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gb Custom Shop

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I've seen some pretty expensive fret beveling files around, and honestly the prices are a bit outrageous. Anyone with a half decent table saw can make one in minutes. Here's mine

20220425_200831.jpg


I use my hand as a stop at the nut end, so I don't smash the file accidentally into the headstock. Did that on my first neck though lol. A few minutes of filing and that's done.

I will eventually tape up the fretboard for when I'm leveling, crowning, and polishing. Before I get there I want to do a couple things.

The very bottom corner of the fret end, I want to file that now, before applying tape. Here's a closer shot of what I'm talking about. The left side had the corner relieved, whilst the right side is untouched. I'm only doing the very bottom here, I'll do the rest after crowning.
20220425_211411.jpg


I'll follow that up with some 320 attached to a piece of leather, attached to a piece of wood. I go in circular motions, clockwise down the neck, counter clockwise up the neck, focusing on the fret ends. This will further smooth those fret ends, but also start to break the fretboard edge.

20220425_203752.jpg


I'll further break the fretboard edge with thin strips of sandpaper, working in a lateral motion, not up and down! I focus toward the fret ends, and then bring the centre together.

20220425_221756.jpg


I personally dislike when rolled fretboard edges take on a scalloped look. That's why I do it this way. Although you wouldn't want to go overboard here

However once that's done, I'll give it a smooth over with 800 grit real quick up and down the fret ends, with the same block and and piece of leather. Feeling pretty good so far!

I'll get the fretboard taped up now. It's kind of nice leveling and crowning while the neck is still flat. Just comes at the risk of having to do it all over again once the neck is under string tension. I'll take my chances 😃
 

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Moodivarius

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I've seen some pretty expensive fret beveling files around, and honestly the prices are a bit outrageous. Anyone with a half decent table saw can make one in minutes. Here's mine

View attachment 977167

I use my hand as a stop at the nut end, so I don't smash the file accidentally into the headstock. Did that on my first neck though lol. A few minutes of filing and that's done.

I will eventually tape up the fretboard for when I'm leveling, crowning, and polishing. Before I get there I want to do a couple things.

The very bottom corner of the fret end, I want to file that now, before applying tape. Here's a closer shot of what I'm talking about. The left side had the corner relieved, whilst the right side is untouched. I'm only doing the very bottom here, I'll do the rest after crowning. View attachment 977169

I'll follow that up with some 320 attached to a piece of leather, attached to a piece of wood. I go in circular motions, clockwise down the neck, counter clockwise up the neck, focusing on the fret ends. This will further smooth those fret ends, but also start to break the fretboard edge.

View attachment 977173

I'll further break the fretboard edge with thin strips of sandpaper, working in a lateral motion, not up and down! I focus toward the fret ends, and then bring the centre together.

View attachment 977171

I personally dislike when rolled fretboard edges take on a scalloped look. That's why I do it this way. Although you wouldn't want to go overboard here

However once that's done, I'll give it a smooth over with 800 grit real quick up and down the fret ends, with the same block and and piece of leather. Feeling pretty good so far!

I'll get the fretboard taped up now. It's kind of nice leveling and crowning while the neck is still flat. Just comes at the risk of having to do it all over again once the neck is under string tension. I'll take my chances 😃
I’m the same as you, couldn’t justify spending a lot on a fret bevel file, so I made one as well.



Scott
 
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gb Custom Shop

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Here's the whole fret leveling & crowning set up:
20220426_230757.jpg


To tape up the fretboard I like to use the hosco tape that comes in different widths. Low tack stuff. I try to get the tape right up to the fret edge.

Before we can start leveling, we need to ensure the fretboard is as flat as possible.
I probably should have checked this BEFORE I put the tape on, but oh well, just makes you squint a little harder.

Before I level, I'm quickly going to check the frets with a rocker. I should get the same feedback I did after seating the frets. That tells me 2 things. First, the fretboard is about as level as it was when I seated the frets. And two, it'll indicate the high spots and where I need to focus on leveling.
I know my frets seated pretty damn good (as per the fret rocker), so I know there's not much leveling to be done.

I've leveled frets before with a long flat beam and also with a long radius beam. Both to good success, in my experience. Although, I would only ever use the long radius beam if the neck is still flat (I.e. not carved). With the radius beam, the motion has to be perfect, you can only allow the beam to go in one direction, fore and aft. Also the centerline of the radius beam, must match the centerline of the fretboard on each stroke. If anything is off, you can be leveling for longer than expected, as you compensate for that difference in alignment. But it can be done, and good results can be achieved with that method, in my experience.

