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Installing Frets - No Hammer (Read 8707 times)
Acabooe
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Re: Installing Frets - No Hammer
Reply #15 - May 1st, 2008 at 4:00am
 
The wonderful thing about being a luthier is that untimately, you can do what makes you happy.
You are the builder, and you will be the one that has the finished product ( unless you sell it ), so you can do designs the are astetically apealing to you.
We, here at the forum, only offer up advice based on our knowledge and experience with a purpose to help each other make the best Ukuleles that they are capible of.
I am glad you are discovering methods, and materials that fit your style of buliding.

I will make one small suggestion, and you can take it or leave it.

I am using Titebond Original Woodglue. That is what I was advised to use by the memebers of this forum, and it has worked fabulously. It is not as sensitive to humidity as other glues, and if given enough time to dry, it is very strong.
I picked some up at either Lowes or Home Depot ( can't remember which one ) for about $4.
You might look into using that for your gluing applications.

Goodluck with your build.

Aloha
Bob 8)
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konacat
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Re: Installing Frets - No Hammer
Reply #16 - May 1st, 2008 at 5:55am
 
Bingo!!!!!!

The two most used glues in Luthiery are Original Titebond and hide glue. Original Titebond is good for everthing instrument wise especially because of its working time combined with strength. Of course you must make sure your parts don't move while clamping. Hide glue is also a great glue. Many people feel it is a better choice sonicly and allows for easier repairs and it has a long history of use. The down side is glue preperation, heating, and a pretty short working time. In addition, it is also sensitive to moistrue so it may not be the best in humid situations.

Philip
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Matt Blacka
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Re: Installing Frets - No Hammer
Reply #17 - May 1st, 2008 at 1:12pm
 
Back on the the topic of frets and fretboard installation, when I built my first uke, I followed the Hana Lima Ia workbook recomendations and left off two fret wires so that I could pin the fretboard to the neck in order to stop it shifting during glue up. Before this I had used a modified clamp and brass caul block to press the other frets into the slots. Once the fretboard was glued to the neck, I began trying to install the remaining two pieces of fret wire, but found the whole thing considerably more awkward once there was an instrument attached to the fretboard. My clamp/caul/pressing method was not easily applied, with the rounded bottom of the neck. From memory I used a combination of pressing and hammering to get the last two frets into their slots nicely.

Can anyone see any problems with installing all of the fret wires before the fretboard is glued to the neck, but leaving off two marker dots instead. I would drill the hole into the fretboard for the two marker dots to be inlayd, then within this recess, drill a finer whole which could be used to pin the fretboard to the neck during glue up. My thoughts are that it is easier to install a marker dot into the fretboard than it is two fretwires, once the fretboard is glued to the neck?

Has anyone tried this technique, and if so how did it go?
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Mr_Roboto
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Re: Installing Frets - No Hammer
Reply #18 - May 1st, 2008 at 2:42pm
 
Yes, thank you.  Back on topic.  

I received my slotting saw from Hana Lima today.  In my excitement to move on to the next step, I managed to ruin two, nice curly maple fingerboard blanks on "practice".  

I glued frets in the better of the two, just to see if the slight angle of the slots would be noticeale.  Needless to say, it looks horrible.  My plastic mitre box has slots that are too narrow for the reinforced top of the fret saw.  I had to prop the fingerboard on a piece of 2 x 4, so it was high enough that just the bottom (thinner) part of the blade would fit in the slot in the mitre box.  That left too much slop due to the thin blade, and I couldn't cut the fret slots properly due to too much travel.

I'm thinking of gluing two pieces of moulding to either side of a piece of wood, and when it dries, cutting a 90 degree angle slot (or two) in this homemade mitre box.  

Any suggestions with regard to how to approach this problem?  I'm really down in the dumps about ruining these two curly maple fingerboard blanks.  They were beautiful.

P.S.  The Pua shell fret markers from Hana Lima Ia are beauties!  (I'll probably mess up installing them as well...)

