Radius Sanding Beam

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by brownale99, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. brownale99

    brownale99 TDPRI Member

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    Due to the constantly awful weather in the UK and a wife that doesn't like sawdust I'm stuck at the moment as I can only build outdoors. I've decided to have a go at a richlite PRS style fretboard while the wife is out. I managed the inlays no problem but it became apparent that I had problems sanding the radius in with a 200mm wood radius block when I checked it with a straight edge, the more I tired to level it the worse it seemed to get so I bit the bullet and bought a 400mm metal beam and all of the problems became visible straight away.
    IMG_3692.JPG IMG_3693.JPG
    Is there an easy way to sand in the radius with the shorter (and cheaper) block or is it a case of cheap tools poor results? I made a radius jig and used that for the first few fretboards with no issues, this is my first attempt at hand sanding one.
     
  2. abrianb

    abrianb Tele-Meister

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    It looks like you have been doing the work instead of your paper. Pushing down to one side and harder in some places than others. It will take time and a light touch to even it out.
     
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  3. abrianb

    abrianb Tele-Meister

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    Also only use full length strokes.
     
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  4. PinewoodRo

    PinewoodRo Tele-Afflicted

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    I use a vertical board clamped alongside the length of the neck to keep the block straight and perpendicular. Really helped for me.
     
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  5. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The longer metal beam is the way to go. It has helped me produce much better necks than the shorter wooden blocks.
     
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  6. brownale99

    brownale99 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks folks, feedback appreciated as always.

    Yeah, I must admit I did get a bit impatient once my arms started to tire, it seemed to take an age to sand.

    I've got a board clamped in place on the pic there, I think next time I may put one either side.

    Using the longer beam is like day and night, it's so much easier to even the pressure out over the fretboard and seems a lot easier to use.

    I'm not the best qualified to give advice but after this I would definitely promote spending the extra for the longer beam, the difference is well worth it. Just gotta hope I can get rid of the dip without sanding through the inlays now.
     
  7. GotTheSilver

    GotTheSilver Tele-Meister

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    I built a very simple jig to help out. I cut out a long rectangular piece of MFD, and two long narrow strips of MDF. I screwed the narrow strips onto the rectangular piece, just barely far enough apart so that the sanding block can move back and forth, but not side to side. Helps me keep the apex of the radius in the center of the fretboard.

    Also, I tend to turn the fretboard around every so often while sanding, so that any bias I have toward one side or the other (hopefully!) gets evened out.
     
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  8. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Unrelated to the OP but - you did a stunning job on those inlays! Care to share your technique?

    Thanks,
    Rex
     
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  9. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    For very little money you can build a jig to cut the radius with your router and a straight cut router bit , then use your long sander to remove any remaining tooling marks. You can make it all yourself from stuff you probably have in the waste box of your workshop. As I get older and more lazy and cunning I look for easy solutions to hard problems.........sanding a radius was just one of them!

    This was I think the first version of it. There are lots more radius's now but it eliminates about 70% of the hard work and is more accurate IMHO.

    Marty (Guitarbuilder) on here was an original designer and builder of this style of machine ............Many thanks Marty!


    DC

    Multi jig glamour shot.jpg
     
  10. brownale99

    brownale99 TDPRI Member

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    Cheers Dave, I've already made a compound radius jig that works a treat. I'm sure it was one that I got from one of Marty's posts. The problem I had here was I had to inlay the board first as I needed the board flat to use the dremel for the inlay routes. I'm pretty sure the router would demolish the pearl in no time. I'm the same, if there's an easy way I'll take it but I couldn't see a way around it this time.
     
  11. brownale99

    brownale99 TDPRI Member

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    Cheers Rex, I can't tell a lie I bought the inlays ready cut on CNC from ebay. I did try on a scrap piece of mop but it was just too fiddly.
    I marked off the fret slots and and centre line and drew around the inlays. I used a sharp scribe to go over the pencil marks then used a dremel with a router base (335 I think the model is) and a medium and fine bit to make the routes. First lesson learned the hard way (as usual) light hands and small passes, the bits are very thin and easily broken. I ordered the bits from Small Wonder Music, 1.6mm to hog out and the 1mm to go to the edges.

    IMG_3462.JPG

    Scrape off the dust made from the routes and save in a bag. Once the route is finished superglue the inlays in then use the dust to fill the gaps around the inlay and apply superglue around the outline of the bird. Once the the mixture of the superglue and dust is sanded it's pretty hard to see any gaps.

    IMG_3463.JPG

    There's some really good clips on youtube, I think the one's I followed most were from Crimson Guitars, Ben Crowe.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
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  12. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Thanks. I picked up one of those router bases at a luthier's estate sale (stewmac model). Still haven't used it but you have inspired me to try.
     
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  13. s_tones

    s_tones Tele-Holic

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    I bought a machined aluminum bar long time ago and never looked back. It's worth it. I use the back of it constantly as well to flatsand guitar bodies and stuff.
    To radius, I invert it in the vise and slide the fretboard (glued to the neck already) along it. Even at that you have to be very careful. Full strokes. even pressure. It is easy to preferentially sand one side or the other no matter what you do. I keep a constant eye on the 2 ends of the fretboard to make sure they are even side to side.

    Steve
     
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  14. Mojotron

    Mojotron Poster Extraordinaire

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    I generally will route the fretboard radius and then sand the machine marks out... But I have also sanded the whole fretboard down. Either way, I've used a jig like this:

    [​IMG]

    And it keeps the whole fretboard level and even so that all sides of the fretboard are exactly even. I use the exact same process for fretleveling as well.
     
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