finishing ebony board

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by wraub, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    No, not finish, I mean finish. ;)
    To wit:
    Working on an defretted ebony board, fret slots filled with maple veneer.
    In trying to get the fingerboard finalized, it seems that the veneers are slightly proud of the ebony, and any sanding or polishing only seems to make things worse.
    Playing results in occasional unwanted buzzing and annoyingness.
    Any suggestions?

  2. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA

    Que? :confused:
  3. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    The veneers are slightly taller than the ebony, just enough to occasionally buzz and make noise.
    Not mwah or however it's spelled, just annoyingly noisy.
    Trying to get a dead smooth board.
  4. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    Other research suggests I need to make a radius block.

    Now to find my radius gauges...
  5. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Oh, sprout.

    I did a defret without a radius block. I used a razor blade to "shave" the inlays down.
  6. Teacher


    May 3, 2012
    That would be the way to go. Hand sanding something like this will quickly remove one wood faster than the other.
  7. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Radius block should fix you up.
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    no radius blocks for me, i use a long perfectly flat beam backed with sandpaper. same principle though, you need a long, hard, flat surface with the sandpaper on it to knock off the high spots while leaving the low spots alone.
  9. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    Are you making the fingerboard flat, or working in facets/sections on string paths, or..?
  10. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Using a long beam, it would be best to follow string paths to level properly or to purchase a radius block from a luthier supply. There is a seller out of the UK on Ebay that sells a good selection of radius blocks for a decent price.
  11. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    Thanks Musiclogic, having read some previous threads it was you who introduced me to the whole "string path" thing.
    Looks like I have a line on some granite/quartz scraps, so the actual work will have to wait for said acquisition.
    Some questions though:

    I assume I am to radius, then do the string paths. Correct?

    Is it easier to just do the string paths, and then blend the results into a unified whole with defined paths instead of doing the radius first?

    I am finding that I hate the bridge on this bass. Any ideas on a reasonably priced bridge with 15 mm spacing? (I have a Kahler non-trem bridge on my fretted version of this bass, but it adds most of a pound and is too pricey for this bass imo.)

    What are pros/cons to a flat fingerboard?

    Thanks to all for responding!