P.P.S.  Thanks for the tip with regard to the glue.  I bought a tube of Elmer's Wood Glue.  It was a dollar.  I've been using it more and more.  It says its stronger than wood, but warns against humidity.  The polyurethane glue is strong, but if you get it on your fingers it will dry them out and make them crack.  It will NOT come out of your clothes in the wash.  It also seems prone to shatter with even light blows.  I've long had a bottle of hide glue (yes, it comes in bottles pre-mixed - no heating), but only use it to glue on the tops or to glue on fingerboards, providing for repair or replacement.
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obmissy
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Re: Installing Frets - No Hammer
Reply #19 - May 1st, 2008 at 3:20pm
 
Here's how I used to cut fret slots before I bought a blade that is .022 width for my table saw.
Using the Zona fret saw from Hana Lima 'Ia
Take a piece of wood that you know has a straight true edge.
Clamp that piece of wood to where you want to cut your slot.
Use the block of wood to guide your fret saw.  Do this by running the saw against the side of the block of wood.  The block of wood can be 3/4" to 1" thick.
Place a piece of masking tape or sharpie marker line on the fretsaw to mark how deep you want your cuts.
It's not perfect but it worked very well on my first 50 or so 'ukulele.

If you continue to ruin fretboards...the table saw blade is about $60 and may be well worth the investment.  I can show you how I made the cross cutting sled and the templates so the frets are dead on.  Total cost about $5 plus the cost of the blade.  Perfect frets...priceless.
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obmissy
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Re: Installing Frets - No Hammer
Reply #20 - May 1st, 2008 at 3:26pm
 
In response to Matt.
Your idea about indexing the fret board through the fret markers is interesting.  That could probably work out pretty well especially if you install the markers first and sand them flush then remove them for the glue up.  It may be difficult to sand them flush once the fretwire has been installed.

Good luck with that and let us know how it works out.
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Matt Blacka
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Re: Installing Frets - No Hammer
Reply #21 - May 1st, 2008 at 5:35pm
 
The issue with sanding the marker dots flush once the frets are installed was the only problem I could think of. Still, in my mind I thought that would be less of a problem than the issues I had previously installing the last two frets once the fretboard was attached to the neck. I thought maybe I could level the marker dots using my dremel and precision router base, set just to the correct level, although I'm not sure that it wouldn't chip the mother of pearl and leave me with a mess? This would minimise the amount of level sanding required in the tricky area between the fret wires.

Mr Roboto: I'm in the same school of thought as the others when it comes to glue. I have used titebond original with great success, and I believe that it is stronger than the wood it is glueing, and doesn't have a brittle failure as you have described with the other glues. I have had cases where I have seen timber crack under stress, right along side a titebond glue joint, but the glue joint held just fine. It is also relatively easy to sand, and joints can be undone with heat and water if/when mistakes happen. Titebond is the business I reckon.
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Acabooe
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Re: Installing Frets - No Hammer
Reply #22 - May 2nd, 2008 at 3:09am
 
To obmissy:

Holy crap! You have made 50+ Ukuleles? Are you a professional luthier? If so, how did you get started? I am going to be a pro luthier as soon as I get enough experience.

To Matt:
You are absolutely right. I remember that when I was gluing my neck to the soung board, it accidentaly moved before I could put the clamps on. I was pretty bummed, but I got advice on this forum to steam it, and use a blade to pry it up. I held it over a pot of boiling water, and the titebond slowly loosened. I would then use a flat blade to gently pry up a little bit, then I would repeat the process untill the neck poped off. I then just sanded the old glue off, and reglued ( the correct way this time ). I have had alot of success with titebond original.

Aloha
Bob 8)
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obmissy
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Re: Installing Frets - No Hammer
Reply #23 - May 2nd, 2008 at 3:42am
 
Hi Bob,
No I am not a professional luthier...or am I?  I have made well over 100 instruments.  I got started when one day I dropped into Mike and Asa's shop in Kalihi.  I had been to the library and found a not so good book on building but I did find a reference to Mike's construction manual.  When I dropped into his shop I ended up buying his manual, a steam blanket, Zona saw and wood.  I built my first 'ukulele just by following the manual.  After I had built 4 or 5 'ukulele I took his summer class.  And the rest you can say is history. 
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Don_Orgeman
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Re: Installing Frets - No Hammer
Reply #24 - May 2nd, 2008 at 5:57am
 
Matt:

Yes, you can use pins at the marker dots.  I used this method with my guitar, and it worked fine -- but, yes the sanding was more difficult to level the dots.

