Woodenspoke Posted February 17, 2009 Report Share Posted February 17, 2009 A while back I did a review on several Fingerboard leveling bars I owned, These were bought ready to go. Afterward I realized that having a real long massive bar may have its uses. But no one makes one. 24" bars are expensive and still the bar will not hang over the edge of a 36" bass scale fingerboard. The object is to have paper sanding on the fingerboard at all times without coming off the fingerboard. That was my goal. The material I choose was a 1" x 2" x 36",1/8" thick steel bar. This is what Stumac uses for its leveling bars. The weight is enough to not have to add additional pressure to the stroke when you use it. You can also buy aluminum of the same dimensions but get a thicker walled tube. This is easier to work but probably more expensive. Also may be too light for the job without adding some weight to the center of the bar. This is a cutoff from my 36" bar. This bar had a ding in the end as you can see above. This ding is enough to warp the 1" edges so I had to cut it off using a mini grinder and a cutoff blade. I could have also used a hack saw. My bar weighs 6 Lbs exactly at 35", a heavy sucker. The bar also came with a nasty black coating for rust protection and it was easier to sand it off rather than try to strip it. After sanding and grinding off the coating on my belt sander using a Zirconia belt (blue belt) I was ready to level the edges. Now you can try doing this with just a file but it is not as easy. I used a piece of 1/4" glass (tempered shelving from a store) 48" long with some 60 grit peel and stick paper attached. Make sure you do this on a flat surface. Mark both edges with a colored grease pencil so as you sand you can clearly see the high and low spots as you work, A rough cut file will help remove the high spots as you work or any abrasive material. You want to try an just move the bar across the sand paper do not add additional pressure. The bar should be heavy enough to allow the sandpaper to cut using its own weight. When you believe you are close, all the grease pencil marks are sanded off its time to take out your reference straight edge and start checking for any high spots. If you don't have a reference straight edge get one. The finished bar next to a 18" leveling bar. This project does take some time so don't expect to make it work in only a few hours. Plan on several sessions over several days as premature giving up on the leveling of both 1" edges is a no no. They must be flat or you have wasted your time. Also remember to remove any sharp metal from the edges and round off the ends so the level doesn't gouge up any wood. Of course this procedure can also be applied to smaller bars as well. Also taking the bar to a local metal shop who has a surface grinder will make it a much easier process (but not as fun). But it does add to the cost. However you cannot find a 36" fingerboard/fret leveling bar sold commercially. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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