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Thread: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

  1. #1
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    I do not like pounding or pressing in frets into the board over top of the top board so i thought I would try this method and so far is is working.

    I made the fret board out of Osage orange and it has a 10" radius sanded in. The frets are Jescar FW50078 (i.e., CH = 0.050" & CW = 0.078"; nickel/silver).

    They still have to be dressed -- I need to get narrower file. But the operation went very easy and fast with no concerns about hammering.

    It will be interesting to see how hard it is to force it flat on the neck? I am assuming it will bow when I release it from the board?

    I've decided to scoop the extension hence only one fret there.
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    Bernie
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    Hi Bernie. That is the way I do all of my new builds- easier, faster, and much more consistent results on hundreds of instruments.

    j.

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  4. #3
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    Same here. If you make sure the neck surface is flat and you use a rigid radiused clamping caul (it can sit on the frets or be notched to fit over the frets), you can glue it up flat. Then a light fret dressing is all that's needed to level everything at the end.

    The amount of backbow that the frets cause on the loose fretboard depends on how big the slots are, etc., but if you (carefully) bend the fretboard forward it will force the frets barbs into place and will usually eliminate any backbow. It's a good idea to do this in the extension area, because fretboard extenders aren't stiff enough to counteract fretboard backbow induced by the frets. This is actually an advantage of fretting off the neck, because you can eliminate the backbow in the extension area before gluing the fretboard on.

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    Another advocate of fretting the board before gluing it to instrument.
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOldBores

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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    I used to do it that way - and it is faster and easier - but I find I get better results (flatter boards, less dressing later) if I level the board after fitting to the neck and then fret it.

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    I do all mine beforehand also. And I use an arbor press. Always support the extension from underneath with a wedge.

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  12. #7

    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    I install frets before gluing too.

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  14. #8
    CP Mandolins
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    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    Me too.

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  16. #9
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    I've never had problems fretting after gluing the board on. It's the same as refret but without pulling the old frets. I use wedge under extension and widen slots slightly on the extension and file away the barbs slightly to lower the pressure of frets on slots. When I plane the board perfectly straight and install new wire I don't need any fret levelling after installation.
    Old gibsons were fretted even before binding went on.
    Adrian

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    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    Pretty obvious that I did not have a great NEW idea!

    Thanks for all the replies!
    Bernie
    ____
    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

  19. #11
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    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    I've always fretted before installing the board.. I too use an arbor press to seat the wires.. If careful, the board will level out and the binding can be scraped pretty flat.. just try to make the neck and fret board as close as you can first...
    kterry

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  21. #12
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    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    Possibly the only really sharp trick I learned from a youtube video:

    To get a really strong temporary bond between two surfaces that is easy to disassemble later:

    Run masking tape along the length of both gluing surfaces. Then, run a couple of beads of CA [super glue] on one of the masked surfaces. Clamp or hold together until set.

    When whatever work you want to do is complete, separate by peeling the tape off one of the surfaces. Sometimes lifting a corner of the tape and running a spatula underneath is helpful. Finally, peel the rest of the tape off the other surface.

    This has ALL kinds of ramifications in lutherie.

    On my last fingerboard replacement:

    1. I drilled tiny holes through the 3rd fret and 12th fret inlay pockets, and rough fitted the fingerboard to the neck. I bound the fingerboard, secured it to the neck using pins through the holes I had drilled through the inlay pockets, and cleaned up the fit.

    2. I masked the back of the fingerboard, super glued it to the masked surface of a nice, flat, heavy board, and inlayed and fretted it. I fitted the 3rd and 12th fret inlays, but did not glue them in yet.

    3. Then I separated the fingerboard from the flat board and left the tape on the back of the fingerboard. This time I glued the fingerboard to a narrower piece of wood to make a nice handle to hold the board while I sprayed the bindings.

    4. I separated the fingerboard from the handle, took the tape off, and scraped any stray lacquer from the back of the board.

    5. I glued the board to the mandolin, again using the locating pins to hold it exactly in place, let it set for 48 hours, installed the 3rd and 12th fret inlays, levelled the frets, and strung it up. Very little levelling was necessary. Fretting the fingerboard while it was glued to the flat, heavy surface kept distortion to an absolute minimum.

    I will continue to use this technique when replacing fingerboards. The temporary gluing trick is useful in all kinds of places, from gluing sandpaper to a block, to gluing a nut or saddle [or anything else] to a handle so it can be machine sanded, to the fingerboard trick, to anything else that needs a handle or work support. Thanks to the British fellow on youtube who posted the video because he was having difficulties getting Stick-it sandpaper where he lives.

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  23. #13
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    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    I always fret first then glue the fretboard to the flattened neck. I leave the frets out at 2 and 10 and use a couple of safety pins to pin the fretboard and ensure that it stays lined up where I want. I use a 14" radius block I made for guitar work. The mandolin fretboard has a 12" radius, but the 14" works fine for gluing. The radius block has holes for the 2 and 10 fret pins to pass through. I also use a strip of wood to protect the back of the neck from the clamp pressure. After it's dry, I install frets 2 and 10 with a Stewmac fret press caul in my drill press, but they could be tapped in.
    Here's a photo of a mando that I recently refurbished showing the fretboard re-glue. Hot hide glue is best.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  25. #14
    Registered User StevenS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    Yep.

