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sanding radius, possible jig ideas or by hand


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Hello,

I bought a 16" radius sanding block which I have tried to use on a maple fretboard using 60 grit red oxide paper. It took a while to get almost there,  not quite finished. I stopped and thought that maybe a router jig would be better. So I looked at router jigs, had a go at one and failed because I didn't quite think it through. I have tried again and a little closer but still I would like to know how long it takes to sand to a 16" radius, and, is there a particular method. I did think about using the planer to take down the edges a bit. Obviously the router jig would do a great job with that. I don't mind the hard work, its just preferable to have a quicker method. 

 

Thanks

Simon

One year on and still not completed a guitar!?!

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With good 60 grit paper it shouldn't take too long, something from half an hour to a couple of hours depending on how much material you're going to sand off.

What I've found crucial is to brush/blow the dust off after every second (read: fifth or tenth) stroke. Another thing to remember when sanding is not to apply pressure - something you'd most likely want to do with a long sanding block! Light pressure and clean paper, that's the key. You just can't push the paper deeper than the grit size into the wood and even that will be too deep as there'd be no space for the dust. The compressed dust will then burnish into large balls which actually raise the paper off the wood. That'd be as effective as wiping with plain cardboard!

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The big problem with such low grits is that you have to spend a lot of time with progressively finer grits removing scratches from the previous ones. I would agree that a router jig helps get you a bit closer to start out with since it should provide a geometrically cylindrical surface. Sanding can easily round over edges or add in distortions just by the mechanics of hand technique. That's difficult to avoid when taking out a lot of material. I don't use anything less than 120 grit unless I can't avoid it, otherwise the time spent in the sanding processes tempts errors to creep in.

The way I use sanding beams is to mentally keep track of how long the beam/papers "dwells" on the surface. The centre gets more action than the ends for obvious reasons. Altering the weight you apply to the beam during strokes that run off the ends so that the beam stays planted to the surface rather than "rolling off" makes a huge difference. If you've done much hand planing, that's the exact same "toe in, heel off" idea.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I often rough in the radius with a large hand plane which saves quite a bit of time (a no6 plane is a good size) and finish off with a radius block. Lately I've also tried clamping a long radius beam into the vice and taking the neck (with fretboard already glued on) and running that over the radius beam which works out a lot faster than a shorter block over the fretboard. Generally the longer the beam, the more accurate and faster the job is. 

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