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Can I use a window stone instead of a countertop to level?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by spartaboss, Dec 19, 2020.

  1. spartaboss

    spartaboss TDPRI Member

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    Hi everybody, hope you're doing well in this crazy times,
    My parents are having the windows at our house remodelled and there is a scrap piece of polished granite that's a good size for a fret levelling beam. I saw many posts here refering kitchen counter tops as good sources of flat scraps so my questions are: is it as flat as a kitchen counter stone? how flat would that be/what would the tolerences be? how precise does a levelling beam need to be? Is there a way to check for flatness at home?

    I used a plastic level as sanding beam to level my main guitar that was buzzing and now it's even worse and the frets are lower. I am not a luthier so if I bought a sanding beam it wouldn't get much use.
     
  2. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    It may be fine, albeit a bit hard to control "momentum!".
    The only way to know is find a place to measure how flat it is. Granite is used in close tolerance inspection, but big and thick. A good machine shop ought to have a granite inspection plate to check flatness.
     
  3. TX_Slinger

    TX_Slinger Tele-Meister

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    use an aluminum ruler to determine if its truly flat. $5 @ local hardware store. After using for that, take $5 aluminum ruler and cut fret slots to use it to determine when truss rod is adjusted to make neck totally flat so you can begin levelling process. win!
     
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  4. spartaboss

    spartaboss TDPRI Member

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    The problem is I don't know about any machine shop near me.

    Wouldn't a store bought non precision ruler be less accurate?
     
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  5. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    You want to make small , and I mean small movements when doing this . Lift the beam , set it back down and do another 1/4" pass . Repeat . When sanding anything , there is a tendency to remove more material at the leading and trailing edges of the contact area . Because of this , small and short passes followed by others as needed is the way to go .
     
  6. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Get yourself a 12" to 18" aluminum level that has been fly-cut on a mill (you can tell by the marks in the surface). These are inexpensive, super straight, way cheaper than the overpriced sanding beams you can get at Stooge Mac or LMI, and available at any home center.

    Bonus: if you drop it, it won't break into five pieces like a stick of granite or marble does.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. spartaboss

    spartaboss TDPRI Member

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    Unfortunately I didn't see any level that had a surface with a pattern like that at the store I went to. Ideally I would buy a square profile aluminium tube, find a nice local machinist and ask him politely to machine one of the sides flat but I haven't had such luck. Am I better off looking for a solution that doesn't involve stone?
     
  8. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    You might look up your nice local machinist and see if he (or she) just might happen to have something in the drop-off bin that'll work for you.

    Maybe a piece of 1" X 2" steel rectangular tubing, or maybe even a piece of 1" thick X ~2" wide aluminum plate stock :).

    A back and forth pass on a milling machine will true up the narrow edge (1") and the 2" dimension gives you something to comfortably hang on to.

    I'm sure everyone has their own preference, but I happen to prefer a leveling beam that has a bit of heft to it; it seems easier to control and I don't need to apply any additional downward pressure which can end up being somewhat unevenly applied.

    If you stop by your nice local machinist in the morning, having a box of donuts along in the car sometimes works wonders.

    Most machinists and other folks who work in machine shops are pretty good down-to-earth people. They are generally the kind of folks who would "get it" when you tell them what you plan on using it for ;).
    .
     
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  9. spartaboss

    spartaboss TDPRI Member

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    That would be great, I just haven't found him/her yet. That's why I'm looking for other solutions.
     
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  10. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    I would not skimp on a leveling beam. You want it dead flat. Don't worry of you don't work on guitars much, you will probably find a use for it. I use mine all the time for various sanding jobs.
     
  11. dan40

    dan40 Friend of Leo's

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  12. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I use a granite piece. Got the idea from the Kirn thread here.

    If you cant control a granite leveling beam you have issues. I've always found the weight to be a positive. That's why you mark the tops of the frets.

    The big plus is they were free. The place I went to with my initial piece I brought with me took 1 look at it & threw it in the bin. He then inspected all his scraps and showed me how much more precise they were than the one I brought in. He then cut me 3 pieces of varying length. He was genuinely interested in what I was using them for. I graciously thanked him a million times.
     
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  13. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Holic

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    Amateur here: I used a 24" level, dbl sided tape, wet/dry paper (dry).

    To purchase the level, I held two up flat-to-flat overhead so the light could shine through. I figured the odds of two being off in the same way was below minimal. If there's no light shining through, they are straight.

    I liked the 24" aspect. I thought odds were much higher that the entire fretboard would be level top to bottom if I was sanding all of the frets equally / simultaneously.

    I could see a long piece of granite being a real feature. It would be self leveling with no need to press evenly. Just let the weight of it do the work as you move it back and forth. With a lighter beam, you have to be careful to press evenly as you work. That would go away.
     
  14. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Maybe you should back up a bit. Just because you have a buzzing issue you may not need a complete fret dress, there is more to it than that. The piece of granite you have should work fine but make sure you have exhausted the possibilities before you start filing away metal.
     
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