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Old 11-01-2020, 03:40 AM
Arumako Arumako is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 25
Default Fretting over Fretboards and Other Minor Points

Hello AGF. Hope everybody is hanging in there. Things in my neck of the woods are relatively stable; and guitar project progress is slow but significant.

So, just as I settled on my rosewood fretboard, wouldn't you know that my supplier put some ebony up for sale at 50% off! One piece was pitted pretty badly, but had a beautiful lighter hue streaking through the fretboard length...of course, he offered a further discount and I just couldn't resist!

Wasn't sure if the board would have enough thickness after radiusing, but it does (barely), and I'm really liking this. Ebony is much much harder to radius, but... I dunno... rosewood or ebony?

Can't make up my mind, yet; so, needed to improve the area under the fretboard extension. The right shim (treble side) came off easily with a bit of heat. However, an unexpected crack in the sound board under the left shim made clean removal impossible. First, the cracked top and left shim needed to be glued back together using Titebond and clamped. Then the shim was removed with a sharp chisel instead of heat. The structural integrity of the area was verified and finished with some 600 grit sand paper.

Of course, the area under the fretboard extension needs to be rebuilt; so some scrap from the ebony fretboard was used together with some old reclaimed Canadian birch hockey sticks. Years ago, a hockey enthusiast friend had some old sticks that were broken or unused, and gave the scraps to me. I really enjoy working with this wood and they are used sparingly in my projects whenever appropriate.

Before the fretboard extension is finalized, the gap in the dovetail joint needed to be addressed. There's just enough room for a small file to clean inside. A piece of scrap Koa will be shaped and glued into the gap.

On to the bridge...really wanted a bridge with a bone saddle, but couldn't find one with an ebony base. The bridge is a bit too light in color; so, some flat black nitro-cellulose lacquer was thinned to about 7 parts thinner and 3 parts paint. Rubbed clear thinner into the bridge, then proceeded to rub the bridge with the thinned out flat black lacquer. The lacquer seeps a bit into the rosewood and acts a bit like a stain. You can still tell it's rosewood, but the color is darker like...walnut. It will go well with either the rosewood or ebony fretboard.

With a pressed arched top that's at least 50 years old, it's quite difficult to have a completely symmetric arch. The few cracks in the top also make it really difficult to match the top arch to the arch in the bottom of the bridge. I'll definitely need to use the tool that ArchtopLover talked about earlier in this thread; but for now, I needed to resort to the "sandpaper pull" trick to get the bridge flush to the top. It's still not perfect, but it's much much closer.

Only small steps of progress this weekend, but really pleased with where things are headed! Thanks for letting me share AGF! Stay safe everybody!
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