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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:53 pm 
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I want to see what folks are using to radius fingerboards. I have been simply using a radius block, starting with 60 grit paper and then going to 80. It takes forever and although I finally get a radiused fingerboard, my arm wants to fall off (it does give me some cardio though...). I have tried using a plane and I tend to get chipping. I'm getting ready to radius a cocobolo board and I expect my sand paper to get pretty fowled. I know there are various jigs using a router. Let me see what you are using so I can consider a better method.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:01 pm 
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Steve--

I invested a lot of time and energy on designing a router jig for putting a compound radius into a fingerboard. In the end, I decided that I prefer hand methods. The last few, I have just used a very sharp hand plane to put the radius on, then an absolutely flat 1" steel bar fitted with Stickit sandpaper to make the run of the strings as flat as I can. I recently bought a Stew Mac 16" radius aluminum sanding block, and on my next fingerboard I intend to use that between the hand plane step and the steel bar step, just to even out the hand plane work a bit before final flattening under the run of the strings.

If you are only building a few, I would recommend investing in a great hand plane and getting that to work. The router sleds can work, but there is a lot of effort involved to get them to not have slop in them, and slop is bad. Very, very bad.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:37 pm 
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Thanks Don,
I have the Stew Mac alluminum radiius sanding bar and also another wooden one. Like I said I've had success with them but it wares me out. Maybe I need to put a sharper edge on my plane...

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:01 pm 
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Steve--

A well tuned plane, a very sharp iron, and a shallow cut, should get you where you want to go. You will get more work done with less effort than when you were sanding from start to finish, but if the cut is too aggressive, or the iron is not sharp, problems can occur.

Basically, I have gone back to the procedure outlined in the Cumpiano/Natelson book, at least for my starting place. After that, the 1" steel bar is critical for me. I've come to the conclusion that the exact radius doesn't really matter, as long as the fingerboard is (generally speaking) sorta kinda in the shape of a 16" radius curve, and (most importantly) the run of each string is dead flat. So, curving it with the hand plane, then ensuring flatness along the run of each string with the steel bar, seems to work really well for me.

If I were in a production setting, I might look at buying an edge sander and putting together some sort of jig, but for what I do, the hand methods are the best path for me. I'm all for jigging up to make things easier or more accurate, but this is one operation where the machines just got in my way and slowed me down.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:01 pm 
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I've used a 12" wooden block from LMI lined with 120 grit paper on all of my guitars, but picked up the aluminum beam as a graduation gift a few months ago (can't wait to use it!). My results vary greatly. My second to last guitar seemed to take forever with a 16" radius; my last one (20" radius) took less than 10 minutes. idunno


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:20 pm 
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So far, I have started with a plane and then gone to the radius blocks. My last few I built a special jig which holds the radius block parallel to the fretboard which was a big Improvement in consistency. I also built a router jig that I designed to use for the same fixture but have only used it once so far. It seemed to work pretty good. My goal was to just use the router for roughing out but really using the radius blocks to make it perfect.

I just did one last night and I was in a hurry so I skipped the router! LOL


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:27 pm 
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I made a jig to do a compound radius - 16" at the nut, 20" at the sound hole, using a laminate trimmer with a mortising bit. Takes about 90 seconds, plus a bit of block sanding to blend any facets.

Alex

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:37 pm 
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Check you PM's Steve

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:19 pm 
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Alex Kleon wrote:
I made a jig to do a compound radius - 16" at the nut, 20" at the sound hole, using a laminate trimmer with a mortising bit. Takes about 90 seconds, plus a bit of block sanding to blend any facets.

Alex


You're welcome to take copious pictures and post them here along with a detailed description. :)

For the folks talking about planing the board. That's happening before slotting?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:42 pm 
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Regarding slotting: I slot first. The slots don't cause me any problems when I plane, other than causing a clackety sound as I plane.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:52 pm 
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doncaparker wrote:
Regarding slotting: I slot first. The slots don't cause me any problems when I plane, other than causing a clackety sound as I plane.


Yes, ebony can be very compliant with a deadly sharp plane.

On the other hand, if your plane blade won't shave you arm hair (my left arm is suspiciously hairless from my tool sharpenings) then "kids, don't try this at home!"


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:59 pm 
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bcombs510 wrote:
Alex Kleon wrote:
I made a jig to do a compound radius - 16" at the nut, 20" at the sound hole, using a laminate trimmer with a mortising bit. Takes about 90 seconds, plus a bit of block sanding to blend any facets.

