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Fingerboard Taper Question

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by joeviau, Sep 23, 2003.

  1. joeviau


    Jul 9, 2002
    Rhode Island
    I'm going to be getting a pre-slotted fingerboard from a place
    like Luthier's Mercantile or Exotic Woods.

    What's the best way of taking the board down to its final taper?
    I have a few theories but I'd like to see what those with more
    experience have to say...

  2. gyancey


    Mar 25, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I use a straightedge and router with a pattern bit to make a template out of MDF which I then use with the same pattern bit to taper both the neck and fingerboard at the same time, unless I'm doing a bound fingerboard in which case magic gnomes help me out.
  3. joeviau


    Jul 9, 2002
    Rhode Island
    I thought I saw those gnomes at Woodcraft....

    Thanks for your idea, it makes perfect sense.
    My biggest fear is tearing out chunks of
    fingerboard because of the fret slots.
    Also, how far past the pattern can the wood

    I had seen Bob Benedetto's book on arch-top
    construction, and he uses a taper jig on a
    table saw with a fine-toothed saw blade. If
    I remember correcly, he cuts the bass side with
    the fret slots up then the treble side with
    the fret slots down. It could be the other way,
    I don't have the book with me right now. Why
    would that be?

    How would one do the taper with hand tools? I
    have access to power tools through a class I'm
    taking right now, but that's only for another
    nine weeks or so.
  4. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    That's just how you taper relative to a center line. Place right edge of the wood against the tapering jig with the front forward and cut. Then you want left edge against the jig, with the front still forward. The only way to do that is by flipping the wood over.

    Shouldn't matter which way you do it, though I guess there's a little more risk of visible tear-out for whatever side you do face down, so you might do the treble side down, so it's further away from the bassist.