Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fret work

Today, I worked on two of my neck projects. The top one for the Red Special and the bottom one for the carved tele. I set my frets into place. I've learned a few valuable lessons here.
1. Over radius the frets before fitting them. The fret boards on both of these necks are radiused at 16 inches. When hammering the frets into place they flatten out. On the maple fret board I bent the frets to exactly 16 inches. On the ebony fret board I bent the frets to a tighter radius. When I hammered them they flattened into place.
2. I am planning to put a shellac on the maple fret board to protect it. I'm still undecided on the best approach for future necks. But here I decided to shellac the neck after setting the frets. In the future, I'll try shellacking the neck before I set the frets.
3. I start hammering each fret from center and working slowly towards the edge. (By hammering I really mean a gentle tapping. remember these are not nails but a much softer metal.)

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Today, I worked on the fret board for the Red Special, sanding the 18" radius to 400 grit. sorry, no pictures. it really wouldn't look all that different from the last images. I'm debating putting a thin coat of shellac on fret board. Something similar to what Fender does with most of their maple fret boards. I'm worried that if I just leave it bare, the fret board will discolor too easily. Where as with the finish, it will take longer for it to get that more vintage well played look. I just have to find out if I shoul rub the shellac on first, and then put the frets on, or the other way around.

In additions to working on the neck I;ve also, sanded the sides of the Red Special smooth. taking out all the band saw marks.

On a different front I got back to work on the Reverse Strat and the Carved Tele bodies. I sand off all of the excess grain filler an put on the first stain coats. They are a combination of Black and the likely base color. Red on the Tele and Blue on the Strat. The Tele is looking a bit more purple than I was hoping, Will see if that looks any different after my first sanding. The reason for staining and then sanding that first stain to help bring out a more 3-D look to the grain. The first coat gets absorbed more along the grain lines than the rest of the wood. At least that's what I've read somewhere on the interwebs.