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Anybody Ever Use A Surform To Radius A Fingerboard?


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After multiple complicated jigs, I've decided that radiusing fingerboards with simple radiused sanding blocks is the easiest way to go... But god, it takes for frickin' ever doesn't it? Maybe it's just me, or I need to use grittier paper, but it just seems like it takes way too long to perform this necessary operation.

So I was thinking that maybe I could adapt a SurForm or a MicroPlane blade to do it. I'd really like to be able to do conical radius fingerboards as well, so I thought maybe this could get me there.

Anybody care to throw in their 2 pennies on this?

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I would only ever use a surform to rough out a neck or body carve. It sounds like a nightmare to me to use it on a fingerboard, but perhaps I have a crappy surform. You'd still have to do a lot of cleanup with sandpaper, starting with a coarse grit to remove all the unevenness left by the surform teeth. At least, that's how I envision it.

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After multiple complicated jigs, I've decided that radiusing fingerboards with simple radiused sanding blocks is the easiest way to go... But god, it takes for frickin' ever doesn't it? Maybe it's just me, or I need to use grittier paper, but it just seems like it takes way too long to perform this necessary operation.

So I was thinking that maybe I could adapt a SurForm or a MicroPlane blade to do it. I'd really like to be able to do conical radius fingerboards as well, so I thought maybe this could get me there.

Anybody care to throw in their 2 pennies on this?

I think a surform will be too rough, leaving deep marks behind...

I have done it lately with just the sanding block and sandpaper. Try 60grit first, but be careful, it goes faster than you think. At least iit does with RW, have not tried it something harder like with ebony yet.

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NO

NO NO NO. OH NO!!!!!!!

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You guys are funny. Calm down, it's just an idea. :D

Seriously though, if I had a way to control the depth of the deepest cut, do you still think the idea big no-no? I mean, obviously I'd still finish it off with some rough sandpaper and go into finer grits, but I'm just talking about rough cutting the basic shape.

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I read about a guy that uses a Wagner Safe-T-Planer to cut a trapezoid-like shape into his fretboards, just for bulk removal. He follows up with a radius block. I suppose a surform could be used in much the same way, but it would be more difficult to control.

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I just picked up the GREATEST way of doing it. Get a nice sharp block plane (like a good Lei Nielsen) and plane the edges til they're down about 1/16" or so (depending on what radius you're doing for of course) and have that depth curve up into the center... essentially radius it in with a plane. Sounds weird, but I got it SPOT ON the FIRST time I tried it... not hard at all. And then, to perfect the radius, a sanding block for literally 2 minutes finishes the job. Total time? Less time than setting up and using a router jig.

Chris

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+1 on what Chris said. Although if you haven't gotten your handplane skills down, I wouldn't start with you super pricey fretboard. And I'd do this before slotting for frets if that was the method I was using. When I did it this way, I checked my work constantly with a radius gauge as I plane so I don't make the sanding worse.

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