Here's an alternate:

1.  Skip the first and eleventh frets in the initial installation.
2.  Drill the 1/16 inch pin locator holes in the fingerboard and neck.
3. Push the 1/16 inch locator pin into the neck hole without the fingerboard.
4.  Using your dremel and abrasive cut off wheel, cut the locator pin off so it protrudes just to the bottom of the fret slots on your fingerboard.  Slightly round the top of the pins to help them enter the fingerboard holes.  Also, a little light reaming of the pin holes in the underside of the fingerboard will help during assembly.
5.  Dry fit the fingerboard onto the neck and pins to make sure everything is okay.
6.  With the fingerboard off the neck, install the first and eleventh fret wires using your normal press method.
7 Apply TITEBOND glue to the neck and fingerboard, fit fingerboard over locator pins, and add caul and clamps.  Leaving the pins will also insure that the fingerboard will never shift if left in a car during the heat of summer.

Hope these thought help.

Don
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Don_Orgeman
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Re: Installing Frets - No Hammer
Reply #25 - May 2nd, 2008 at 6:05am
 
obmissy:

I would love to learn and see how you set up you sled and template.  Photos would also be great.  The template is the really costly part of buying the saw blade system.  The saw balde isn't much more costly than any good blade.

You can send them to me at donorgeman@hotmail.com if that is easier, or I can provide a snail mail address if that is the best route.

I also am impressed with the number of ukes you have made.  Have they all found happy homes, or have you had to add a ukulele room to you home?

Don
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Mr_Roboto
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Re: Installing Frets - No Hammer
Reply #26 - May 2nd, 2008 at 8:36am
 
I gave up.  Got another pre-slotted rosewood board.  Hope it sounds as good as maple.  When it comes to slotting fingerboards, I feel like Charlie Brown making a Halloween costume.  (sigh...)
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Matt Blacka
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Re: Installing Frets - No Hammer
Reply #27 - May 2nd, 2008 at 6:19pm
 
Don, pure genius. I will do your trick of docking  of the locating pins to just below the bottom of the fret slots, then put in the remaining two frets. Why didn't I think of this?

Mr Roboto, I'm sure the Rosewood will sound just fine. Soooo many great instruments have Rosewood fretboards. You have nothing  to worry about.
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Mr_Roboto
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Re: Installing Frets - No Hammer
Reply #28 - May 4th, 2008 at 8:22am
 
Got the frets installed on the rosewood pre-slotted board I'd purchased as well as the paua shell inlay on the top and sides.  (Found out you should wait to install frets until after you've done the dot marker inlay, because it makes it easier to sand the shell dot markers down.)    Shocked Roll Eyes

I used my homemade slotting mitre box - "The Luthier's Friend" (AKA - "The Fret-erooni") to cut the slots in a curly maple blank, then, not having yet determined that I'd have to sand the dot markers down in the rosewood board, again installed frets before doing dot marker inlay on top.  (What fun....)  

The "Fret-erooni", er, "Luthier's Friend" (all rights reserved, copyright 2008, patent pending, certain terms may apply, not available in North America, etc. - LOL  Grin)  is pictured.  The "design" of the "Fret-erooni" provides enough space on either side to clamp down both the board being fretted and the "fret-erooni" to a work bench or table without the guides glued to the top getting in the way.  

It's a tiny thing, so it stores easily.  It's from "spare" wood.  The bottom is oak.  The guides on top are mahogany, about 3/4 inch high.  I simply glued them down approximately parallel and far enough apart for any fret board I might attempt, used a square to mark a line perpendicular to the one side, and used the fretting saw to cut a slot just big enough for the saw.  It works well.  If the slots at one place in the "Fret-erooni" wear out someday, I'll cut another slot.  Enough said.

...
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« Last Edit: May 5th, 2008 at 3:50pm by Mr_Roboto »  
 
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