Jump to content

Fretting Before Neck Shaping


Recommended Posts

What's better....

Shaping the neck before fretting? or

fretting the neck with the neck square, then shaping?

I have the neck wood square right now and thought how easy it would be to fret it now.

Would fretting first cause the neck to bow after shaping?

What ever has worked for you, let me know.

Thanks,

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you going to slot the neck blank itself? Or will there be a separate fretboard?

If you're going to slot the blank itself, it is easier to slot while its still square (i.e. no taper). Then I'd radius the playing surface, then rough cut the taper, then rough out the back contour.

When I use a separate fretboard, I always rough-cut the taper (leaving <1/8" outside the final taper), then rough the back contour, slot & radius the fretboard, cut & sand it to final taper, fret it, glue it on the neck blank, then file/sand down the neck edges to match the fretboard.

Edited by erikbojerik
Link to comment
Share on other sites

These are the basic steps I take to make a neck now. I prefer gluing while square, it's a little easier for me to take measurements that way. I guess you could change the last two steps, it wouldn't bother me fretting a square neck.

  • Glue neck lams
  • Thickness neck
  • Scarf joint, glue up
  • Route truss / carbon/steel channels
  • Slot fingerboard
  • Taper fingerboard
  • Glue fingerboard to neck
  • Taper neck
  • Radius fingerboard
  • Fret fingerboard
  • Shape neck
  • Win

Link to comment
Share on other sites

These are the basic steps I take to make a neck now. I prefer gluing while square, it's a little easier for me to take measurements that way. I guess you could change the last two steps, it wouldn't bother me fretting a square neck.
  • Glue neck lams
  • Thickness neck
  • Scarf joint, glue up
  • Route truss / carbon/steel channels
  • Slot fingerboard
  • Taper fingerboard
  • Glue fingerboard to neck
  • Taper neck
  • Radius fingerboard
  • Fret fingerboard
  • Shape neck
  • Win

I do it same as Jon except I prefer to radius before slotting, so I know the slots will be deep enough at the edges of the board after tapering.

Then taper the board.

inlays? Just curious as to both of yours style. I know some do it before any radiusing and others do it part way through and I'm sure there is other ways than those. When do you guys like to do the inlays? Also, would your process change any between elaborate inlays vs dots? Again, just curious. thanks. j

Edited by jmrentis
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't say yet. At this point I do the inlays last because I'm only doing liquid (CA or Epoxy) at this point. If I were doing a more solid type of inlay like shell or MoP, I'd probably drill the hole after slotting the fingerboard, then at the halfway point while radiusing I would fit the inlay in. This way I know the precise thickness I should have so I don't accidently remove a small part of the side of the inlay from radiusing (not inlaying deep enough) or inlaying it just right so the top of the MoP / shell meets up with the top of the fingerboard. I'm probably over-thinking that process, but safety first!

Doing it Erik's way is the better route because you can nail things precise so the fret tang and the fret slot depth are precise, or just so you don't get too big of a gap between the two. Doing it my way is more practical because I use a power tool to slot so it only takes a few minutes to slot a board rather than doing it by hand. You can't slot a radiused fingerboard with a table saw. However, you could do it with a radial arm saw. Not to mention using glue / wood dust will fill those gaps just fine. If I had a handsaw, I'd go Erik's route. It might not save me time, but it'd save me more steps on the fingerboard process.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My only concern is when you pre fret a neck which hasn't been shaped you may wind up with a back bow if you didn't match up the fret tang and fret slot properly and wind up with a tight fret fit. You will not know this until after the neck has been shaped. If you also installed a one way rod you may be; lets just say screwed.

Unless you have predictable results with the wire and slots you cut, as many builders on this forum do, fretting the board may be better left as the last item on your to do list. So if you do have a problem it can be corrected before you get to far along in the fretting process.

Just My 2 1/2 cents worth

My building process

cut wood

slap on glue

search for clamps while glue is drying

curse yourself for not getting clamps ready first

pray to guitar gods glue hasnt set yet :D LOL

Woodenspoke

Edited by Woodenspoke
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My only concern is when you pre fret a neck which hasn't been shaped you may wind up with a back bow if you didn't match up the fret tang and fret slot properly and wind up with a tight fret fit. You will not know this until after the neck has been shaped. If you also installed a one way rod you may be; lets just say screwed.

Unless you have predictable results with the wire and slots you cut, as many builders on this forum do, fretting the board may be better left as the last item on your to do list. So if you do have a problem it can be corrected before you get to far along in the fretting process.

Just My 2 1/2 cents worth

My building process

cut wood

slap on glue

search for clamps while glue is drying

curse yourself for not getting clamps ready first

pray to guitar gods glue hasnt set yet :D LOL

Woodenspoke

+1 looking for the damn clamps I always pull then out and adjust them, but always seem to need more LOL:)))

mk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually use a radial arm saw to cut the fret slots, the height of the table cranks up & down to adjust the depth of cut. The 1/16" metal pin is epoxied into the fence for the template to register on (change the blade & flip the fence 180° for cross-cutting). I do this after radiusing (but before the taper) so that I can measure the depth of the slot at the edge of the taper, and end up with no gap underneath the tang at the edge of the fretboard (after I finally do taper).

FB2.jpg

I just finished a 10"-16" compound radius board this way for a guy working on a 60s-era Martin OM kit, it worked great.

When I fret the board, I do get some back-bow on the board itself, but not enough that the roughed-out neck can't straighten it. On fretboards I make with integral wood binding, I actually get almost no backbow; the binding seems to resist it. Once the board is glued to the neck I do the final back contouring by hand and with a random orbital sander (80 grit).

Edited by erikbojerik
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My only concern is when you pre fret a neck which hasn't been shaped you may wind up with a back bow if you didn't match up the fret tang and fret slot properly and wind up with a tight fret fit. You will not know this until after the neck has been shaped. If you also installed a one way rod you may be; lets just say screwed.

Unless you have predictable results with the wire and slots you cut, as many builders on this forum do, fretting the board may be better left as the last item on your to do list. So if you do have a problem it can be corrected before you get to far along in the fretting process.

Just My 2 1/2 cents worth

My building process

cut wood

slap on glue

search for clamps while glue is drying

curse yourself for not getting clamps ready first

pray to guitar gods glue hasnt set yet :D LOL

Woodenspoke

+1 looking for the damn clamps I always pull then out and adjust them, but always seem to need more LOL:)))

mk

I keep all my clamps under the table where I glue. Plus I always have two to three more clamps than I think I'll need ready to go.

In response to the original poster,

I have done it both ways and it worked fine. It's possible that the neck could bow some if you fret before carving (especially if you have a less than perfect piece of wood) but it's never happened to me personally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...