Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Fretting about Fretboards

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    69

    Default Fretting about Fretboards

    I would like to make some cigar box ukuleles.
    The biggest stumbling block is the fretboard. I am considering buying a premade fretboard but those all seem to be rosewood and I would like to use more interesting woods.
    So the question is what do I need for an inexpensive set up for slotting and fretting using hand tools?

    Thanks,

    Roger

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Trois-rivieres,Quebec
    Posts
    37

    Default

    Most difficult thing is to find a saw with the right set (or width).
    Print a template with WFret stick it to the board with adhesive before tapering, using a good square of some kind saw on the lines.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    So. Oregon
    Posts
    1,756

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Canberra, Australia
    Posts
    660

    Default

    fret calculator at http://www.stewmac.com/FretCalculator

    or print out a template from http://www.ekips.org/tools/guitar/fretfind2d/


    If you are going to use the fretfind2d page you have to make sure you print your PDF at actual scale because some PDF readers default to shrinking over size pages or printing the browser window which can screw things up completely. It gives you an accurate scale, just a little shorter (or longer) than the one you thought you were printing. Printers have also been known to be slightly inaccurate. In either case double check that double the length between the "nut" and the 12th fret on the printout. If this is half of the scale length you thought you were getting you are good to go. If you are always cursing your printer because it gives you wonky looking printout, you probably should not be using it for this task. Some modern browsers will not let you fix things so you may have to save it to a separate location and open it up in an old fashioned pdf reader like Acrobat reader. I also had a slight issue with Acrobat flash player needing to be enabled when I tried to use it last time.


    The saw I use is a standard dovetail saw. I started out many years ago using a junior hacksaw and you may find a saw you have laying around your shed may do the job. For example I only had to hammer flat the teeth of the regular hack saw blades a touch to flatten the set of the teeth and they worked well too. See photo of set of test cuts I made using saws laying around my shed.

    FWW7T8TJ5Y7WBSE.LARGE.jpg

    Consider not having a separate fretboard and hammering the frets directly into the neck. This is how the older island style ukes were made. It is also pretty common in cigar box guitars.
    My friends call me Titch. I have been known to clown.
    Ian Titulaer is my normie name.

    https://sites.google.com/site/titchtheclown/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    69

    Default

    Thanks for the suggestions.
    I think I would rather do a separate neck and fretboard. That way if I mess something up I won't lose both.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    761

    Default

    My equipment is: ruler, scalpel, set square, saw. And a few clamps.

    Start with the board square, not tapered. Mark the nut face or zero fret position (scoring with scalpel along the set square line). Measuring always from that position, stab the scalpel where each fret should go. It helps to clamp board and ruler to a table so they don't move around.

    Now put scalpel in stab marks, slide up the set square, score a line. All your fret positions are marked.

    The easiest way to cut them, if you're not in practice with a saw, is to run the saw along the set square until you have got the cut started. I'd suggest practising on scrap first, it's easy to jump off line until you have a feel for it.

    My saw is a Japanese pull saw which cut just a fraction too wide a slot. I simply took a sharpening stone/diamond plate to either side to reduce the set, and thus the width of the cut. Less kerf means it might stick, but some candle wax on the teeth sorts that out. I clamp the board flat to my bench to cut the slots, moving the clamps to reach all the slots.

    If you want a depth stop, stick a piece of masking tape to the side of the saw blade and CA glue a piece of scrap to that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Catskill Mountains, NY
    Posts
    6,189

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sarastro View Post
    I would like to make some cigar box ukuleles.
    The biggest stumbling block is the fretboard. I am considering buying a premade fretboard but those all seem to be rosewood and I would like to use more interesting woods.
    So the question is what do I need for an inexpensive set up for slotting and fretting using hand tools?

    Thanks,

    Roger
    I've often thought about making a fretboard, but the precision required is daunting, especially without expensive tools. I've always bought fretboards, generally on eBay. They have some good deals, especially if you buy several at once. You can find nice maple boards there.

    One thing that is easier than you might expect is making the neck. I've done this several times. You can buy a block of mahogany from StewMac and cut out blanks for two necks from one block. Then it's just a matter of carefully shaping and sanding it.

    https://www.stewmac.com/tonewoods/uk...r-ukulele.html

    In choosing a cigar box, make sure the top is solid wood. My first build was with a beautiful box, but when it was almost finished, and I cut the sound hole, I saw that it was compressed cardboard. Not much vibration from that. I cut that top away and replaced it with a wooden one from another box. You can also buy necks with slotted headstocks, which adds to the appearance.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/10-Pcs-26-i...e/192842730382

    Cigar One2.jpg 12.jpg
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Catskill Mountains, NY
    Posts
    6,189

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfChris View Post
    My equipment is: ruler, scalpel, set square, saw. And a few clamps.
    CB Gitty has tools for lower prices, if you don't plan to make your living building ukuleles.

    https://www.cbgitty.com/christmas-ki...miter-box-kit/
    https://www.cbgitty.com/tools-templa...de-in-the-usa/
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •