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Checking radius on Tele neck?

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by DucDone, Aug 26, 2020.

  1. DucDone

    DucDone Tele-Meister

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    Hi- I bought an unfinished USCG neck on Ebay. I didn't see that the fret board was flat and needed radiusing. I bought some tools and did the radius. It looks fine now, but I wonder if there is a way to check whether the radius is even? (Before I put the frets i?)
     
  2. E5RSY

    E5RSY Doctor of Teleocity

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    Stew Mac. You can buy just the two for unfretted necks, or the whole set.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. DucDone

    DucDone Tele-Meister

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    I have one of those, but how can you tell if the neck is strait or not, and not twisted?
     
  4. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Use a straightedge at multiple points. Also, eyeball it - the eye is very good at picking up irregularities. It will be hard to detect if the radius is cocked/rocked to one side or another, But I doubt it would be far off. And if it is off slightly, a saddle adjustment or heel adjustment should remedy it.
     
  5. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    How did you radius your fretboard? What radius did you use? Did you start with a perfectly flat board, if so how did you establish that?

    You can make or buy radius gauges - if you have a CADD or drawing program plot a circle of whatever radius you want on paper and cut it out. You can also just use a compass and set it to your radii and draw that on a piece of heave paper or cardboard. I have the little StewMac fret press cauls and I can use one of them to check.

    When I make the board I first plane and sand it perfectly flat from end to end with the truss rod slack or neutral, then I sand the radius in using a long sanding block with the correct curve. It is important to check the depth of the slots after you have sanded the board - you will be removing material from the edges. Be very careful to clean all the debris out of the slots before you start fretting. Obviously if you have a bound f/b you need to deal with that.

    The other thing that will make this more of a challenge is if you decided to use a compound radius.
     
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  6. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    Checking for a twist would be pretty complicated. I havent really figured out how to do it simply. I have a height gage though:
    -put two V blocks on a granite plate or very flat rigid surface.
    -Place the neck fretboard up on the V blocks.
    -Using a height gage to measure off the granite plate, level the fretboard longitudinally by shimming, to make the nut end and the heel end the same height
    -Now level the fretboard at the heel end so both edges are the same height from the granite plate.
    -Now check to see if the fretboard edges are equal height at the nut end. If not, it's twisted.

    You could do this with a flat surface, some shimming and a caliper or even measuring tape with some accuracy to see any major twist.
     
  7. E5RSY

    E5RSY Doctor of Teleocity

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    It's a little difficult to see a twist in a neck without frets in it. With frets, its easy. Just look down from the headstock end and the frets should all be parallel like railroad ties. If they're not, it its pretty obvious.
     
  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I assume you have a straight edge?
    When a neck is twisted, what you have is one side (say following the low E string path will be dead straight while the other side (say following the high E path will be not straight, either back bowed or up bowed AKA relief.

    If the straight edge shows dead straight in the middle and along both sides or edges, the neck is not twisted.
     
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  9. DucDone

    DucDone Tele-Meister

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    I made a jig like the picture and used a 12" radius wood block. The board wasn't totally flat, so I sanded it down first. Then I use a metal radius device, and strangely enough it looked like 9.5 fitted best. No glitches as I pulled it upwards towards the heal. I worry a bit about ether it's twisted or not. And if it is slightly, maybe it could be adjuted with the frets?
     

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  10. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    If there is an irregularity, now is the time to fix it - before the frets are on. If you lay a straightedge on it in a straight line from where the nut will be (like a string) it should have no gaps anywhere along the length. DON'T follow the side of the fretboard as that will take it over the radius and it will show a hump. Check it right down the center, then mark the center line. Then move it to the edge of the NUT, then lay the straightedge exactly parallel to the midline. It should show no gaps. Repeat on the other side. If one side pulls away and the other is too high, it is twisted. If both sides pull away, you have back-bow. If both sides are high, you have up-bow. This can usually be eliminated with the truss rod.

    It isn't very likely it is twisted enough to matter, but if it is, now would be the time to address it.
     
  11. DucDone

    DucDone Tele-Meister

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    And then there is the problem with the truss rod adjuster. Is there anything to be done with this, it doesn't go into the heel when tightened.
     

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  12. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Get a long metal radius sanding beam and sand it again.


    Is it possible that the threads have bottomed out on the nut at that point? Did you drill the counterbore long enough to accomodate the nut... is the nut as far as it can go into the wood due to a short counterbore? A 1" long nut would need a 1" long counterbore to go in flush with the wood. You might be able to make the nut shorter at the threaded end by sawing and filing. If you are going to build necks, you should consider the long metal sanding beams over the short wooden beams too.
     
  13. DucDone

    DucDone Tele-Meister

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    I didn't make the neck, it was made by USACG, I bought it off someone at Ebay. I need the nut to be 4 mm shorter to get it flush with the heel. I was a bit of a surprise that it didn't go in.
     
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  14. Chief101

    Chief101 Tele-Meister

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    I didn’t know USACG (or any other neck manufacturer) would sell a neck that had not gone through the complete manufacturing process.
     
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  15. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Sounds like it is past time to get in touch with the seller. The adjuster should not be your problem. It is unfortunate you have put so much time into the neck and now have this problem. But your only good recourse may be to return or exchange it for one that is better sorted. Your time is worth money as well. I bought a $50 custom, unfinished Gibson-spec neck from China and other than a level and polish and my time to finish it, I encountered no problems. Bolted right on perfectly. If your seller doesn't make good on it or refund some of your money, get eBay involved.
     
  16. DucDone

    DucDone Tele-Meister

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    I have written to him, awaiting answer---
     
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  17. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    The trussrod nut looks like a problem, because even with a shorter nut you've got an issue of either the depth of the countersink or the position of where the threads end up.
     
  18. TwangBrain

    TwangBrain Tele-Meister

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    Sighting the neck is the first way to check for warpage, followed up with a straight edge check.
     
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