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inlays on a pre-radiused fingerboard


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hello friends,

i've bought a preslotted fingerboard for a les paul that i want to make from stewmac.

well, the fingerboard is radiused 12''

is there a problem inlaying it?

what i have to do to route my fingerboard?

and then...

what i have exactly to do to make the inlays radiused?

the way that i should try is that in the tutorials for regular fingerboards?(routing and sanding with the gauge)


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If you could rig up some kind of flat support for a dremel router base to sit on you should be able to route the fretboard fairly easily. As for radiusing the inlay, I would take a piece of wood (pine would even work for this), draw a 12" radius arc and cut it out. Then take the concave piece of wood and make a sanding block out of that. I would suggest you then put some foam or something along those lines along the bottom in case your cut wasn't perfect; it should average out the curve and be good enough for sanding the inlay.

It may not be the best way but it would be the easiest without having to buy any new tools.

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You will definitely need a radiused sanding block. Don't even try it without one.

As for the routing - I don't do the flat board thing myself. I know there are others on this site who also just route with the radius also. If you do a search you will probably dig up at least one thread on this very topic. It works very well for me and I have done a few different inlay designs which cover most of the width of the fretboard. I'm not saying that the flat board thing is a bad idea.

What tools do you have?

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Make sure your pearl is at least .06" if going across the board with it, or lay out your pattern so it doesn't span the entire board.

Pearl should lay flat or a radiused board a good 1/2" or so from it's center, as long as you don't try to run it clear across, and have the bottom drop out from under you.

I sand with a totally flat 5" long sanding block. Not a radiused one. The thing is if you have to sand a smaller area away, you don't want to have to sand the entire board in that area over again if it dosn't need it. Watch your glue as it starts to fade away, and make sure if there are any glue free spots you don't sand there. Swith to higher grits well in advance of the glue sanding off, and always make longer strokes along the board, and not small local ones, those will generate dips in the board if your not carefull.

Most inportant, take your time, and don't rush.

watch your glue going away, and don't overkill on the 80 and 120 grit papers. You can sand a while with 220 and up and be relatively safe. When the glue is gone in an area, STOP, and move elsewhere, untill you final sand to maybe 400 across the whole board.


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