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View BFamous's profile

Question: creating the compound radius in a guitar fretboard, is there a jig?

by BFamous
posted 02-04-2018 06:08 PM


10 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4189 days


#1 posted 02-04-2018 06:17 PM

You can buy radius sanding blocks and sand
it in sections, blending the shapes. Stewart
McDonald sells those.

In factories it’s done with a jig mounted to
a belt sander. Grizzly sells those.

It can also be done with a sharp hand plane
and good judgment. You can make radius
templates out of paste board to check the
shape at various points of the fretboard.

One thing you do need for doing fretboards
is a really good straight edge. I also use
a “sanding plane” which is a piece of MDF
with plastic laminate glued to the faces to
keep it flat and sanding belt glued to one
side. I find it useful in flattening fretboards
and in leveling frets after they are put in.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2170 posts in 1145 days


#2 posted 02-04-2018 06:41 PM

For me it’s too exacting a process to risk screwing it up so every time I’ve done it (only 2 times) I’ve used a commercial product like Stew Mac.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View BFamous's profile

BFamous

322 posts in 662 days


#3 posted 02-04-2018 10:09 PM



You can buy radius sanding blocks and sand
it in sections, blending the shapes. Stewart
McDonald sells those.

In factories it s done with a jig mounted to
a belt sander. Grizzly sells those.

It can also be done with a sharp hand plane
and good judgment. You can make radius
templates out of paste board to check the
shape at various points of the fretboard.

One thing you do need for doing fretboards
is a really good straight edge. I also use
a “sanding plane” which is a piece of MDF
with plastic laminate glued to the faces to
keep it flat and sanding belt glued to one
side. I find it useful in flattening fretboards
and in leveling frets after they are put in.

- Loren


Thank you for the reply. I’m having a hard time envisioning your sanding plane – but I think I get the idea. Do you mean it’s just a long board (at least as long as the fretboard), that is perfectly straight with a belt sander belt attached? That would seem to make sense as it would guarantee the entire length under any one given string is perfectly flat.

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC :: http://www.FamousArtisan.com

View BFamous's profile

BFamous

322 posts in 662 days


#4 posted 02-04-2018 10:11 PM



For me it s too exacting a process to risk screwing it up so every time I ve done it (only 2 times) I ve used a commercial product like Stew Mac.

- Andybb


Yeah, I was debating going that way, but figured of all of the complex pieces needed, the fretboard is one of the ones I should actually be able to make if I just use some patience

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC :: http://www.FamousArtisan.com

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4189 days


#5 posted 02-04-2018 10:31 PM

Mine is 2 layers of MDF glued together. It’s probably
about 16” long and 3” wide. The size was arbitrary
I think because I had some 3” sanding belt. The
abrasive on it if fine, like 150 grit. A length of belt
from a handheld belt sander would be good.

View BFamous's profile

BFamous

322 posts in 662 days


#6 posted 02-04-2018 10:54 PM

thanks Loren. That makes sense.

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC :: http://www.FamousArtisan.com

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12927 posts in 2921 days


#7 posted 02-04-2018 11:11 PM

View Texcaster's profile

Texcaster

1286 posts in 2215 days


#8 posted 02-05-2018 12:06 AM

The only time I use compound radius is on a double bass FB. I rough them out on the jointer after being glued to the neck, I finish off with a plane and sanding blocks. These fbs are peculiar because the high point is the A string path. A bluegrass fingerboard is much flatter than an orchestral fb. I’m quite happy with a Gibson 12” radius for guitars and mandolins, low action without bottoming out on a bend. There are plenty of online tutes for compound guitar fbs.

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/238402

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2170 posts in 1145 days


#9 posted 02-05-2018 08:35 AM


For me it s too exacting a process to risk screwing it up so every time I ve done it (only 2 times) I ve used a commercial product like Stew Mac.

- Andybb

Yeah, I was debating going that way, but figured of all of the complex pieces needed, the fretboard is one of the ones I should actually be able to make if I just use some patience

- BFamous

Maybe if you could just do practice fretboards but they’re done after it’s put on the neck and that’s too much work to remove and re-do for me. If I was doing guitars that would be the jig I’d buy. Every Luthier I know uses commercial ones.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View BFamous's profile

BFamous

322 posts in 662 days


#10 posted 02-05-2018 11:42 AM



Here is one I saved on Pinterest.

http://www.kappi.com/blog/2015/09/frasvagga-for-greppbrador/

- Rick_M

That’s one heck of a jig. I’m now thinking making a jig similar to grizzly’s belt sander one may be simpler and probably better since it’ll better ensure the entire length under any one string is flat…

Thanks for all of the help and ideas.

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC :: http://www.FamousArtisan.com

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