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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Prepping for fretting

My piccolos don’t have a separate fretboard, as I’m sure some of you know already. This means the neck is set with an angle to get the strings clear of the soundboard and bridge. It also means I saw the fret slots after attaching the neck, since it might get shorter at the heel end as I’m making sure the surfaces match. 

This is the jig I’m most proud of. It’s held in place by the styrene rods that will become the fret markers. 



The first slot is where the nut will sit, it won’t be a slot for long. 



Paring down the fret marker rods. The neck has a lovely grain, it popped under the wash coat of shellac I put on before sawing. 



To properly seat the fretwire I relieve the edges of the slots with a triangular file. A couple of passes is enough. You can see the difference in the pic, slots to the left are done. 



Then I turn that first slot into a stepped ledge for the nut. The nut is held by the strings and a dab of glue. As always, my chisel is super sharp. Look at the cross grain shavings. 



Almost done. Here I come in from the other side to finish it off. The surface is crisp and shiny, no sanding is required. 



I really don’t mind abrasive tools for stock removal (as in a drum sander) or sometines rough shaping (as with the rasp on that neck blank), but for final surfaces an edge tool will always win. Here I’m chamfering the fretboard edges with a miniature plane. 



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