Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Fret Level and Final Set-up for Guild D-4 Guitar

Up to now, I've been using an X-Acto razor saw to clean out fret slots.  I also have a small 'fret slot cleaner' tool from Stew-Mac.  These work ok, but the problem with them is they have thin kerfs.

So I took the plunge and got a proper fret cutting saw.  This is a Japanese one - they have a great reputation for fine woodworking saws.

I had a bit of a 'what the heck?' moment when I got the package though.  It's way bigger than I expected!

It also has a depth adjustment guide thing you can attach to it - I didn't use it this time but if I ever actually make a fingerboard from scratch, that feature will be necessary.

Closeup of the handle - wrapped with bamboo.

This is really quite a cool tool - but it's scary looking.  And super sharp.

If a zombie came up behind me in the Dungeon, I'm pretty sure I could cut its head off with one swoosh.  (Although the head would still be alive, of course).

So I used my new toy tool to clean up the slot that had the 2 steaming holes filled.  Plopped the fret back in and there you have it.  Can you see the holes?

I can't.

Now it's on to the usual final set-up work.  Mark the fret tops for a level, crown, and polish.

Like a lot of other older guitars I see, this one has a fair amount of wear on the first three frets.  But plenty of height left on this one to dress the frets.

Adjust the truss rod so the frets are perfectly level, and then level them with the wonderful levelling tool.

A few swipes is really all it takes.  I use 320 grit paper for this.

Den ve crown ze frets.  Da.

See the cutting lubricant at the left.  That stuff is gold.  (Actually yellow, but you know what I mean).  Great to use on filing jobs like this.

I'm not sure how well I captured this, but here you have it.

The fret in the center, and the one on the left are almost done.  See how there is just a small strip of flat surface at the top?  A few passes with the fine file will finish that crown.

By comparison, the one on the right hasn't been touched yet - it's still flat from the levelling.

That's what the crowning is all about - putting a curve on the fret top.  (And you thought crowning had to do with royalty).

With the crowning finished, it's onto the polishing.

I'm using the amazing wonderful terrific 'fret erasers' from Stew-Mac.

The name strikes me as funny.  I keep using them, but the frets don't get erased.  They just get polished.  Why are they called erasers?

(It's a joke...ha).

I didn't document the process of making a new bone saddle and nut for this guitar - I've written that up elsewhere.

But this is the finished saddle - made from unbleached bone.  I polished it up to 12000 grit (crazy, huh?) and then used compound on it.  Hard to see in the picture, but it looks like fine jewelry. 


Post a Comment 2 comments:

  • Unknown said...
    February 11, 2013 at 6:24 PM
    Is that a big crack in the top?
  • Yr Fthfl Blggr said...
    February 12, 2013 at 9:54 AM
    No, that's a string.

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