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A Simple Scarf Joint Glue-Up Jig for Cigar Box Guitars

Original plans by Tracy Holley

A note from Shane: In this photo, I'm holding up two cigar box guitar necks. The neck on top is a straight headstock, which I show how to make in my book, Making Poor Man's Guitars. Straight headstocks sometimes require you to use a string tree of some sort to hold the strings down in order to crest over the nut without buzzing. The neck on the bottom is from an antique cigar box guitar and it has an angled headstock. Angled headstocks are featured on most pre-Fender guitars and have a good break angle at the nut. This style is known to produce more sustain and is preferred by some luthiers.

C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply has an informative blog on How to Cut Perfect Scarf Joints By Hand which features their Cigar Box Guitar Miter Box. However, the task of gluing the two pieces without slipping can still be a challenge. Tracy Holley created this simple jig to solve the problem.

A Simple Scarf Joint Jig for Cigar Box Guitar Building

I have seen a lot of people online asking questions about this, but I've not seen such a simple

solution. This jig is simply a hinged board that allows an angled clamping surface during gluing.

Start with a 5/4" X 3 ½"(actual) X 40" board.

Cut it into 2 pieces, approximately 10" and 30"

Use a hinge to connect the 2 pieces together.

At this point, the jig is complete and ready to use in this manner:

Clamp angled neck blank onto the long side.

Carefully align the angled peg head and clamp onto the short end of the jig.

Fold back at the hinge and add glue to the now-exposed surface. (Tip: adding a few grains of table salt to the glue will also help prevent slippage.)

Fold the short end of the jig (with the headstock) and clamp together firmly.

Use a flat block on the top with wax paper or foil between.

Clean up the excess glue with a wet paint brush.

It will give you a perfect scarf joint every time!

Got a tip of your own? Write it up with photos and send it to

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Unknown member
Jan 21, 2022

Thanks for the helpful tip! As a new hobby CBG building and player, building CBGs has helped given my creativity and desire to build a place to go. Sure you can get all fancy and complicated but keepin it simple, like with this jig, is the way to go. And, it’s rooted here in the good ole USA. Thank you Shame for being a great teacher and resource for all of us.

-Nate, Hudsonville MI


This is great!!! I'm building and trying this out tomorrow. One problem I've run into doing scarfed heads fir fretted cbgs is if tge joint isn't perfect it creates a high or low spot on tge face of the neck. Without a planer it makes it hard to get it perfectly level again.. Great article!


Unknown member
Jan 15, 2022

I‘m new to CBG building. I was introduced to the art by a friend who has built over 300 guitars in various styles. I have begun trying my hand at scarf joints. My first one although playable is not arst pleasing. My latest one is much better but still has its own problem. I plan on building this jig in hopes of improving my cbg builds. Thanks for the information. JS Welch Houma LA

Unknown member
Jan 15, 2022
Replying to

This was the first neck I made.


What a great idea! Definitely want to try it out. Thank you.


Dec 27, 2021

Thanks for sharing! Simple but effective, love it!


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