I opted to use a medium length thin flat bar with 320 PSA. The shorter bar gives plenty of control, and is plenty long enough to get the frets flat relative to one another. I use a sharpie on the fret tops to indicate my progress. It really didn't take much effort to get this done.

Normally I would induce some fall away towards the higher frets. However, my fretboard already has some fall away built in (accidentally). It is a few thou thinner at the heel end from when I was radiusing. That's what happens when you get mad at a piece of katalox 😃

Anyways, a little bit of leveling, means only a little bit of crowning. I'll mark the tops of the frets again with the sharpie. When crowning, I try to keep a thin as possible line on the tops of the frets, and ensure I don't file away this line (which could induce low spots)
The wire brush helps keep the diamond abrasive on the crowning file clean.

Next up, a little bit of fret end filing. A few swipes is all you need, but I probably do a few more just for good measure.

Getting there.... Now we need to get rid of the 320 grit scratch marks from the leveling process,' so I'll use some higher grit paper for that. And I follow that up with synthetic steel wool.

Now we can polish! I've typically done this on stationary buffers, but I'm going to try a Dremel this time. I think I preferred this method actually. The stationary buffer generates more heat (and distributes it to a wider area), often rips the tape more, and gets more buffing compound on the fretboard. I don't think it's any faster either. Using the Dremel is more like colouring inside the lines (or on top of the lines in this case). It's much more focused. Less of a mess. And provided great, fairly quick results. I mostly used the rouge compound that came with the Dremel, but I followed up with menzerna fine (for comparison sake), didn't notice much difference between the two. Both were shiny. I used a low RPM.
20220427_213751.jpg


Once that's done, tape comes off, and I do a quick wipe with acetone to get any remaining compound residue off.

The fretboard is all done!


20220427_220737.jpg
 

gb Custom Shop

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Alright I'm back at it. Before I start carving the neck, I'd like to get the neck pocket routed in the body first. But before I do that, I'm going to install binding, and do a few other things on the body.

First, let's finish up those ferrule holes. I initially started these 1/8" holes from the top, but didn't go all the way through. For perfect alignment at the back, I place a piece of MDF, with an 1/8" pin sticking out, centred directly underneath the Brad bit on my drill press. This is secured with double sided tape.
20220502_210033.jpg


Then I can locate that pin onto the pre-drilled holes on the top side of the body, and drill away. I eventually needed to go a touch deeper from the top side. But otherwise, no complaints with the outcome :)
20220502_210111.jpg


I'll be using a curved neck plate. So I'm going to shape the neck pocket area to be parallel. I used another body template for that. Then I drilled for the neck mounting screws.
20220502_202411.jpg


I'll be using the gotoh vintage style tele bridge. However there's a mismatch between that and my template set. You can see wood exposed through the bridge plate.
20220516_202952.jpg


I marked what needed to be removed, and carefully freehand routed that out.
20220516_205004.jpg

20220516_204917.jpg


The last thing I'll do before binding is sand the sides, and make sure everything is perfectly smooth. I also want to get out any deep scratches. I don't want to use anything overly coarse once the bindings installed, so I went up to 180 grit here, but before I moved up in grits.....

Remember that blow out from earlier? It's finally time to address that. I'm going to try rosewood binding. And the thickness of the binding will determine how much I need to profile that part of the body, so the blow out doesn't show. I routed a scrap piece with the binding bit & bearing I would need for this binding, and used that to measure my profiling progress.
20220429_175025.jpg


It made the upper bout a bit less voluptuous, but it's not overly noticeable. Glad that's over though, because I really didn't enjoy re-profiling. It felt wrong, even though it was a logical solution.
 

gb Custom Shop

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At this point, I've completed the side profile of the body, and my binding is ready for bending. I've never used wood binding before, and I've never tried bending wood before. Nonetheless, I'll give it a shot 😃

Before I commit to routing the body for the binding channel, I'm going to practice on MDF first. I used the actual body as a template, and copied that to MDF to use as a form, and routed the binding channel on the MDF, and applied sealer to that channel. Spoiler alert: glad I did!

The binding my usual wood/lutherie supplier carries is 0.10" (2.5mm) thick, and has w/b/w layers. That was a challenge in itself for me.
IMG-20220511-WA0019.jpg


I used a heat gun as my heat source, and picked up some 3/4" copper pipe from home depot. I figured that size would help for a tele profile.

