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Inside Mapleglo's Shop

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mapleglo, May 23, 2018.


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  1. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    I took a small "vacation" from building while I got up to speed with this new band I'm in. We had our first gig Saturday night, which went quite well. Pics and video here. I think the videos are on the next page.

    Anyway, I bought this Ovation Acoustic Bass guitar a while back from Reverb.


    The fretboard was separated at the nut to about the 5th fret, and the back is cracked by the cover. I got it very cheap, thinking I could do some repairs and bring it back to life. First thing I did was remove the existing fretboard.


    I tried to take it off in one piece, but that was a dismal failure. Fortunately, the neck was still intact. I had a nice piece of figured maple, which I made into a new fretboard, and positioned it with registration pins.


    Then I rough cut it into shape.


    It's still a bit oversized.

    I'm trying to determine my next steps, and the process. I wish I could take off the neck, but it appears to be a set neck, and I am not confident I can remove it well enough to be able to reinstall it. So I'm thinking that I'll sand the fretboard to fit, sand a radius, fret it, then glue it on.

    Or, sand it to fit, glue it on, and then do the radius and fretwork. Suggestions and recommendations are welcome.
     
    lowplaces, Fat Freddy, rtav and 6 others like this.
  2. Englishman

    Englishman

    Apr 26, 2017
    Detroit
    Probably felt good to get back in the shop for a while!

    Watched the video, very cool... except for the tuner on the Tele headstock.. man I hate that!
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
    mapleglo likes this.
  3. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    I'd be tempted to get the fretboard to the exact size and radiused with most of the frets fitted except for 3 or 4 which you could drill through and push a panel pin for location while glueing then fit the frets later. Never done that so just a guess
     
    Spidey2112, MattZilla and mapleglo like this.
  4. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Black binding would be really tasty on that fretboard.
     
    Novarocker likes this.
  5. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Yeah, bound fretboards are nice, but as much as I dislike fretwork, doing it with binding I can only imagine how much more of a pain it would be.
     
    Spidey2112 and buldog5151bass like this.
  6. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Christine likes this.
  7. Jon Clegg

    Jon Clegg Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Northern Virginia
    Other than nipping the tines for the binding, it's not that bad. There really isn't much of an effect wrt filing the frets flush or beveling.
     
    mapleglo likes this.
  8. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    I'm not into binding on my basses, but Keith does a lot of binding on all of his instruments. He's very good at it.

    Yeah, on the neck, the biggest hassle is nipping the tangs on the ends of the frets. He bought one of the Stew-Mac special nippers a few years ago. It kinda works, but it's not a real good tool. Painful on the hands, and it misses and screws up the end of a fret now and then.

    I'm starting to do the nipped ends of the frets, with glue filling the ends of the slots. Neater and classier looking. So, I've got an interest in figuring out a better tool/machine for trimming the ends of the tangs. I'm working on it. I'm starting out with a small electric motor on a bench block, with a 3" grinding wheel. Some kind of a lever arm where I can hold the fret end in a notch and lean it against the wheel for a second or two. Good adjustable stops for length and depth. Something like that.

    If any of you figure out a good technique for this, speak up. It's a common Luthier problem that needs to be solved.
     
  9. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    I seem to remember someone setting up a jig with their dremel to cut off the tang and file the cut smooth, maybe with a cutoff wheel? I can't remember where I saw it though.
     
  10. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Yes, we talked about this on some other thread within the last year. Several folks showed their methods. There were one or two tricks using a Dremel for the power. One of us showed a fixture on an upside down router! It looked scary, but he claimed that it was actually very safe. I'm thinking I'd rather use a small benchtop grinding wheel, but I'm open for ideas.
     
    Christine likes this.
  11. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    I think that may have been @Dave Higham

    Haven't seen him around in ages, but he sure could build a bass. I'd love to see a new build thread from him.
     
    Beej likes this.
  12. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Spidey2112 and Deep Cat like this.
  13. LMII offers this tool for fret tangs:
    Fret Tang Filer
    I don't think it's the final answer, but it' an interesting approach. And my experiments with a nibbler ended up with using a file to remove the final remains of the tang after nibbling anyway.

    I think @lbridenstine used it on her Double Sevens
     
    Christine likes this.
  14. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I can’t see any major cons to doing all the fretboard work, including fretting, before it’s glued on. If the fret slots are big enough, it shouldn’t backbow significantly, maybe use slightly “loose” fretwire and glue in? Stewmac has some gadgets to support the soundboard for upper frets, way too expensive for a one off. I’m a sucker for binding (you may have noticed), the Stewmac or LMI binding cutter sets are superb. You will Rule, per usual.
     
    mapleglo and Christine like this.
  15. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    For cutting back fret tangs, I just used a Dremel with a cut off wheel, then filed it flush, easy but slow. @smithcreek also made up a gadget for that, maybe he will see his mention here and weigh in. Not much point in expensive tool solutions if you don’t do it all the time.
     
  16. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    I finished the radius on the fretboard.


    I still have to recut the fret slots - they're a bit shallow due to the radius. I'll wait until next time to do that. The Comicon is in town and we're going to head down there in a bit. We're not dressing up this year as we didn't book a hotel room. We kind of over-did it last year. Lets just say there was some partying resulting in a bit of bodily injury which we didn't want to repeat this year. Perhaps we'll do the full experience next year.
     
  17. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
  18. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    AGH, NigelD, Roxbororob and 6 others like this.
  19. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Sprayed 5 coats of clear on the fretboard.


    I notice that the gun tends to clog more often when using the Floetrol mix. I'm not sure why.

    Anyway, I'll let that cure, and then I can start on the fretwork. I'm thinking I'll file the fret ends flush with the board, do the angle thing on the ends, and smooth those out. I won't level them until I glue the fretboard to the neck.
     
    AGH, Freekmagnet, Christine and 2 others like this.
  20. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Nice shimmery figure on that FB.
     
    mapleglo likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    May 17, 2021

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