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View Full Version : Fretting a bound fingerboard and semihemishperical fret ends VIDEO



Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-25-2014, 12:00 PM
This is a sampling of the procedures of how I fret, which I admit is slow and messing.

I normally hammer/glue all frets in first.
Bevel the sides.
Give them all the semihemishpericalling they deserve.
Then grind lightly the tops to make them all level
Re Crown up to 600
Polish frets.
Oil the fingerboard with either linseed oil, or (these days) Howards wood preserver.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma3c-Gpnnzc&list=UUdb8TdJQyNMKE8R6AFOPVwA

sequoia
11-25-2014, 06:06 PM
Thanks for the video Beau. This is not usually how it goes around here. A quick violent affair with hammers and chisels and then we move on... Thanks for the part at the end with the little chisel to take off the tangs. Interesting that you fret the fingerboard after it is attached to the finished piece. I would be afraid of flying hammers and sharp objects.... Nice finish on that body.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-26-2014, 05:53 AM
Yer- i was taught to fret after finishing and have just always done it that way. I see that fretting before finishing is a smart move and ill probably do it on my next build- at least the installation. I also want to get a press.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-26-2014, 11:06 AM
The middle fret shows the end result of a semihemispherical fret end compared to the industry standard bevel end (which work fine BTW)

A bound fretboard with semihemi fret ends takes probably 4-5 times longer then a standard non bound FB with bevel fret ends.
73384

fungusgeek
11-26-2014, 04:30 PM
I see you using glues, both what appears to be a PVA type glue and what appears to be a CA glue.
How do you clean the left over glue 'smears' off the fretboard?

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-26-2014, 05:07 PM
razor blade like these: http://www.amazon.com/Enkay-334-D-Single-Blades-50-Piece/dp/B00MS369MA/ref=sr_1_19?ie=UTF8&qid=1417061243&sr=8-19&keywords=dewalt+razor+blade

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-27-2014, 11:10 AM
another vid detailing one fret end


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTVYHHTzl6M&feature=youtu.be

Wicked
11-27-2014, 02:24 PM
Yer- i was taught to fret after finishing and have just always done it that way. I see that fretting before finishing is a smart move and ill probably do it on my next build- at least the installation. I also want to get a press.

I have a question regarding installing frets prior to gluing the fretboard on the neck... I assume that this would cause some bowing back of the fretboard, due to the pressure of the tang in the slots. Is this an issue, or am I just over-thinking this?

sequoia
11-27-2014, 06:50 PM
I've not had that much a problem with curling fretboards. I just gently massage it out and clamp it seriously tight between two pieces of melamine particle board and let it sit over night to relax. Also the clamping pressure helps level and seat the frets. At least that is my theory.... not that it totally works.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-28-2014, 04:51 AM
I think fingerboard 'curl' established from the compression of wood by the fret tangs is, or at least should be, a small thing to worry about. Ive never had a problem with it. The natural way the instrument re establishes good geometry is with normal string pull- On ukes I sand a small amount of relief into the middle and tapering towards the end of the fingerboard. Another way would be to give the tangs a quick flick of sand paper or file to shorten them.

There is a good Mya moe video (one of the early Birth of videos) with a jig that un curls a fingerboard that is fretted prior to glueing onto the neck.

DennisK
11-28-2014, 05:33 AM
I fret on the finished instrument. According to LMI's fretwire dimensions chart, their uke wire tang is .024", whereas my StewMac fret slotting saw is .023". And by my experience with StewMac's wire, it's probably the same. I have to grind the barbs off entirely, and it's still a tight fit. I make little divots with a dremel wheel for glue to lock into, and haven't had any trouble with them coming up.

Fretting the board before gluing to the neck is probably how most people deal with the large tang, because the slots can wedge open and make way for the barbs to get down in there, and then clamp it between flat things to embed the barbs in the wood. Definitely a good way of doing it. At least if you like unbound boards. Because binding may crack from the wedging stress, if it wasn't glued to the neck.

I did fret one on the neck without grinding the barbs off, and still didn't have any back bow trouble. But most of the frets aren't 100% seated, and the instrument died a painful death in the process from the extreme force it took to get them in at all... heel lamination separated, sides cracked, upper transverse brace cracked, soundboard fractured in various places. Fortunately I managed to resurrect it in one miraculous gluing operation, leveled the frets, and still play it to this day. But that was the time I learned that not all fretwires will fit a standard slot without modification.

dustartist
11-30-2014, 12:44 PM
Why put yourself through all of that trouble? You need a fret slot that fits the fret wire you are using. Having a slot smaller than the tang and then grinding off all of the barbs and then some to get it to fit? Think about how much time that wastes and then think about the relatively small expense of setting yourself up with the right saw and fret wire combination. The StewMac fret wire is made to fit a .023 slot which you already have a saw for. I like the 0764 fret wire from StewMac for ukulele. It fits an .023 slot perfectly and you won't beat your next uke to death trying to fret it....

