Jump to content

Binding A Radiused Fingerboard?


Jon
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm looking for any information or ideas you guys might have on binding a radiused fingerboard with an already shaped neck? I'm looking to make my first re-finish look as best as it possibly can and the only part holding it back is the fingerboard and fingerboard finish. I plan on doing an epoxy finish over the fingerboard, so the finish part I am very confident about. But I can't come up with any fail proof ideas for routing the binding channels. Also, this picture is pretty old, it's just to give an idea of what I'm working with.

4stringfretless6.jpg

Any suggestions are welcome!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why not use the stew mac routing attachment for a dremmel and run the roller along the fingerboard?

The cut can be altered to make a shallower channel and then all you have to do is make several passes whilst letting out the roller to make the channel deep enough. Although looking at your pic it might not work when you get to the body as this may prevent the attachment riding properly.

Would it be too much to take the fingerboard off?

Edited by gosh
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why not use the stew mac routing attachment for a dremmel and run the roller along the fingerboard?

The cut can be altered to make a shallower channel and then all you have to do is make several passes whilst letting out the roller to make the channel deep enough. Although looking at your pic it might not work when you get to the body as this may prevent the attachment riding properly.

Would it be too much to take the fingerboard off?

He can't do that because the surface that the router place will be running on isn't flat - it's radiused. The binding channel wouldn't be cut properly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why not use the stew mac routing attachment for a dremmel and run the roller along the fingerboard?

The cut can be altered to make a shallower channel and then all you have to do is make several passes whilst letting out the roller to make the channel deep enough. Although looking at your pic it might not work when you get to the body as this may prevent the attachment riding properly.

Would it be too much to take the fingerboard off?

He can't do that because the surface that the router place will be running on isn't flat - it's radiused. The binding channel wouldn't be cut properly.

Stewmac sold an attachment that attached to a Dremmel that could be used to route binding on archtops and other non flat setups. It's called the Binding Router Guide and can be found on their website. I have one but I haven't tried it on a fretboard yet.

Good Luck,

Jeff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would see if you could make a router table to run the neck on, if you've got a binding bit. With no headstock angle, you should be able to take the tuners off and run the neck up against the table, or make a sled or use a fretting caul maybe (?) to make the neck run level all the way around. That's really the simplest way I can see of doing what you need to do. Because the fretboard is radiused the only other way I would think of doing it would be to set up a jig like this, but it would involve many more steps.

Good luck! And nice fretboard in that pic :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Xanthus, this was the only idea I could come up with that would be close to fail-proof. I guess I'd have to make a 12" concave radius block to hold the neck flat against the router table, but the issue is having the bearing ride down the neck precisely. I don't think this will be possible to pull off without an extremely complicated jig, I don't think a ball bearing will ride against a shaped neck properly. It seems like a recipe for disaster this far into the project.

I wouldnt put epoxy on the fingerboard as evenutally the string wear will cause it to chip. Use some Danish oil or similar so it feels natural.

Are you trying to bind a fingerboard that is glued to the neck and attached to the guitar body?

Epoxy is used as a finish on fretless fingerboards because it is scratch resistant and looks incredible even after years of playing, it wont chip off. Not to mention if that were true, this guys business wouldn't exist - http://www.woodwiz.com/epoxy/

Danish oil would wear down extremely fast and would look terrible on Cocobolo. And yes, the fingerboard is already glued to the neck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jon,

The StewMac Dremel attachment is worthless, risky, underpowered, unreliable (did I miss anything?). Indexing the sides of the neck with a bearing will be risky and I wouldn't try it. I think you have a fair chance of making something work with a router table, but you will need to make the caul your guide surface also and use a bottom aligned bearing bit. Problem with that is going to be that you will be cutting a lot more surface than just the fretboard(part of the caul will have to be sacrifised because of the router bit length, even with a short bit). You could follow the same concept with the caul, but use a laminate trimmer from the top of the caulbut again the bit would have to cut some of the caul. Seems like a challenging task, but I bet your up to the challenge. Good luck with it man :D

Rich

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's my idea, assuming this is a bolt on neck -

Remove the neck. Make a pattern out of MDF or nice plywood or hardwood or whatever that's exactly the same size as the fingerboard, just flat. You'll want to put a radius into this to match the radius of the fretboard, to serve as cradle for the neck. Probably could cut it close to size, add the radius, then attach the neck and use scrapers or such to get it perfectly sized to the same as the fretboard. Adding binding means you'll be refinishing the neck, so you don't have to worry too much about marring it, I suppose.

