The fretboard.

For a change I turn to my piece of Gaboon Ebony from Africa. I use my drum sander to sand it perfectly flat on both side to 1/4″. I then attach it to my fret scale guide and insert it in my fret sawing jig. The guide stops at a special pin for each fret to make sure of perfect spacing – this is necessary for proper intonation.

The fretboard in the fret cutting jig. The Japanese saw has a kerf width of just .024" and cuts to a depth of 1/8".

The fretboard in the fret cutting jig. The Japanese saw has a kerf width of just .024″ and cuts to a depth of 1/8″.

After the fret kerfs are cut, I layout the pattern of the fretboard and draw it on the Ebony. Dan wants a bound fretboard so I will use Ebony binding. I considered a contrasting wood for the binding but I really feel Ebony will look the best. I then use the bandsaw to cut out the outline of the fretboard.

Carefully sawing the outline of the fretboard.

Carefully sawing the outline of the fretboard.

After sawing the outline (it is so close to the lines I even surprise myself), I use a good old fashioned block plane to shave off the lines.

Using the block plane to shape the fretboard.

Using the block plane to shape the fretboard.

After the fretboard is planed to size, I glue on the fretboard binding. First I drilled 2mm holes in one of the binding sides and inlaid mother-of-pearl dots as the side position markers. Next I applied glue to both binding strips and attached it to the fretboard and clamped it in my makeshift jig.

Glueing on the fretboard side binding.

Glueing on the fretboard side binding.

The glue will dry and cure in 24 hours so I leave it clamped overnight.

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