Monday, February 28, 2011
In the last installment of "Fretting Wards Guitar" we got to the install of the frets.
Here I have all the frets glued and in place. I then nipped off the edges and beveled the sides on an angle using a special beveling tool. Basically it's a file embedded in a block of wood on a 60 degree angle. After beveling I rounded off the ends using a three sided file with the edges burnished giving me a smooth end. Rounding the edges gets rid of the sharp ends that grab your fingers as you slide your hand up and down the neck. After rounding the ends I used an old school lacquer stick to fill the ends of the fret slots. You might have noticed that I cut the tang on the fret about a sixteenth of an inch from the end of the finger board. I've noticed over the years that if you leave the edge of the tang ending right at the edge of the finger board, when the wood shrinks in cold or dry weather (and it does), the tang pokes out and catches your fingers as you play... this is very uncomfortable. So I cut the tang and fill the gap. creating a smooth edge for your hand.
After all that fun, it's time for the main event, level and crowning. To start I mark each fret with a Sharpie. This will give me a way to judge when all the frets are level with each other. The idea here is for each fret to be level with the frets surrounding it. No high spots or low spots, just level from top to bottom. Here I used a special sanding block that has a radius that matches the radius of the neck. In this case the neck radius is 7.25", which is standard for the 70's Strat necks. When all the frets show metal on top and no more Sharpie is visible on the tip of the frets, then we have level frets. I use a straight edge to double check for high and low spots.
All is good here, next step is the crowning.
Posted by dave at 8:41 AM