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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:41 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:46 pm
Posts: 60
My first build is a tenor ukulele. Working on a maple fretboard with narrow frets. Are there pros and cons to installing frets with the fretboard glued onto the neck or separate? I really have no intentions of appearing as an example of what not to do in this case.

Very gratefully,

Chuck Barnett


Last edited by ChuckBarnett on Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:43 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2016 11:58 pm
Posts: 13
FWIW, I just finished installing frets on a guitar I'm building after a year of non-building. So I forgot whether I should install the frets before or after attaching the soundboard to the neck -- and, unlike you, I didn't have the patience/foresight to ask.

I attached the soundboard to the neck before installing frets. I'm sorry that I did. The frets over the "straight" portion of the neck installed easily with a press and cauls. The frets under the soundboard extension (clear of the truss rod) pressed in easily as well. The frets in the region of the neck heel were far less easy.

Next time I'll install the frets before gluing the fretboard to the neck.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:14 pm
Posts: 1080
I install the frets after gluing the fingerboard to the neck and before shaping the back of the neck, i.e. while the neck is still rectangular in cross-section. I press in the frets, and having the neck rectangular gives good support while pressing -- or while hammering, for that matter.

Installing the frets after gluing the fingerboard to the neck also helps keep the fingerboard flat. If the frets are tight, the fingrboard can curve dramatically from the wedging action of the fret tangs.

But I think the main thing is to find out which way you feel most comfortable doing it, and get good at doing it that way.

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Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:49 pm
Posts: 165
I've done one each, fretting off the neck and fretting after installing the fingerboard and shaping the neck but before finishing the neck. I found cleaning all the finish that made its way past the masking tape on top of the fingerboard to be a good way to burn an evening. Next up will be fretting after the neck is finished. Somewhere I'll find the most comfortable workflow for myself.

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peter havriluk


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