View Full Version : Sanding relief into fretboard

07-09-2016, 05:20 AM
Hey guys,
Longtime lurker finally jumping in

I am building a neck with carbon fiber and am getting ready to glue the fretboard on but I'm confused with relief carving. I searched the forum and read all the posts I could find but I'm still not sure how or what I am suppose to do. Could someone simplify it even more?
Thank you

07-10-2016, 03:10 AM
Don't bother with introducing relief into the fretboard. I've never used it after hundreds of instruments and have never had a problem achieving a low action. Don't complicate your builds unnecessarily, especially your first few attempts.

07-10-2016, 03:42 PM
Maybe on your first build, building in relief is making things complicated but in the scheme of things relief is very desirable. Relief to a certain extent is an insurance policy. A dead flat neck is OK but even the tiniest amount of reverse neck bow when the neck settles introduces fret buzzing. By starting with a little relief you are allowing for the neck to settle in an unpredictable manner. One of the first things I do to assess a new instrument is to look for neck relief. Quality instruments mostly have a little neck relief.


07-10-2016, 04:43 PM
Just a hobbiest, and likely wrong, but here is my understanding, and what I do. You are trying to achieve a gentle arc of relief from 0 to around 5 thou and back to 0 from the 1st to the 12 frets. I achieve that by using a scraper starting with short strokes centered on the fifth fret area on the neck (before the fret board is attached) and strokes getting longer until I have worked that very slight arc into the neck. This means that your cf rod is set a little below the surface so your aren't carving into the rod (which would be hard). I measure the arc by using a good straight edge and feeler gauges. I also scrape a matching arc into a good stiff caul (with notches as I have fretted already) to use when I glue the fret board to the neck. If your cf is already glued and is flush, you can scrape the arc into the fretboard. The only downside to this is if your fretboard is bound, you scrape a very slight taper into your binding. You will still want the arced caul.


Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-10-2016, 05:48 PM
That's what I do Yank except I use one of those thick scrapers that StewMac started selling and I measure from the 1st fret to the body juncture fret. With sandpaper on a block I tend to put a bit of side to side curve into it no matter how hard I try to keeps things flat. Just a few swipes is all you really need.

07-10-2016, 09:12 PM
Guess I can't do the neck relief method since my CF rods are proud of the neck, and go into the bottom of the fretboard.

So, I don't sand it into the neck, and although I could sand it into the fretboard, I find myself building (or removing) it in as I level frets. Unless I'm doing a Tiple with smaller fretwire. My tenors have 147's (I think that's what it is), so lots of room.

07-11-2016, 04:29 PM
Thanks for the help guys!

Michael Smith
07-11-2016, 05:08 PM
a lot of guys will first dress the frets flat with a diamond stone then turn the stone sideways and work a little relieve into the frets themselves. There is a pretty good video of this at The Ukulele Site. http://www.theukulelesite.com it's the second video down. If I were you I might take that route on your first trip to the rodeo.