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Friday, December 6, 2013

Shaping fretboards

I slotted the fretboards and got ready to taper the sides. Holding them finger tight on the necks I marked with a pencil along the edges of the neck. Then I placed a steel straightedge at the marked line and scored a deep line with a marking knife. 

I want the fretboard edge to be ridiculously straight - chances are the edges of the neck are not at this stage. But I can fix that by sneaking up against the fretboard with a scraper when it's glued. 

Before, I would've sliced off a bit on the small bandsaw before planing. But now I have a couple of planes that'll make short work of bringing down the width. 

First up is a Stanley Handyman. It's a simpler version of the 4 1/2, the mouth is too wide and it lacks the adjustment screw for the frog. I've put a camber on the iron and it works sort of like a small jack plane. 

This plane hogs off most of the wood but is prone to tear the grain a bit. 

Next one is a proper 4 1/2, with the tighter mouth and the blade ground and set for smoothing. 

With this plane I work closer to the line and make sure it's dead straight. That's easy since the tool itself is a great reference. 

Finally I made a few passes with the small apron plane to get right into the scored line. 

And all this in ten minutes, both fretboards. I couldn't have done it faster with machines or sandpaper, and this way I only had a few handfuls of curly shavings to clean up instead of nasty dust. 

Continuing the low tech, stubbornly backwards way of doing stuff, I carved the ends of each board with my sloyd knife. Templates, spindle sanders and router - pfff. 

Fun stuff, methinks. (In the well of the left one you see traces of the never ending Argapa quest for quality control.)

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