Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Ukulele Fret Level and Crown

The fingerboard looks pretty dull - probably hasn't had anything done to it since it left the factory in Chicago over 50 years ago.

So I take a small amount of lemon oil and wipe the fingerboard down with it.  (I am down with it).

After sighting down the neck, I decide it might not be a bad idea to give it a fret level and crown.  There is virtually no fret wear, but the tops of the frets aren't really level.

And since I have it "apart" on the bench, I may as well take 10 minutes and do it.
 I have this great fret leveling tool - actually a hunk of marble.  You just put some stick-on sandpaper on it, and do a few swipes up and down the frets.

Since there isn't any radius to the board, unlike a guitar (a non-classical guitar anyway), it's even easier to level the frets.

These frets are very small - smaller than the 'vintage' style Dunlop 6230s I use on my Fender-style guitars.  But my smallest crowning file works fine.

The frets are also brass - so they are very soft compared to nickel frets.  It doesn't take much filing to get a nice crown.
Then just a swipe or two with a small file to round the fret ends a bit.

If you look carefully, you'll see the fine bits of brass that came off during the crowning.
Then a polish with some #0000 steel wool.  I use my Stew-Mac template/cover device to protect the fingerboard.

And whoosh! it's done.  Nice and shiny.

Now we can wipe the whole instrument with Kramer's Best Antique Improver.  Like the Clarifier, this stuff is wonderful.  After I went over the uku with it, the grain really started to pop and the color deepened.   Just a small amount works wonders.

Here's my cloth after a pass with the Antique Improver.  You can see the surface dirt that it takes off.

 
 
 
 

Post a Comment 1 comments:

  • February 13, 2014 at 8:11 PM
    I have been using Kramer's Best Antique Improver for 20+ years, I agree with you, it's great stuff! :-)

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