Kekani
11-30-2014, 12:54 PM
Beau, thanks for the vid. I'm stealing the pounding of the fret. I was wondering what you did that for.

And although I've seen it before, I finally made a jig to hold the fret wire. And I finally splurged to get a Hosco nipper - I'll let you know how it works (my Klein just died).

For the fret slot size questions - this is why there are different sized saws, from .023 to .025.

And StewMac isn't the only place with fretwire. And LMI has Evo, which I use on selected builds.

And, I'm was shocked at how many guys at the UGH Exhibition asked about my fret press. If I did it again, I'd just get the current one from StewMac.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
12-01-2014, 11:13 AM
And, I'm was shocked at how many guys at the UGH Exhibition asked about my fret press. If I did it again, I'd just get the current one from StewMac.

I was thinking of buying those radiused inserts (about $5 each) and caul (about $40?) from stew mac and trying to fit it to a Harbour Frieght press (about $30)- Is this what you did, and advise against???

Kekani
12-01-2014, 09:03 PM
I was thinking of buying those radiused inserts (about $5 each) and caul (about $40?) from stew mac and trying to fit it to a Harbour Frieght press (about $30)- Is this what you did, and advise against???
Exactly what I did.

Of course, now you have to add on the drilling for the caul, and drilling & tapping for a set screw, which took a machine shop to do. Also, need to find a flat metal plate to press on. Cost was very close to SM at the time with shipping.

SM has a spring loaded handle (which seems nice) AND an aluminum table that works with their fret slot jig, or something like that. I have my own, but I'm sure I could make it work.

There are just some things you gotta buy from SM, like the nut/saddle vise, Foredom/Dremel router base, and fret press. IMO.

Just got the Hosco in. Haven't used it, but it seems worth it. More to come.

Flyfish57
12-03-2014, 06:14 AM
I was thinking of buying those radiused inserts (about $5 each) and caul (about $40?) from stew mac and trying to fit it to a Harbour Frieght press (about $30)- Is this what you did, and advise against???

I was going to that too, but after calculating the parts, shipping and my time, I bought the Stewmac set. I'm happy I did too.

Kekani
12-03-2014, 06:33 AM
Hosco small workd well on the SM 147 wire. Its a keeper. Its "iffy" on the 764, but fortunately, I only use that wire for Tiples, which I would say I don't do, but I have 2 on the bench right now.

Ron B
12-05-2014, 08:50 AM
Hi,

Thanks for that video. A beautiful instrument. I don't think I'll switch to installing frets at that stage of construction though. I can't imagine working up the nerve to hammer those 3 or 4 lowest ones over the body. I've got a tiny modelmaker's tablesaw with a blade that cuts a good kerf for the fretwire. I saw the slots while the board is still rectangular, and trim it to fit the neck. I've ground a groove into the end of a shortened mason's brick chisel, and use it with a small arbor press to squish the frets into the slots. The press and the modified chisel are yard sale items and set me back less than $20. I sometimes see the frets cause the board to arch a bit, but there's not much force there, and it flattens easily when glued to the neck. I'm curious now to see how often adhesives of any type are used in the slots at initial installation.
Thanks again for a peek at how you do it.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-05-2014, 11:39 AM
Instead of a hammer to start the fret in the slot I use a pair of pliers on which I've ground the opposing faces of the jaws smooth. It's a lot less work and very little distortion of the fret. I use the StewMac cauls in my drill press to send 'em home. One thing about the drill press I should mention is that I put a small bar clamp on the belt & pulley to keep the chuck from moving when I press.

jcalkin
12-06-2014, 06:49 AM
Back in the day (decades ago) I used to cut the frets exactly to length. Measure each fret position with a caliper and then use the caliper stem to measure the fret wire and cut it with a jeweler's saw. I also ground away the tang barbs completely so the tangs were a tight drop fit in the slots. The frets could be tapped on the ends to line them up perfectly. The fretboard was waxed, and CA was wicked into the slot under the fret. A quick swipe of the ends with a coarse file epoxied to a wooden handle made everything pretty. I didn't bevel the fret ends, just rounded them as shown in the video. I called them hotdog frets, because the rounded ends made me think of a tiny hotdog sliced lengthwise sitting on the fingerboard. Not beveling left a skosh more playing room on the fret crown. When I got away from electric guitars I went back to hammered, beveled frets to save time, and because acoustic players aren't as manic about having the lowest possible string action.

sequoia
12-06-2014, 09:00 AM
I'm going to try that sometime. I love the idea of just pressing them into their slots gently where they sit perfectly. All so quiet and precise with none of this squeezing and banging and swearing.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
12-08-2014, 03:27 AM
An old way of fretting (as show in a few 1980's luthier books) was to epoxy them in.

I remember reading a way to protect the top of your guitar while fretting-- "Place a sheet of asbestos over the face of the guitar for protection". THanks Irvine Sloan. (thats a real quote btw)