I picked away at this over the course of a few days, whilst intermittently doing research and trying new methods of going about it. A few things I tried:
- Spritzing the wood, then bending directly over the pipe.
- Using a damp/wet cloth over the pipe
- Pre-steaming the wood, then bending
- Wetting the wood, then directly applying the heat gun
- Using a piece of steel sheet as a backer

The waist areas were a piece of cake, and very satisfying! I'd feel quite confident doing this on a dreadnought. But the horn, and the tight curve on the tele....that didn't work out so well.

It started to break around those tight curves, the w/b/w layers started peeling off. I even removed one of the layers, then another, and tried again, but that didn't help much in actually bending the rosewood.
20220516_200511.jpg

20220516_200749.jpg


Ultimately it became evident this wouldn't turn out perfect. I didn't care to cover all the mishaps in CA and have it look all janky. I also struggled to get a consistently tight fit, without any gaps.

If I'm going to do this, I want to do it right, and as close to perfect as possible. At this point, I didn't care to re-order new binding, and wait around for that just to try again. I'll just use materials I currently have on hand, and keep life moving.

I'll revisit wood binding some other day, and start with much thinner binding, and without the purfling layers.
I am glad I tried this though. It was a good challenge, and learning experience. So thank you guys for this suggestion. 😃
 

gb Custom Shop

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Thus far, I've established that I don't like overly re-profiling, and wood binding isn't going to work on this build, but I still have to cover up that 0.10" (2.5mm) blow out. After a lot of contemplation, my solution is to use TWO pieces of celluloid binding, which I already have on hand. I couldn't really find examples of this, so I figured it's worth a shot.

These bindings are 0.060" (1.5mm) thick each. One piece is 6mm tall (dark tortoise), and will go on the inside channel, the other is 7mm tall (red/brown tortoise), and will be on the outside. I cut off small pieces and glued them together to see how it'll look. The outside layer darkened up considerably. But since one layer is taller than the other, I can get a 2-tone effect here. I routed these channels on scrap to get an idea of it, and then I committed to routing this on the body.

For routing my rabbets / binding channel, I use the rabbeting/binding set from Amana (49342). It can cut rabbets in 0.5mm increments from 1mm to 3mm. They also have the 49346 set, which can cut from 3.5mm to 5.5mm, in 0.5mm increments, depending on the bearing. The bit is also a 3 flute design, with the cutters set at an angle. IMO, this is more cost effective than what stewmac offers, even if you get both sets from Amana. The stewmac one is WAY overpriced for one bit and a bunch of bearings.

Anyways, the first route was for 3mm wide, at just under 6mm deep (this was done in 2 passes). The second route was for 1.5mm wide, at just under 7mm deep. I routed in scrap to confirm my depth, before routing the body. Afterwards I scraped out any fuzzies, and now my binding channels are perfectly clean and ready to accept the celluloid.
20220516_223441.jpg


Here's a dry example of what we're looking at. I think the two tone effect is pretty cool and unique!
20220516_224118.jpg


Just a matter of adhering this into the channel, which will happen next time I'm in the shop!
 

gb Custom Shop

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To install the binding, I'll use acetone and 3M binding tape. A glass medicine dropper helps administer the acetone. I'm attaching both layers at the same time.
20220517_200652.jpg


A little clamping action helped get a seamless joint around that tight curve
20220517_203935.jpg


I let that sit overnight, and came back the next day to scrape everything flush on the top and sides. That scraper is a hosco branded one from their mini scraper set. All in all, I'm happy with how this turned out.

20220518_231522.jpg


Now that's finally done, I'll shift my focus to the neck pocket. The last time I used this template set, the neck fit into it's pocket with a bit more slop than I'd like. So I experimented with different thicknesses of tape as a shim for routing, on scrap. One extra piece was the ticket for a lovely fit.

I then did a test fit of the neck, and made sure everything was nice and centered. I even placed the bridge in position, and simulated the string path with a piece of string. Everything looks good! At this point, I clamped the neck in, and marked the neck screw holes from the back of the body. I also traced the neck heel contour, which will be my stop line when carving the neck.

20220523_202432.jpg


Final stretch on the body now. Going to hit the roundovers next. Before I do so, i at least want to sand out the 80 grit drumsander marks on the back. Ended up going to 150 grit there.

I started out with a 1/8" roundover on the back, and wasn't too found of that look. However, after some serious internal debate, I decided to put an 1/8" roundover on the binding. I couldn't find any literature suggesting this was a good idea, but I went for it, and glad I did! Afterwards I put a 1/4" roundover on the back.

All that's left really is the jack hole. I started with a 7/8" forstner, then used a 1/2" Brad to go all the way through, then I finished back up with the 7/8" forstner.

