It's update time again for the guitars we're building for The Ramonas! This update is all about fretboards! Check out the links below to see all the previous posts in this series!
Update # 1
The plan we laid out was for Victoria's P-Bass replica to have a Maple fretboard and for Zoë's Mosrite® replica to have a Indian Rosewood fretboard.
Rough sawn maple fretboard blank for Victoria.
Planed but still rough around the edges Rosewood for Zoë
The first stop for these blanks is a few passes through the wood thicknesser to get them close to the thickness we want them to be.
Before we can do this, however, we need to make sure at least one surface of the board is completely flat and straight as any warped or uneven parts will be replicated on the other side by the thicknesser.
After a lot of sanding and checking with a straight edge the board can finally go through the thicknesser. Once at a thickness close to what we want we then spend another hour or so sanding both sides and checking again that they are flat and uniform. The end result of all this work looks something like this.
As you can see we've already started drawing our plans for the fretboard onto the wood.
Once we're happy with the thickness of the board and that it's flat and straight we can cut the rough shape out on the bandsaw.
With the board roughly cut out we then stick it to the neck with double sided tape and sand the edges so they are become flush with the sides of the neck.
The next stop for the fretboards is to have their fret slots cut. We cut them slightly deeper than they need to be to allow for the reduction in thickness caused by radiusing them later on.
Victoria's fretboard with all fret slots cut!
With the fret slots done it's time for the inlay. Pillar drills make short work of dot inlay holes!
Holes drilled and inlay material glued in and ready to be levelled. Providing the holes have been drilled roughly to the depth of the inlay there should be minimal effort involved in levelling them flat to the board.
It's radiusing time now! A lot of luthiers do this in different ways but we do it with a aluminium radiusing block and a straight channel for the block to run down made from aluminium angles.
Depending on the wood type and severity of the chosen radius this process can take anywhere from an hour to 3 or 4. There's just no substitute for a bit of elbow grease!
Marking the board with pencil before you start can give you a much clearer idea of how your progress is going.
Once the radiusing is done we can stand back, have a cuppa and admire our handiwork!
Not for too long however as it's now time to glue the fretboards to their respective necks!
Fretboards all glued and all excess glue sanded off!
With everything smooth and sanded we can now drill and install the side dot inlay.
That'll do for this update! Next time we'll start profiling the necks and making the scratchplate for Zoë's Mosrite® replica.
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Ta'ra for now!
Mike & Martin