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Defretted neck radius sanding..

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by D.Don, Sep 24, 2008.


  1. Sorry for all noob questions here, and thanks for all great answers and heads up!!

    :)

    I just decided on and ordered a 10" radius block for the neck I have defretted here. All slots are filled with woodfiller, and I am gonna do some basic sanding to level the filler down to the board surface level and then I plan to radius the neck.

    Anything else I should be thinking about before goin on with it (rosewood fretboard)?

    A visit to the wood craft shop tomorrow for some different grit abrasive paper will probably confuse me, any recommendations on what to go with from rough to smooth?

    Cheers!

    D.Don
     
  2. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    Hi D.Don,

    Really, I swear, I'm not chasing you around the forum :).

    You might want to get a really good straight edge (one that's accurate to about .001"). You can get one from Lee Valley Tools or Stewart MacDonald. Since you're levelling a fretless, you'll want that fretboard to be really flat and straight so you can get a comfortably low action without any buzz.

    Armed with that straight edge and a good backlight or feeler gauges (to tell how level the board is), you'll be able to find the high and low spots and sand them out with the radius sanding block.

    That's about all I think you should do before you level out the wood filler and radius the board.

    You'll probably want to start with about 100 grit if there is a lot to level out on the fretboard, then work your way up to about 320 grit to prep the fretboard for the finish. If the board is already very level, you could skip the 100 grit and go straight to 220 grit.
     
  3. Hehe, I really appreciate all the advice I get here, so no worries m8!

    It's not a lot to level out, I sanded down the filler just about so there is no left over filler where there's no slot or "cracks", and then I did some freehand sanding all over from top to bottom along the neck with a smoother grit (no sign of what grit it is on the paper so I have no clue), and it looks quite ok now, and I just wait for the radius block to arrive. Since the block is 30 cm tall and it's a short scale neck, I kinda was hoping that the block would do the trick evening out the fretboard in the final sanding here?

    Cheers!

    D.Don
     
  4. Question though, Truss rod, right now its all loose since I figured that'd be for the best during the work, and I assume it should stay like that for the radius sanding as well?

    ;)

    D.Don
     
  5. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    Hi D.Don,

    You're right, since the radius sanding block is that long it should do a pretty good job of levelling out the fretboard by itself.

    You'll want to adjust the truss rod so that the neck is as flat as possible before you start levelling. For some necks this is when the truss rod has zero tension, for others it takes a little tweaking. Get out a straight edge and check the neck before you start to see where you should adjust the rod.

    If the neck has a little bit of backbow even when the truss rod is at zero tension, you might want to put some weights on the body (while the neck is attached to the body) and put a support under the headstock to take out some of the backbow before you start levelling. You can use bags of sand for weights. This will make the levelling faster and more accurate.

    Also, I take back what I said about the sanding grits. Since you're radiusing the board, I would start with 100 grit first and get the neck very close to the final shape before smoothing it with the finer grits--starting with the 100 grit will save you some time.
     
  6. I kind of figured it would, there was a 60 cm one as well, but it cost a lot more and I quite didn't think that would be needed. It's my first defret project ever, and I am very grateful of your input and comments here Xylem, you got a bunch of nice basses goin there on your website I see!!

    I think the neck is pretty straight, maybe a lil slightly banana (as in fretboard mid has a tiny "valley" or how to explain it) and I will see this WE if I can find a straightedge at the tool-shop, long enough to verify that, though it probably wont be a precision one ..

    Will look into the grit alternatives in the shop as well.

    Thanks!

    D.Don
     
  7. Hmm, could you tell us where you found this 60cm block?
     
  8. wow, quick response - cheers!

    they have a good selection of tools, and better than buying from the US! cheers!
     
  9. Apparently they make (ie. the radius grade) those sanding blocks on demand, I had them on the phone to verify delivery times, and with a bit luck I get it tomorrow, but I think monday though..

    I have ordered some other stuff from the before as well, they're very fast with handling and such.

    D.Don
     
  10. hmm, a while ago someone posted a method to make a radius sanding block using a kick drum. and I think there was also a method using a bandsaw.

    ive searched but cant find them - anyone remember these?
     
  11. I read the kickdrum one yesterday here on the forum, dont remember where..

    I imagine luthimate has some kind of machine for that though ..

    D.Don
     
  12. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    I'm glad you posted that link to Luthimate D.Don! I'm always looking for other luthierie suppliers.

    Thanks for the compliments on the basses, I've got another one in the works that should be done in about a month.

    You should post pics when you're done with the defret.

    Have a good one.
     
  13. Cheers!

    Here's where I am now, waiting for radius sanding, and then stain (black) and finally danish oil.. (if you think it looks treated, it's coz I cleaned it with mineral oil after sanding down the filling of the fret slots).

    [​IMG]

    ;)

    D.Don
     
  14. vbasscustom

    vbasscustom

    Sep 8, 2008
    i use my own radius block jig that works wonders for me, all it is is a flat peice of ply wood or mdf, with 2 verticle peices of mdf stading at a 90 degree angle, and a long stick mounted to the table top. a router is mounted on the wend of the stick with the cutter head facing the stading mdf. a short or long peice of pine or spruce is then clamped between the 2 peices and depending on how many inches you screw the long peice to the table the larger or smaller the radius (ex. if you mount it 12 inches it will give you a 12 inch radius. i was gonna ad a picture but it was took big and couldnt resize it, if you really need it to understand i can email it to you, just tell me.
     
  15. Wow, that sounds cool, yeah I guess a photo would be in place here and probably more than me that is curios on how that looks and works!

    :)

    D.Don
     
  16. ppk

    ppk

    May 16, 2007
    what i did for my de fretted bass was... well i dont know the technical name but my padre calls it bear sh** its super hard epoxy filler that is mahogany colored. ill try and find out the name of the stuff but what i did was i mixed up a nice sized batch and took a peice of scrap that was roughy the width of the fret board and drilled a bunch of holes in one side so the epoxy has something to grab. then i covered the widest part of the fretboard with johnsons paste wax and so the epoxy wont stick to te fretboard. then i globbed some of the stuff on the fretboard and block. then i clamped the epoxy sandwich and let it set over night. then WHAMO i had an accurate radius block for almost no cash. Add some double stick tape and some wet dry sand paper and have a niceee FB with no dead spots.
     

  17. Finally got my 300 mm radius block, but ended up cuttin it to 278 mm as there's virtuall nowhere in paris you can get abrasive sheets for wood in finer grit than 120-150 that are longer than 280 mm ... seems like standard sheets here are 230x280, and rolls are only 120-150 or less ...

    D.Don
     
  18. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    Hi D.Don,

    You could get some low to medium-strength spray-on adhesive and then just stick several pieces of the standard sandpaper sheets on the block.
     
  19. Nah, I went for cutting, 278 mm and the 280x227 mm abrasive sheets can be cut in stripes of ~75,5 mm each and I get three per sheet that fits like a glove on the block.

    Thanks!

    :)

    D.Don
     

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