20220523_221413.jpg


The body is basically done, although it'll need some hours of sanding before it's good for finish! After hogging out all that material, the body weighs:
20220523_221859.jpg
 

wadeeinkauf

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I never use binding because I like a deep carve on the body. To tell the truth I seldom see a guitar where I think the binding enhanced the look of the guitar. For this thinline with the F hole that traditional brown tortoise shell binding is outstanding. With that body weight the guitar should come in a tad under 7 pounds. Looking forward to seeing the finished guitar. Really classy look. I did not see what you are planning on electronics but would highly recommend a 4 way switch. The 4th position puts the two pickups in series mode effectively making a humbucker. A power mode I like for hard rock.
 

gb Custom Shop

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I never use binding because I like a deep carve on the body. To tell the truth I seldom see a guitar where I think the binding enhanced the look of the guitar. For this thinline with the F hole that traditional brown tortoise shell binding is outstanding. With that body weight the guitar should come in a tad under 7 pounds. Looking forward to seeing the finished guitar. Really classy look. I did not see what you are planning on electronics but would highly recommend a 4 way switch. The 4th position puts the two pickups in series mode effectively making a humbucker. A power mode I like for hard rock.
Thank you sir! I was worried the binding would look too thick, but I actually have no complaints about that. In fact, that thickness worked perfectly to route an 1/8" roundover on, which I would have scraped otherwise.

I always use a 4-way switch for my single coil tele's. I actually see no reason not to!
 

eallen

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Nice looking build! Look forward to seeing the finished product.

The soft brass brush for the diamond crown file is the difference between people thinking they have a bad one or a great one!

I won't spend for the fret bevel file either. I went a slightly different option to use one side to level the ends first and the other side for the bevel.
20201007_182416.jpg
20201007_182401.jpg
 

eallen

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That's very clever. Do you account for the fretboard radius and mount it a an angle a bit more than 90 degrees?I

I make mostly 9-12" compound radius fretboards athe angle isn't significant enough to worry about. If you think about it, even on a compound radius board the back neck profile rounds away from the fretboard so you dont have to worry about the file hitting it anyway as the radius tightens.
 

gb Custom Shop

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I got the body all sanded up to 320. Then cleaned up the sides and binding with a Mirka maroon pad. Sandpaper leaves quite a visible scratch pattern on the binding, and while I could have done a final scrape, I didn't want to risk imperfecting any of the sides. The Mirka pad cleans it right up. It also cleans up end grain nicely too.
I then hit the top with a damp sponge to raise the grain, and sanded back down again with 320.

20220531_212238.jpg


I was always going to stain this top. Given the natural colours and slight imperfections in the top, I try to carry on that theme in staining. I'm using ColorFx aniline dye mixed into methyl hydrate.

Here's what I did - laid a base coat of 50/50 amber & yellow. On the edges I dabbed a bit more to build a deeper colour there. Mixed up some 'burnt sienna' (aka reddish brown) with a couple drops of red. I dabbed that sparingly around the edges. Then with the amber/yellow, I start swirling that outer layer towards the inside.
20220531_224359_05.jpg


Once that's dry, I sand back with 320 on the orbital sander. Then I go over the entire top with a 90/10 yellow/amber mix. Let that dry. Then scuff back with a Mirka maroon pad. Cleaned the dust off afterwards as best I can.

Normally I would spray a mist coat of sanding sealer at this point, but I want to try something new, and thus I tried zpoxy diluted quite thin in methyl hydrate as my sealer, and wiped that on. This did pick up some colour, but that was no big deal.

I went with a wipe on, wipe/buff off approach (kind of like an oil finish), which was a spur of the moment decision, and honestly, worked out pretty darn fine. Here it is with 1 coat. I'll likely add another 1 or 2 the same way. I'm happy with how that turned out.

20220601_213943.jpg
 

gb Custom Shop

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You should be. That's a great look. Do you have a lot of experience with dies and stains?
Not that much, really. I've done a couple other maple caps before, and a humidor with a maple top that I stained. But I also do my research & practice to prepare myself for success 😃
Big D Guitars on YouTube has been an excellent resource for me, he deserves a shout.

For me, staining a nice piece of figured maple is just incredibly satisfying. Here's that humidor I was talking about
IMG-20220210-WA0004.jpg
 

chaosman12

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Not that much, really. I've done a couple other maple caps before, and a humidor with a maple top that I stained. But I also do my research & practice to prepare myself for success 😃
Big D Guitars on YouTube has been an excellent resource for me, he deserves a shout.

For me, staining a nice piece of figured maple is just incredibly satisfying. Here's that humidor I was talking about View attachment 990094
Beautiful. Is that where you keep your small guitars? ;-)
 




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