    Steve
    Steve Sorensen
    Sorensen Mandolin & Guitar Co.
    www.sorensenstrings.com
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  26. #15
    Kelley Mandolins Skip Kelley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    Bernie, I press the fretwire in the board and then I'll glue it on. I have very little dressing to do.

  27. #16

    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Possibly the only really sharp trick I learned from a youtube video:

    To get a really strong temporary bond between two surfaces that is easy to disassemble later:

    Run masking tape along the length of both gluing surfaces. Then, run a couple of beads of CA [super glue] on one of the masked surfaces. Clamp or hold together until set.

    When whatever work you want to do is complete, separate by peeling the tape off one of the surfaces. Sometimes lifting a corner of the tape and running a spatula underneath is helpful. Finally, peel the rest of the tape off the other surface.

    This has ALL kinds of ramifications in lutherie.

    On my last fingerboard replacement:

    1. I drilled tiny holes through the 3rd fret and 12th fret inlay pockets, and rough fitted the fingerboard to the neck. I bound the fingerboard, secured it to the neck using pins through the holes I had drilled through the inlay pockets, and cleaned up the fit.

    2. I masked the back of the fingerboard, super glued it to the masked surface of a nice, flat, heavy board, and inlayed and fretted it. I fitted the 3rd and 12th fret inlays, but did not glue them in yet.

    3. Then I separated the fingerboard from the flat board and left the tape on the back of the fingerboard. This time I glued the fingerboard to a narrower piece of wood to make a nice handle to hold the board while I sprayed the bindings.

    4. I separated the fingerboard from the handle, took the tape off, and scraped any stray lacquer from the back of the board.

    5. I glued the board to the mandolin, again using the locating pins to hold it exactly in place, let it set for 48 hours, installed the 3rd and 12th fret inlays, levelled the frets, and strung it up. Very little levelling was necessary. Fretting the fingerboard while it was glued to the flat, heavy surface kept distortion to an absolute minimum.

    I will continue to use this technique when replacing fingerboards. The temporary gluing trick is useful in all kinds of places, from gluing sandpaper to a block, to gluing a nut or saddle [or anything else] to a handle so it can be machine sanded, to the fingerboard trick, to anything else that needs a handle or work support. Thanks to the British fellow on youtube who posted the video because he was having difficulties getting Stick-it sandpaper where he lives.
    Is all this work just so you can save 50 cents on masking tape instead of buying a $4 roll of double stick tape?

  28. #17
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    Double stick tape is too thick and uneven for this sort of work, and the glue will creep. And it's spongy. And it's a mess to get off there. It does not create the hard, flat bond necessary for precision work.

    The glue and tape trick gives be a super hard bond that is only a few thousandths thick and doesn't move when I don't want it to. And it only takes a minute to put it on or take it off. You should try it.

    I do have a roll of double-stick tape. I've used maybe a couple of feet of it for Martin serial number plates/covers on their "technology" neck joints and battery clips and such. I don't see much other use for it. I suppose it would be passable for a handle for finishing work.
    Last edited by rcc56; Feb-17-2018 at 1:24am.

  29. #18
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fretting the board before gluing to neck

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Possibly the only really sharp trick I learned from a youtube video:

    To get a really strong temporary bond between two surfaces that is easy to disassemble later:

    Run masking tape along the length of both gluing surfaces. Then, run a couple of beads of CA [super glue] on one of the masked surfaces. Clamp or hold together until set.

    When whatever work you want to do is complete, separate by peeling the tape off one of the surfaces. Sometimes lifting a corner of the tape and running a spatula underneath is helpful. Finally, peel the rest of the tape off the other surface.

    This has ALL kinds of ramifications in lutherie.

    On my last fingerboard replacement:

    1. I drilled tiny holes through the 3rd fret and 12th fret inlay pockets, and rough fitted the fingerboard to the neck. I bound the fingerboard, secured it to the neck using pins through the holes I had drilled through the inlay pockets, and cleaned up the fit.

    2. I masked the back of the fingerboard, super glued it to the masked surface of a nice, flat, heavy board, and inlayed and fretted it. I fitted the 3rd and 12th fret inlays, but did not glue them in yet.

    3. Then I separated the fingerboard from the flat board and left the tape on the back of the fingerboard. This time I glued the fingerboard to a narrower piece of wood to make a nice handle to hold the board while I sprayed the bindings.

    4. I separated the fingerboard from the handle, took the tape off, and scraped any stray lacquer from the back of the board.

    5. I glued the board to the mandolin, again using the locating pins to hold it exactly in place, let it set for 48 hours, installed the 3rd and 12th fret inlays, levelled the frets, and strung it up. Very little levelling was necessary. Fretting the fingerboard while it was glued to the flat, heavy surface kept distortion to an absolute minimum.

    I will continue to use this technique when replacing fingerboards. The temporary gluing trick is useful in all kinds of places, from gluing sandpaper to a block, to gluing a nut or saddle [or anything else] to a handle so it can be machine sanded, to the fingerboard trick, to anything else that needs a handle or work support. Thanks to the British fellow on youtube who posted the video because he was having difficulties getting Stick-it sandpaper where he lives.
    Ha! Thanks! You know I think I posted that very video on this forum about a year ago. Safe to say i'd already forgotten about it though! LOL!
    Bernie
    ____
    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

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