Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Fret Level and Crown on Guild F50

I've done a bunch of stuff to the Guild since the last post.  For one thing, I glued the little chunk of inlay in the fingerboard.  I need to get a picture of that and will soon.

The main progress has been on the frets and fingerboard.  I recut the fret slot for the 15th fret using my trusty humongous and very sharp Japanese fret slotting saw.  That thing is scary just to look at.

Then I put on the three frets I had previously removed - those would be numbers 14, 15 and 16.  Fortunately I numbered them and marked their bass sides so I could get them back in the right places.

Now I'm going to level and crown them.

What we do first is adjust the truss rod so the neck is straight.  I use a long straightedge (you can see it in the background) to ensure the frets all touch it.

Then I mark the fret tops with a marker.

I put a piece of 320 grit paper on my famous fret levelling block.  It's a piece of stone ground so it's super flat.  I use 3M adhesive to temporarily attach the sandpaper to the stone.  I've written a lot more about this process elsewhere on the blog, so I won't rewrite it all here.

What we're doing here is getting all the fret tops level with each other.  I sand with the block until all the marks are gone from the frets.  The fret tops are now level - but are flat on top.  They need to be crowned.

Armed with a crowning file, some fret files, file cleaners (aka file card) and cutting lubricant, I go to it.

The crowning file has a rounded shape - file the fret tops and they become rounded.

For some reason, I can't get a good picture of a freshly crowned fret, but this may help if you look at it closely.

The two frets on the right are crowned, and the ones on the left are not.  See how the ones on the left are flat on top?  Compare those to the crowned frets which have a nice rounded top.  That's the shape they all should be.

You gotta have crowns if you want to play in tune.

Then some polishing with the wonderful fret erasers.

When you work up to the 800 grit, the frets are nice and shiny and smooth and most of the file marks are gone.

I like to file the fret ends so they're nice and smooth too - you can't snag your finger on one.

After the level and recrown, I clean the fingerboard with the amazing Dunlop Fingerboard Cleaner and Prep.  This stuff takes off grime like crazy.  See the cloth to get an idea of what comes off.

I did 5 passes on this guitar - 30 years of dirt is gone.  The board looks like new.

Nice shiny frets and a clean fingerboard.   The inlays look great too.  The whole thing is as smooth as a polar bear sliding on ice.

The binding on the edge - the double lines - were filthy.  Now they're white again!

I'll use a conditioner and some lemon oil on the board as well and it will look even better.

All the handling made some of the old lacquer on the bindings rub off and now the binding is white in some places.

It had yellowed over time, so I'm hitting the fingerboard binding with a couple of coats of yellow nitro toner I mixed up.  It matches the yellowed bindings perfectly.   I think it looks strange to have white and yellowed bindings on the same guitar, so this will make it all match again.

The fingerboard is masked so I don't get toner on it.


Post a Comment 1 comments:

  • Unknown said...
    April 16, 2013 at 12:17 AM
    This is a great blog

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