Alex


You're welcome to take copious pictures and post them here along with a detailed description. :)

For the folks talking about planing the board. That's happening before slotting?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


viewtopic.php?f=10117&t=45107&p=596671&hilit=%2Acompound+radius+jig#p596671 I radiused befor slotting, but I don't think it would make any difference. There's a Part 2, as well. viewtopic.php?f=10117&t=45108&p=600871&hilit=%2Acompound+radius+jig#p600871

Alex

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These users thanked the author Alex Kleon for the post: bcombs510 (Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:26 pm)
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:26 pm 
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Awesome, I'll read through it!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:12 am 
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We use the McClary jig as drawn and lightly modified by one of our local luthiers. It is a constant radius router jig which uses a base and carriage system, and is used after slotting but prior to trimming the board to final dimensions. If working just one board at a time, hand-sanding to radius will be faster than retrieving the jig from storage, set-up, use, clean-up, and return to storage, so we try to do the work in batches of 4-5 boards. We have done boards in very chippy birdseye maple without any tearout or other damage, as well as resin-impregnated and dyed buckeye burl boards that a local luthier produces for the electric guitar crowd. The jig does not produce compound radius fretboards.

Feel free to PM me if you'd like the drawings, although I believe they are posted on MIMF as well.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:29 am 
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The router jig I was designing worked a lot like Alex Kleon's, except it sat on its side on top of my workbench (to give more rigidity to the whole thing), I used a piano hinge for the axis of rotation (to reduce slop), and my router carriage was a linear rail/bearing system (zero slop). It was pretty good. However, as Woody said regarding their jig, I had to tinker with it to get it adjusted properly, and by the time I did that, I could get a single fingerboard just right via hand methods. After putting time into this thing, I am convinced that such a jig is best used in a high volume production environment, rather than a "one at a time" building environment. Some jigs work wonders for a "one at a time" builder, but for me, this particular jig for this particular task just slowed me down.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:47 am 
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I use this jig: http://luthiersuppliers.com/products/p12.html. I follow up with a SM aluminum radius sanding beam. Final leveling is done after the neck is made using a flat steel bar.

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These users thanked the author Greg Maxwell for the post: ernie (Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:45 am)
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:24 am 
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Greg Maxwell wrote:
I use this jig: http://luthiersuppliers.com/products/p12.html. I follow up with a SM aluminum radius sanding beam. Final leveling is done after the neck is made using a flat steel bar.


+1 for Greg's method.

I made my own jig based on the LS design. The price wasn't the issue. It was that the LS is mdf (not a fan). I prefer europly. Also, the LS jig takes up very little shop space. A serious plus!

Cheers


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:50 am 
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What is euro -ply michael ?? anything like BB ply. Am using a jig on my thickness sander followed by radiused sanding blocks, then the 1 in alum beam from OLF uk member. there are abt 4 different radii that i use. Reluctant to use any sharp plane or scraper due to tearout. Some FB woods are easy to plane .Others not so much.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:17 am 
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ernie wrote:
What is euro -ply michael ?? anything like BB ply. Am using a jig on my thickness sander followed by radiused sanding blocks, then the 1 in alum beam from OLF uk member. there are abt 4 different radii that i use. Reluctant to use any sharp plane or scraper due to tearout. Some FB woods are easy to plane .Others not so much.


Ernie,

There are several similar brand names for the stuff.

It's very similar to BB. I find the veneers to be of a higher quality, and the BB can oil-can making it worthless for jigs. There are never footballs in the face veneers. Europly is also available in 4x8 sheets as opposed to 5x5 like the BB ply. The BB is definitely cheaper! I find the 4x8s easier to handle on my own. I've got a wrecked shoulder and need to take care. Ah...getting older..!



These users thanked the author Michaeldc for the post: ernie (Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:58 am)
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:45 am 
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Woodie G wrote:
We use the McClary jig as drawn and lightly modified by one of our local luthiers. It is a constant radius router jig which uses a base and carriage system, and is used after slotting but prior to trimming the board to final dimensions. If working just one board at a time, hand-sanding to radius will be faster than retrieving the jig from storage, set-up, use, clean-up, and return to storage, so we try to do the work in batches of 4-5 boards. We have done boards in very chippy birdseye maple without any tearout or other damage, as well as resin-impregnated and dyed buckeye burl boards that a local luthier produces for the electric guitar crowd. The jig does not produce compound radius fretboards.

Feel free to PM me if you'd like the drawings, although I believe they are posted on MIMF as well.


I believe this is it. I made one & like it. I think it's drawn to work with the old Porter Cable fixed base router, the one that you could also get a plunge base and D-handle base for. You'll need to tweak the drawing to fit your router.


You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:29 am 
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I used to do the same thing with a sanding block. 60 grit will cut pretty fast but even so it's a PIA. So to speed things up I just use a hand plane and hog out a lot of the waste then I use the sanding blocks to get the radius close and follow up with a sanding beam to get a compound radius. If you are getting chipping then I think you just need to spend some extra time sharpening the plane and or adjust it correctly. Knock on wood but I've yet to have a problem with chipping.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:42 am 
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Here's a variation on the jig theme, ukulele style. It works very well. No play, no slop.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/sho ... Fretboards


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:26 pm 
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Has anybody thought of using a file?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:59 pm 
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I could see a file grabbing a fret slot the wrong way. Plus, keeping the fingerboard flat along the run of the strings could be really hard. But, I've never tried, so I'm speculating.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:08 pm 
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A file or even a rasp is simply the wrong tool for the job.


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