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Thread: Jon's 4th build: SSCM-1E

  1. #51
    Member jonwhitear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post
    The full pro-level solution would be to remove the frets, level the fretboard and re-fret. But that's quite a task!
    Yes, I'm not quite ready for biting off that much!

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post
    Use a straight edge and see how big a gap you've got between it and the first couple of frets,as that's how much the other frets will will need to come down; or at least the 3rd fret, with the others reducing in height reduction as you go up the neck. You want the tops of the frets level, but you can allow the fret height to vary (though this is not the ideal it is practical). In effect you want to draw a straight line between the first and last fret, and take the tops off the other frets until they reach that line, with the most coming off that 3rd fret. Easier said than done though without running up quite a complicated jig.
    I've just not had the time or headspace to tackle this over the last few days. The straight edge sounds like a good idea - I think the 1st and 2nd frets are only slightly lower than the rest, in which case I think the easiest path will just be to sand the frets as usual, and end up with all but two of them being a little short. However, I'll reassess that when I check with the edge.

    By "side to side" do you mean across the width of the fretboard?
    I do. There you go, I didn't realise that "up and down" is the way to do it. I'd have thought that would be more likely to end up in flat spots, which is probably why I'm going side to side. Also, I'm using sandpaper attached to the straight edge on a spirit level - are you, or are you using a radiuses block? What issues would you see with the side-to-side method?

    The all black is looking very nice. Great work.
    Thanks Trevor!

  2. #52
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    By "side to side" do you mean across the width of the fretboard?
    I do. There you go, I didn't realise that "up and down" is the way to do it. I'd have thought that would be more likely to end up in flat spots, which is probably why I'm going side to side. Also, I'm using sandpaper attached to the straight edge on a spirit level - are you, or are you using a radiuses block? What issues would you see with the side-to-side method?
    I use an 8" steel levelling beam as I find it better than radiused blocks. I only use radiused blocks for sanding unfretted fretboards. Some prefer a longer beam, but the 8" works for me. Others will use a diamond levelling file which are only 6" x 2". Not right or wrong, just personal preference and what works best for you.

    edit to add:
    I like the steel beam because it's quite weighty and requires no downward pressure, just the weight of the beam is enough.
    All I need to do is direct it along the fretboard with my hand(s).

    As for lengthwise vs side to side, lengthwise encompasses all the frets more evenly (your passing over all the frets with each stroke). Think of the way the strings actually run along the fretboard.
    Going side to side you're only passing over say 10 frets at most (presuming an average sanding sheet being 280mm) then when you move up to the next 10 frets, there's no contiguous relationship from the first 10 to the second 10. Potentially you could end up with two groups of frets at two different heights. Clear as mud, right???

    Kind of a crappy explanation, but hopefully it makes sense. Maybe someone with better "word skills" can offer a better description.
    Last edited by McCreed; 17-11-2021 at 09:36 AM.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  3. #53
    Member jonwhitear's Avatar
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    Thanks McCreed. I'm starting to realise that my fret levelling and crowning game's been a bit hap-hazard to date ;-) The kits I've built so far have come with pretty good necks, i.e. aside from some frets requiring a little tap here and there, the neck's been straight and the frets have been pretty level.

    I have just checked the board again with my notched straight edge, and the bow towards the nut appears to be significantly reduced - the gap's still there, but down to a fraction of a mm. The guitar's been strung for the last week or so, so I'm guessing the string tension has more-or-less rectified the situation. I am still getting a lot of fret buzz with strings fretted at the 1st, so I will need to have another go.

  4. #54
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    I was going to add this as an edit to previous post, but I'll just put here on it's own.

    The the only time I work "across" a fret is if I'm just doing a single fret (eg: say I replaced 1 fret and need to take it down to match existing frets - like I did on my current build) or if there are a few frets (that aren't consecutive) with varying high spots.

    There are plenty of times when a neck just needs a little fine tuning rather than a full levelling. I have a friend that's a highly experienced builder and he does this type of fret by fret levelling exclusively. That's what works for him.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  5. #55
    Member jonwhitear's Avatar
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    Nearly finished!

    My second attempt at fret dressing was much more successful. I did have to take quite a lot of material off, which left some quite wide flat tops to the frets - they're fine after crowning. The guitar plays much better now. I still need to dial in the set up (haven't looked at relief, intonation or action yet.) and finish the electronics.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #56
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    Wow, that's truly a mirror finish! Nicely done.

    I recently did a drop-fill repair on a black polyurethane (factory) finish and I now know why people say solid black finishes are the hardest to pull off (and apparently solid white also). That was enough for me! I don't see any black guitars in my future.
    Good on ya!
    Last edited by McCreed; 22-11-2021 at 07:12 PM.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  7. #57
    Member jonwhitear's Avatar
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    Thanks McCreed. I am very pleased with how the finish turned out. It's certainly been a steep learning curve, and I've forgotten how many coats I've sprayed on and sanded off. It seems you can also scratch black paint just by looking at it.

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