Fretboard shaping jig

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Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Martin Taylor » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:57 am

I thought I'd post up some pictures of my Fretboard shaping jig. I generally use Mulga or Gidgee for my fretboards. Both are very hard, fine grained timbers that finish beautifully but if you have ever had to use a sanding beam to get the shape you know how time consuming that is!

I didn't invent this concept but I love it so much I had to share it.

The jig was made mainly with scrap from around the workshop with a couple of pieces of PVC pipe and the Aluminium side supports costing about $10 from the hardware.

Image

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This is the set up for the 12 inch radius

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And if I want to do a 10" radius I just have to make a new box with the 10" radius on the bottom and raise one of the risers.

Image
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Greg Robinson » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:41 am

Nice jig Martin.
Just by the way, in your diagrams, the router bit protrudes below the radius guide, so you will get a radius tighter by however far it protrudes: e.g. if it protrudes 1/4" below, and you use a 10" guides, you will get a 9-3/4" radius on the board. You probably realise this, but I thought it worth mentioning.
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Martin Taylor » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:56 am

Well spotted Greg. The drawing isn't that accurate and my router bit is closer to the curve. If I make any more boxes, I'll certainly allow for the router bit depth. Thanks
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Greg Steil » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:59 pm

This is so cool! AND one of the best parts about this page. The sharing of neat ideas. I only build flat fingerboards, but I want to build one of these.
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:38 pm

Hi Martin,
I love the simplicity of the design. And I think I have enough "scroungings" to put one together for free. Thanks for showing this.
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Mark Swanson » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:38 pm

I have been doing my fingerboards that way for quite some time now. I saw the design a long time ago when someone posted it here, I'm surprised you didn't see it then Clay! You've been around here for years too!
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby John Sonksen » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:59 pm

so are the pvc pipes attached or just loose between the angle aluminum and the wood strip so they roll as you move the jig?
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Martin Taylor » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:16 pm

John Sonksen wrote:so are the pvc pipes attached or just loose between the angle aluminum and the wood strip so they roll as you move the jig?


Hi John,

The PVC pipes are screwed in place into the timber base and also bolted to the aluminium strips. The wood strips help hold the pvc too. I found that the pvc needs to be as stable as possible. The radiused box slides on the PVC really well.
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby John Sonksen » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:37 pm

Martin Taylor wrote:
John Sonksen wrote:so are the pvc pipes attached or just loose between the angle aluminum and the wood strip so they roll as you move the jig?


Hi John,

The PVC pipes are screwed in place into the timber base and also bolted to the aluminium strips. The wood strips help hold the pvc too. I found that the pvc needs to be as stable as possible. The radiused box slides on the PVC really well.


Okay that makes more sense. I was thinking pvc pipes wouldn't roll that well since they usually aren't very straight. Looks like a pretty simple way to make a precision rig!
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:57 pm

Yeah. I have been sanding the radius into my fretboards, and it is indeed tedious work.
I think I might be building one of these myself.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Art Davila » Sun May 05, 2013 10:28 pm

Greg Robinson wrote:Nice jig Martin.
Just by the way, in your diagrams, the router bit protrudes below the radius guide, so you will get a radius tighter by however far it protrudes: e.g. if it protrudes 1/4" below, and you use a 10" guides, you will get a 9-3/4" radius on the board. You probably realise this, but I thought it worth mentioning.


So to label the templates correctly would one always just deduct a 1/4 inch from a scribed template?
I have a lot of experience on how "not" to do things.
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Mike Trobaugh » Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:07 am

Greg Robinson wrote:Nice jig Martin.
Just by the way, in your diagrams, the router bit protrudes below the radius guide, so you will get a radius tighter by however far it protrudes: e.g. if it protrudes 1/4" below, and you use a 10" guides, you will get a 9-3/4" radius on the board. You probably realise this, but I thought it worth mentioning.

I think there is some bad math going on.
The cutting face of the bit will run parallel to the radius of the jig giving a radius equal to the jig
Nice Jig,i plan on building one as soon as ol man winter releases his grip.
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Barry Daniels » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:21 pm

I used metal electrical conduit instead of PVC which is a bit more stable and durable.
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Eric Baack » Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:56 am

Mikie wrote:
Greg Robinson wrote:Nice jig Martin.
Just by the way, in your diagrams, the router bit protrudes below the radius guide, so you will get a radius tighter by however far it protrudes: e.g. if it protrudes 1/4" below, and you use a 10" guides, you will get a 9-3/4" radius on the board. You probably realise this, but I thought it worth mentioning.

I think there is some bad math going on.
The cutting face of the bit will run parallel to the radius of the jig giving a radius equal to the jig
Nice Jig,i plan on building one as soon as ol man winter releases his grip.


Sorry, that isn't correct, it is running concentric to the jig but a bit inside of it, so if it is offset by 1/4" inside of the radius, then it is 1/4" less
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Barry Daniels » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:07 am

Mikie, we require full names here. Please let us know your full name and we can change your registration information. Thanks!
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Andy Birko » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:13 am

Speaking of math, something that I find very confusing is how a long compass and a contraption like this can yield the same results.
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Jason Rodgers » Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:55 am

Right, Andy. The long compass is just plain cool, old-school math. As a matter of fact, straight long compass rails would be just as effective on this jig, AND they could be made adjustable to quickly dial in any fretboard radius.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Mike Trobaugh » Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:31 pm

Well,here is my version of the jig
When I get the rail jig done and test drive it ill post the results
The radius on this one is 12"

Image
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Mike Trobaugh » Sun Mar 09, 2014 3:05 pm

Here are pics of the entire jig
along with a scrap sample I did to see what radius it cuts
This jig cuts the same radius that is made on the router jig
Image
Image
Image
Image
The router bit is running parallel to the router jig
The center point of the radius of the cutter is proportionally longer than the center point of the router jig making a parallel cut
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Re: Fretboard shaping jig

Postby Barry Daniels » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:19 am

How rigid are those plastic arcs?
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