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Fret Slots Depth


MescaBug
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Hello,

I'm about to do my first fret job. I'll do it on a 'test' fretboard first, before doing the real thing. I have 2 necks to fret; both are already slotted, 1 of them is not radiused yet;

1. How deep should the fret slots be? I did some search and everybody seems to agree that the slots should be a little deeper than the fret tang. But how much deeper? I took a look at all my guitars, and I can't see a gap between the frets and the slots. Looks like they are seated directly on the bottom of the slots... Or maybe the gap has been filled?

2. If I'm right, there will be a gap. How can I fill this gap?

3. Preslotted/radiused fretboards are slotted from the centerline to the edge. So you have the exact same depth across the board. Preslotted/non-radiused are slotted from edge to edge. After radiusing, the slots will be deeper at the center. Would that be a problem? I assume not, since the frets are not supposed to touch the bottom of the slots.

The basic idea is to get the fret crown firnly seated on the fretboard right? You don't want a gap between the frets and the board. But by doing this, you get a gap under the frets... And getting the exact 'fret tang' depth, is probably hard.

I tried to get as more information as possible before posting, but didn't get all my answers. I got confused after looking at my guitars.

Thanks, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

David

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Well, ideally, we would like to have no gap beneath the fretwire, but since things tend to move around a bit with temperature/humidity changes it is good to have just a hair of space under there to keep the fret from getting pushed up.

Also, cutting the slot a hair deeper than the tang ensures that the fret does indeed seat firmly on the fretboard surface, and not bottom out in the slot before fully seating.

You are a bit confused on your third question.

I assume the info you have is from LMI.

What they mean is that if the board is radiused, they set the centerline of the board, which is the high point of the radius, parallel to the fence of their jig, so that the slots end up perpendicular to the centerline. As far as I know, however, they still run them straight across the saw, and the slots will be deeper in the middle- that is, the bottom of the slot is flat, but the fretboard surface is radiused.

On a unraduised board, they just set the edge of the board to the fence, and the slots end up perpendicular to that edge. They tell you this so you can draw your centerline correctly when it comes time to taper the board.

Clear as mud?

:D

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I would worry more if you were using a table saw to cut the fret slots over a hand saw. I think having a hand saw jig or blade stop will help in your overall efforts. Edge gaps are filled so thats why you don't see any as Rick500 said crazy glue and some fingerboard dust. If it were bound their would be no tang under the binding.

You are looking for a small gap; because you certainly don't want the frets bottoming out when the are installed. Does every fret slot have to be perfect no, thats what the glue is for. So unless you are machine cutting than you are bound to have some variation between slots.

Do some test cuts on a piece of scrap hardwood and install a few frets. Hard hardwood like maple or finger board cut offs.

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As far as I know, however, they still run them straight across the saw, and the slots will be deeper in the middle- that is, the bottom of the slot is flat, but the fretboard surface is radiused.

On a unraduised board, they just set the edge of the board to the fence, and the slots end up perpendicular to that edge. They tell you this so you can draw your centerline correctly when it comes time to taper the board.

Clear as mud?

:D

Clear as mud :D Thanks. I tought the bottom of the slots was following the radius. That's what got me confused. All clear now.

Edited by MescaBug
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