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Fingerboard leveling question, what do you do?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Rickett Customs, Apr 16, 2009.


  1. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Looks like my build has gone extremely well (In my sig "headless fretless 5").

    All except the fact that I was trying to do a pre-setup (just to give it a run, before it gets finished). After lowering the bridge and setting them to a suitable level I adjusted the truss rods up and discovered, I have one particular place that's buzzing (around the 15th position, before and after that spot, it's ok). I stripped it took the tension off the trussrods, put a straight edge after a few minutes after that. Right at that before mentioned position, while holding the straight edge (4'), after the 15 position, it gradually drops after that position. Looks like there's high spot there, now the question (finally). I could heighten the action with no issues whatsoever, but I know I can get the action way better than that.

    How do each of youse guys level out a fingerboard (method/tools/etc), especially when it's already glued? Yes, this is a flat fingerboard. I think someone else here may have a better idea, than I.
     
  2. Yvarg

    Yvarg

    Mar 10, 2007
    Buena Park, CA
    I use sandpaper glue to a long, flat surface to sand out any uneven spots in a fretboard. A pane of glass works well if you can find one the right dimensions. Right now I have a piece of stainless steel about 11" x 3" x 1/4"; you can check metal suppliers' scrap bins for stuff like that. Just make sure whatever you use is truly flat with a straightedge (obviously).
     
  3. dblbass

    dblbass Commercial User

    Mar 24, 2007
    Beacon, NY
    Owner of MBJ guitars, Maker of fine sawdust for Carl Thompson Guitars
    Yea i find that after i carve a neck there are always some spots that show up. Level it with a long peice of (perfectly) straight metal square stock with some 80 grit and then work your way up the grits. I think stew mac sells a FB leveler but its pretty expensive.
     
  4. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Yeah, I thought maybe a piece of glass would be mentioned. Looks like I'll do some searching around for some in the meantime.. Thanks guys.
     
  5. Yvarg

    Yvarg

    Mar 10, 2007
    Buena Park, CA
    Personally, I don't like to use a piece of glass. I did for a while, but it started to cut my hands (weird, because the corners and edges were smoothed out) and it was kind of delicate. Of course, ytour mileage may vary.
     
  6. powerbass

    powerbass Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    a very sharp block plane can plane the high spot flat, then use sand paper to flatten the whole FB. it's curious that you have a high spot. did the fb glue down ok?
     
  7. you know...you can fix the glass to a block of wood for a handle...use Sikaflex or similar product

    overhang the wood slightly to protect your skin

    Personally, I have a 2" x 12" x 1" piece of hardwood that is true (I check it before every use with a good metal straight edge)....I use this for fret leveling mostly, but it would definitely work on leveling a fingerboard.

    it's also important to identify & mark the peaks and valleys first, using a quality straight edge. That way you can gauge your progress as you go.
     
  8. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    I didn't have a single issue gluing the FB, but it's been sitting on there for a short time though.

    I purchased a 3' x 4" wide piece of Marble (cut it to about 8" long), that is made for doorway thresholds and some 180 and 320 aluminum oxide sand paper, man, what a difference it made. Erikjoberik had suggested it to me, it was 10X easier than I thought it would be. Now I'm able to get the action much lower, with no issues.

    Thanks for the suggestions guys.
     
  9. marble is an excellent idea
     
  10. Available at every Home Depot, in lengths as long as you'll ever need (they'll cut it for you too), heavy so it does the work for you, and flat as Kansas. :D
     
  11. alas, no Home Depot in australia...but we have a chain like it, called "Bunnings Warehouse"...there's one just down the street...I'll have a look 'round....'til then, my trusty hardwood board is still my go-to leveling block
     
  12. bimmer

    bimmer

    Nov 14, 2005
    I'm lucky enough to work in a shop that turns out a lot of Corian, I've got a nice 10" x 3" offcut of 3/4 that does the job nicely. Usually I turn the offcuts into nut blanks, but this stuff is what DuPont call "grape" - read day-glo green. Worth asking around joiners' shops for any offcuts if there's anybody nearby who handles it. Talking of levelling, a pattern maker's trick is to go over the piece with chalk or a soft artist's pastel (not the oil kind) before sanding, the high spots show up more clearly that way. You might not want to try that on timber with large open pores.
     

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