In the last post, I hinted at the fitting of Philip’s OM neck. So, a tenon is cut on the end of the neck and painstakingly
fitted. It takes quite awhile to get
both a snug joint and the neck’s alignment correct.
Fast forward………..Here you can see the neck, fretboard support and two-way
truss rod in place, all ready for the fretboard to be glued on.
Fast forward again……I always put a compound radius on my
fretboards and the crayon lines are a quick visual guide as to how much wood
has to be removed.
Then the dots and a cup of tea whilst the epoxy sets.
And after a real good
clean-up I’m ready for the frets. Now when you look at luthier supply websites,
you’ll be amazed at how many tools are available for the fretting process.
There is a trend to use “press” type tools to squeeze frets into their respective
slots. I think that this is a response to more makers using bolt-on necks which
are shaped before they are fretted. This makes the the neck tricky to support whilst hammering in frets.
As you can see below,
I like to leave my neck square, this way they can be firmly supported so that they
don’t bounce when a fret is hammered in.
Also above, you’ll see my favourite
fretting tools; a pair of 120 year old piano wire cutters and a ball-pein hammer. You can
buy fancy dead blow hammers etc if you wish, but if the neck is well supported
you won’t have any problems. I’ve polished the face of my hammer so that it
doesn’t mark the frets.
The only really “specialist” tool that I use is a fret
rocker- I use this to double check that each fret in seated correctly. I believe
that some young folks would call this approach “Old School."
Labels: Gary Nava luthier, handmade octave mandolin