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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:13 pm 
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Has anyone ever cut fret slots (for lines) on a radiused fretless board after it was already a finished instrument? I have a request, but I can't imagine how you could do it accurately.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:07 pm 
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Lay out the fret slots on paper, then lay them out a second time on the instrument once you know everything is as it should be.

Use double-stick tape on a flexible 6" ruler as your saw guide (one of those $3 rules from the hardware store), then saw. The flexibility will let it arch over the surface of the fretboard.

This is how I cut the slots on my last guitar. It was a multi-scale, so I couldn't use my slotting jig. Sounds intimidating, but it's easy peasy. When a friend teaching a Jr. High cigar box guitarmaking class had 12-14 year olds with absolutely no experience or skill laying out and slotting their fretboards, I knew I could do it, too.

As long as you're cutting along your line, the most important aspects are slot depth and keeping the saw vertical as you cut. A good dovetail saw makes a world of difference.



These users thanked the author James Orr for the post: pat macaluso (Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:17 pm)
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:44 pm 
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James Orr wrote:
Lay out the fret slots on paper, then lay them out a second time on the instrument once you know everything is as it should be.

Use double-stick tape on a flexible 6" ruler as your saw guide (one of those $3 rules from the hardware store), then saw. The flexibility will let it arch over the surface of the fretboard.

This is how I cut the slots on my last guitar. It was a multi-scale, so I couldn't use my slotting jig. Sounds intimidating, but it's easy peasy. When a friend teaching a Jr. High cigar box guitarmaking class had 12-14 year olds with absolutely no experience or skill laying out and slotting their fretboards, I knew I could do it, too.

As long as you're cutting along your line, the most important aspects are slot depth and keeping the saw vertical as you cut. A good dovetail saw makes a world of difference.
James, why did you wait until the board was on the neck to slot it? If that's what you are saying.

I have slotted a flat board with just a square. But, already being radiused and already being on the neck seem to add to the challenge. I see what you are saying with the flat metal ruler. Sounds good, but I don't see how I would hold it on there still enough to cut the slots. It's hard enough to slot it by hand on a flat board clamps to a bench!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:40 am 
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Oh, I didn't slot the board on the neck. Sorry for not being more clear!

The ruler is just a guide. Something to lead the saw until you get some purchase in the kerf. I had double-stick tape on the ruler I used, and it was more than enough grip. I had very little saw pressure against it, just enough to line me up.

I wish I could effectively explain how the kids cut their slots. They didn't even use a guides! They started the cut on one side, then the other, and then slowly connected the two.


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These users thanked the author James Orr for the post: pat macaluso (Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:14 pm)
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:31 am 
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You can make a block of wood that sits on the fretboard (might want to radius it so it doesn't rock) and have an edge that drops down to slide along the edge of the fretboard to provide a sort of fence. This would have to be installed at the proper angle to keep the end of the block perpendicular to the centerline. Use the end of the block to hold your fretsaw against while cutting. You can add a clamp to the block to keep it from shifting. I have done this several times and it works fairly well. Better than free handing it.


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