Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Slotting for frets
I fit the necks to the piccolo sized ukes before slotting for frets. Since these are Swewaiian style ukes they won't get a fretboard, instead the frets are seated directly into the neck. I want the 12th fret to be exactly at the neck to body joint, a location that is largely unknown before the neck's in place. During fitting and alignment the heel end might get shorter, and the joint may well be off square as long as it all lines up and any skew is within the width of the fret crown.
So, I've made a fret slotting template that goes on the neck as you can see in the first pic.
The saw I use is from Stewmac and has a depth stop. The perspex in the jig is 4 mm, the tang of the frets are 1.4 mm so I set the stop to give me slots deep enough without being too deep. I don't mind a miniscule gap under the tang, that's better than a poorly seated crown. And it's good for sucking in some ca glue too.
Thirteen slots cut. The one at the top isn't for a zero fret, I'll use it for creating a ledge for the bone nut. You can also see the jig from underneath.
And here they are, remarkably similar to real instruments. I'll give them a wash coat of shellac before fretting.