Fret levelling prior to glueing FB to neck?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Slowtwitch, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    I'm wondering whether it is a good idea to level frets before I join the fretboard and neck?

    Frets are installed and I'm thinking maybe I can stick the FB to a flat surface to level frets without worrying whether the neck is straight or will bow while levelling

    My concern is when I glue the FB onto the neck, whether the ever so slight difference in clamping pressure along the neck or glue film thickness variance will undo the levelling job

    Any advice, is this a common practice, your thoughts?
     
  2. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think you could do either, just as you can level a bolt on or a set neck.

    The thing in your favor is easier manueverability pre glue.
     
  3. Warren Pederson

    Warren Pederson Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    once the fretboard is on you'll want the frets to be level, right? Do it after
     
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  4. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'd wait until the neck is done. There's no guarantee that the wood won't be moving individually until then. You can install the frets before if that's the way you want to do it. Gibson used to sell pre- fretted fretboards to their repair centers.
     
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  5. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I misread your approach obviously. Disregard.
     
  6. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    No... not unless you devise a method to prevent the two different pieces of wood from expanding and contracting at different rates as temperatures and humidity change... in fact. I'd want to do it as far away from the time the neck is made as practical... it gives the woods time to acclimate and "marry"...

    rk
     
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  7. GPlo

    GPlo Tele-Meister

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    When levelling you’re not applying very much pressure at all. So if you carefully clamp your neck down (at the heel for example) and use some sort of support under the neck in one or two spots it won’t bow and you’ll be fine.

    The way you described might work but i wouldn’t risk it
     
  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    +1 with RK. Necks move around a lot during and after glue up. I would even let them settle in for a week or two with strings full up to tension. And then do your fret leveling. Even consider using a fret leveling jig (which simulates string tension) -- if you want to see why, take any guitar you currently have and lay it on it's back and tune it to pitch. Now tip the guitar up on it's edge like you'd have in playing position and recheck the tuning, you'll see how the notes move around just from gravity acting on the neck in spite of the truss-rod providing tension -- now imagine scrubbing a leveling beam down the neck and what is causing the neck to bend where? That's why I now use a leveling jig.

    .
     
  9. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    my process is to get the neck made, lacquered, and almost done.... I let it hang while I do everything else, make the body, etc.... it hangs for the duration of the wait, usually 4 weeks... then I polish the body, assemble all the sub-assemblies... then do the neck.. I polish it, then do the fret leveling .. install the keys, make the nut... then assemble the guitar.... that gives the neck the maximum time to do whatever it wants... If it wants to get weird, I wanna know about it before it ships...

    rk
     
  10. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    cool thx. looks like it's conclusive then :)
     
  11. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    fretted before the board is on?Never heard of that. Is the board flat or arc'd at this point?
     
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  12. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    No. After. Makes no sense to do it before, given the purpose of fret leveling. There's a reason why it comes later. Several.
     
  13. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Radiused and inlayed and sometimes bound as in this NOS board for an ES or LP Special. Plastic pins align the board to the neck. If you remove a Gibson board you'll find two plastic pins in holes.


    fb1.jpg


    fb2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  14. MikeG74

    MikeG74 TDPRI Member

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    I have always leveled the frets last... I've never considered putting frets on the board and then installing.

    After fretboard install you have to finish shaping so it is seamless... I would think the frets would get in the way. just my opinion, of course :)
     
  15. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I almost always fret the board before gluing it onto the neck - I press frets in and feel I can do a better job. The f/b almost always takes a slight backbow from the compression of the fret tangs

    IMG_2615.JPG

    I clean up the fret ends but don't do any leveling until after the board is glued to the neck. I use a fitted caul on both the board and neck and the backbow comes out when glued up.

    The frets get leveled after the glue up - that way I can take care of body joint humps or anything else that pops up

    IMG_5107.JPG

    IMG_4789.JPG
     
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  16. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Slow, when I did my thread on Basic Setups there is a section on fret work - both new and old boards. Perfect frets are the key to a perfect setup, I spend quite a bit of time getting them that way.
     
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  17. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    Why would anyone put in the frets before the board was even on?
     
  18. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Because there isn't just one way to do these things.....:).
     
  19. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Because there are necks that are not Fenders.
     
  20. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    here's why ya don't do it.....

    IF some frets are as little as .003" high or low.... the fingerboard will never be able to achieve optimum playability... When ya glue a fingerboards onto the core neck... the glue joint can easily be .003" off here and there... creating that kind of variations..

    now how much is .003? see that sheet of a post-it note stuck to your monitor reminding ya of something ya don't really wanna do... it's .003 thick.. if you have a glue seam/joint that varies that much up 'n down the fingerboard, you would not be able to see it.... and if the frets are off that much, eye-ballin' it lengthwise would not detect it... not even if ya have Starrett calibrated eyes..

    rk
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
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