If the fretboard edges are straight (not part of the curve of the back of the neck) you might even be able to use a bit with a top-mounted bearing and a router table to size the pattern, with the bearing riding against the fretboard edges.

From here, you could go a couple of ways - if you can work out something comparable to the StewMac/LMI binding router bit, with the sized bearings, but underneath the bit (the bearings on the shaft as opposed to the tip of the bit), you're probably good to go - attach the neck (make sure it's centered!) to the radiused pattern, and use the bearing guided bit to route your channel on the router table. The neck would sit fretboard down on the pattern, the pattern would ride on the table. The bearing would ride against the pattern. Depending on how deep you make the binding channel, and the size of your cutter, part of the pattern will probably be eaten by the router bit, but this shouldn't be a problem. (If you attach the pattern with carpet tape or such, however, make sure that it is clear of the parts that will get eaten by the router bit - I've done this before, and the bits don't care to be gummed up by that stuff.)

If you can't work out a binding bit solution like that, with the bearing on the shaft rather than the tip, then you have to make it work with the conventional top-mounted bearing style binding bit like LMI and StewMac sell. Using that bit and a router table, you'd make your binding channel in the lower edge of the pattern itself (you'll need to make sure the pattern is thick enough for the bearing to ride on and for the cutter to cut into the pattern.) This leaves a ledge cut away on the lower side of the pattern. Then use a standard flush-trim bearing guided bit (with the bearing on the shaft not the tip) to follow this ledge. You'll probably want to make a few passes - first to finish cutting this depth of channel into the rest of the pattern (when you're done. the entire pattern will be undersized) and then into the neck itself. You'll want to make sure the neck is secured to the pattern rather well, as you don't want to have to recenter the pattern after you've undersized it through its entire thickness. (I guess you could probably leave the neck off for the first pass where you're just putting the ledge into the pattern and not the neck.)

Other options :

Depending on your fretboard thickness, flatten the fretboard, route from the top, or with the now flat fretboard face down on a router table, with a standard binding set up - problem here is that the bearing still would need to ride against the already profiled neck - not the best option.

Remove the fretboard, and either resize it and bind it or affix it to a flat piece of stock, shape that piece of stock to the same size as the fretboard, and cut the fingerboard for binding using the usual methods and re-attach to the neck.

Make a new neck.

EDIT: I just now realize I basically said the same thing as Rich, just with a lot more rambling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldnt put epoxy on the fingerboard as evenutally the string wear will cause it to chip. Use some Danish oil or similar so it feels natural.

Are you trying to bind a fingerboard that is glued to the neck and attached to the guitar body?

Epoxy is used as a finish on fretless fingerboards because it is scratch resistant and looks incredible even after years of playing, it wont chip off. Not to mention if that were true, this guys business wouldn't exist - http://www.woodwiz.com/epoxy/

Danish oil would wear down extremely fast and would look terrible on Cocobolo. And yes, the fingerboard is already glued to the neck.

this all comes down to the quality of epoxy - its not a job you can do with the cheap stuff!!! Done right its a great solution - but personally i prefer acrylised fretboards for fretlesses - i never like the feel of the epoxy method, not woody enough!! anyway, in this case the epoxy method is the best solution for this bass

As for the binding, i agree with brian d- get the hand tools out

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Epoxy is a standard in finishing bass necks these days and is a perfectly acceptable finish. Yes you should look for a higher end epoxy like west systems or something similar with a longer set up time. 5 minute epoxy is not going to cut it. It will also need to be thinned.

The routing of binding on a glued neck was just discussed a month or so ago. You need to create a pattern the size of the fingerboard minus the binding. It has to be attached to the fingerboard so it is flat and tight. Shims to accomobate the radius and double sided tape. You can use the edge of the pattern and a pattern bit to route out your binding rebates. Some people do one side at a time but I believe a single pattern and one quick setup is easier.

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...