Now I also make jewelry

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Fret press

Initially, I used the hammering method, but I find pressing the frets into the slots far more expedient, faster and easier.
All I'm using is my cheap drill press and a little gadget I made, which is simply a rectangular piece of wood whose length is roughly the same as the longest fret I'm likely to use, in which I inserted a small length of dowel. It has to be hardwood to be effective and to last: I started with a piece of mahogany -- far too soft --, then glued on it a piece of maple -- still not hard enough -- and finally glued on a scrap of ebony which does the trick. All done with scrapwood, but for the next one I'll know to pick a very hard piece of wood as my first choice.
It works beautifully and I can fret a fingerboard in a fraction of the time it used to take with a hammer, plus no dent and no marring...

I must confess I'm inordinately proud of this little contraption! Not having professional tools forces one to devise other ways of doing things and though this entails mistakes and frustrating episodes, it's also a marvellous way to engage the mind creatively.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Fretting - Slots depth

A little trick I picked up on the web (thanks, anonymous) to gauge the depth of slot I need to saw for any particular fretwire I am using at the moment: 1) mark in pencil the depth of the tang on a small piece of cardboard placed against the fretwire; 2) insert the carboard thus marked in each slot and adjust the depth by sawing deeper if need be.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Back on track

I've done all the heavy preliminary sanding and am still working on fretboards, taking my time with all aspects of fretting, including levelling and dressing the frets even before I glue the fretboards onto the necks and going back over everything when that's done. Trying to forestall problems which I used to discover only after I had completed and strung the instrument.

Here are three baritones with the fretboards installed posing in front of the freshly bloomed irises.