Woodenspoke Posted January 14, 2009 Report Share Posted January 14, 2009 I thought I had run out of tools to review but I have more. OK the never ending radius block discussion. Make my own or buy. Radius blocks are used to create or final sand the arch on the fingerboard using peel and stick sandpaper. These do not work with compound radius fret boards. Very useful if you can use them. All of these blocks came sanded but unfinished. StuMac These are nicely made blocks easy to handle and seem accurate. The fit and finish is as good or better than my homemade blocks. They are single sided so you get one radius per block. They are made from hard maple so should last a lifetime if treated properly. The size is clearly stamped on the edge and is visible from a distance. These blocks are 8" long and 2 3/4" wide and it is sold in several sizes. LMI This block is 12" long, also has a double sided radius and is very wide at 4". You ca see it dwarfs the SM block. Probably the widest blocks sold that I know if. However they are made of a softer hardwood than the StuMac, Poplar. They are harder to hold with one hand even for my big hands. They seem accurate and well machined except for the ends which are somewhat rough. The stamped radius sizes were hard to see so I used a sharpie so I didnt need to strain my eyes to see what radius it is. Home Made I threw these in just because I figured I would let people know I have made my own tools on occasion. I used the Wagner Safety Planer method and lots of sanding and checking. Not really easy to make if you want a full set of standard sizes. I doubt that these are very accurate compared to the others. I now use them as a caul for gluing in fret wire so they have not gone to waste. made of White Oak. Conclusion I like the fit and finish of the StuMac but you have to buy individual blocks for each radius. The other draw back is again with wide fingerboards like a 6 string bass. I don't think 2 3/4" will cut it at the lower fingerboard on a 6 or 7 string bass. Any other build should be fine. The LMI could have been better especially with its fit and finish. I love the long length and wide radius but wish is was made of maple every time I pick it up. I don't think in the long run the wood type will make any difference as they are both stable hardwoods. that is unless you want to use the LMI as a clamping caul (not recommended). Both Suppliers provide blocks in different sizes, for new work always get the longest you can afford. If I had to choose only one it would be the LMI as the double sided radius, extra wide profile and long length is the bargain of the two. At only $4 more than the SM its only $10 per radius VS $16. I am a tool freak so it would be hard not to have both because the SM blocks come in a greater variety of radius sizes and can be clamped without fear. SM does make an Aluminum Radius sanding block which I do not own, and at $130 a pop never will. The only drawback I can see with this is they didnt make it wide enough either for a 6 or 7 string bass. I guess they don't believe in wide fingerboards or don't follow market trends. As for making your own be my guest. The longer they are the more useful they are, but this makes them more difficult to make. If someone has a fool proof method of making wood blocks that does not involve sanding, making specialty jigs for a router, or buying custom profiled moulder planer blades let us all know. At some point $20 should not be a hardship, and we all know how expensive this obsession can be. Both of these supplier made blocks were coated with Shellac to keep moisture to a minimum.and keep them stable. They did not come with a glossy finish. I expect to have to re coat this finish over time as they get messy from the Sandpaper glue cleanup. One of the reasons I did not use a slower drying poly. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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