design
I agree with John on the deeper saw being a 'tenon saw'.
The narrower saws are called 'back saws' I believe. That's what my dad called then and it's good enough for me.
You guys are probably right about the saw names. I've been messing around with wood working for less than 2 years, so what do I know? Or maybe Yanks call them differently, has happened before.
Hi Donny Bell
My names Leo and i know its a little bit two late to answer this messege but i always cut my scarf joints by hand using a normal irwin jack saw. At first my joints where uneven untill i made a simple jig it only taken an hour and has saven me from hours of stress.
Leo, it's never to late! I am always looking for ways to improve my process. I bought a Stanley "Fatmax" hand saw that seems to do really well on the 1 1/2" wide pieces for the neck but not so good on the 3" pieces I cut for the headstock. Do you have any pictures of the jig you made?
wow well aint this the thread that just wont go away..
ok so ppl got other suggestions, but i thort id tell you this cos noone else did, to make a successful scarf join its essential that your neck is nice and square to begin with, this is far more important even that a nice clean cut..