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Frets for your violin!
A jig building and fret installing project to follow
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (8 votes) 
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damfino
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September 9, 2015 - 3:10 pm
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Very cool project ūüôā¬†

‚ėÜ‚ÄĘ*¬®*‚Äʬł¬ł¬ł.‚ÄĘ*¬®*‚ÄĘ‚ėÜ‚ÄĘ*¬®*‚Äʬł¬ł¬ł.‚ÄĘ*¬®*‚ÄĘ‚ėÜ‚ÄĘ*¬®*‚ÄĘ.¬ł¬ł¬ł.‚ÄĘ*¬®*‚ÄĘ‚ėÜ
World's Okayest Fiddler
‚ėÜ‚ÄĘ*¬®*‚ÄĘ.¬ł¬ł¬ł.‚ÄĘ*¬®* ‚ÄĘ‚ėÜ‚ÄĘ*¬®*¬®*‚Äʬł¬ł¬ł.‚ÄĘ*¬®*‚ÄĘ‚ėÜ

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 9, 2015 - 5:18 pm
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Great job Dennis. ūüôā

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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coolpinkone
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September 10, 2015 - 12:15 pm
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@cdennyb

I can not wait to see it installed on your violins. 

Question.. will you only install one on the five string electric?  

Will you be tempted to convert any of your other violins to fretted?

Now that you have the process almost refined, How long does it take from start to finish.

I have more questions... as I always do.  Can't wait to see it on the violin.... 

Good job.  Your project is amazing.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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cdennyb
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September 10, 2015 - 2:21 pm
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Oh you suggest some very tempting options!

I think for now I'll be content to just work on my 5 string... the template I had was for a 5 string fingerboard but I have 4 boards coming, 2 for the 5 string and 2 for the 4 string so... I might do one for my cheapo chinese violin 4/4 in the 4 string variety just for fun...

So far, it takes:

...about 60 min to cut the slots and drill the tiny holes for the dots.

...about 15 min to install the dots

...about 30 min to radius bend the required qty of fret material

...about 40 min to install the 24 frets

...about 10 min to rough trim them and sand the edges flush

...about 20 min to 'roll and polish' the fret ends

...about 30 min to re-crown the frets that were flattened in the leveling process

...about 20 min (estimated) to glue and finish match the outer profile to the violin neck.

then restring and tune and there you have it... 3.75 hrs.

and that assumes the fingerboard is already shaped and ready to fit to the violin neck.

Also... I might need to do a little bridge work and nut work as well because currently those items are set up for a specific string height above a non-fretted board...so the strings might be too close to the frets now, whereas they were fine with only a bare board.

 

I'm thinking of doing the board swap real soon. facepalm

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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cdennyb
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September 11, 2015 - 10:11 pm
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Well, I worked on the frets today, finished shaping them in a process called "re-crowning". Here's a microscope photo of what a fret looks like after being leveled... it's flat on top.

IMG_20150911_163050_3_.jpgImage Enlarger

And, here's what it looks like after being filed to the proper shape.

IMG_20150911_163045_2_.jpgImage Enlarger

The fret is filed on with a specially modified 3 corner file. What's special is the corner edge. It's taken to a belt sander and all the 'bite' is removed so it won't damage the tape or the wood as it's used to file the sharp edge of the fret into a more uniform round edge.

20150911_145305.jpgImage Enlarger

The frets are not finished yet, they still need to be polished and the final smoothing done. This takes an "eraser" that's special for the job, it's a 1000 grit sanding block, so it really puts a smooth finish on them. In the light reflection you can see every little scratch and touch it up easily. It takes about 5-10 minutes to polish 1 fret out.

P9110194.JPGImage Enlarger

After the polishing is done, a last minute look under the scope is in order and any left over missed areas are re-taped and polished some more.

In the end, the frets measured between .88mm and 1.03mm in height. The difference in those two dimensions sounds like a lot but it's only +/- .003" tolerance.

Plenty precise for me. We shall see how they feel and sound under a string shortly... almost time to glue it to my 5 string electric.

P9110197.JPGImage Enlarger

Here's the final inspected finished product...ready to install.

Officially No.#1 of the Maple 5 String fret board run... LoL

 

P9110196.JPGImage Enlarger

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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cdennyb
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September 12, 2015 - 10:37 pm
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It's ok, don't panic people...

just the next step in the process of swapping fingerboards! LoL

I was removing the old board gently, because I wanted to fret it after I removed...well...the last couple of inches were the worst...maybe the glue was the best down there who knows...anyway. the board was moving ever so slightly and I had spent maybe 20 min in detaching it and the damn thing exploded! It broke the board and it flew across the room... then I had to scrape and wedge the remaining piece(s) of fingerboard ebony off the neck. What a job...

Anyway... now to do some clean up and measuring and fitting and then comes the glue part. There's a couple of blems on the finish from the mfg, so I'll sand those and repair the finish to perfection. Might be another week before I'm playing it again.

 

P9120220.JPGImage EnlargerP9120216.JPGImage EnlargerP9120217.JPGImage EnlargerP9120206.JPGImage Enlarger

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"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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BillyG
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September 13, 2015 - 2:01 am
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Oh man !   Minor setback !   Don't worry ( or better said - don't fret ) - you'll get it sorted !   Bit of a PITA though....

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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September 13, 2015 - 2:39 am
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Really nice, nice work Dennis. I can't wait to hear you play it.

violin-1267

 

Ken.

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Tyberius
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September 13, 2015 - 6:28 pm
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I was looking at all your work. Quite impressive. I am really interested and wondering how double stops, slides/glissandos, tremolo and spiccato will perform. I imagine like anything else. Once you get used to the new design, it may just be a simple transition.

very nice work.

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 13, 2015 - 10:46 pm
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Sorry the hear that. At least you know how to take care of it. Chances are there was a problem with it from the beginning. Seems like they didn't use the right glue in any case.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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cdennyb
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September 14, 2015 - 12:11 am
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It's no big deal really, I'm just disappointed because I wanted to fret that ebony board, as it was already the proper size and shape for a 5 string EV.

Now I have to wait for the new ones to arrive.

I might really like the ebony board with white pearl dots and frets so I might change it again! Ha.

I will be using hide glue so I can remove it a lot easier.

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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cdennyb
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September 14, 2015 - 12:14 am
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Tyberius said
I was looking at all your work. Quite impressive. I am really interested and wondering how double stops, slides/glissandos, tremolo and spiccato will perform. I imagine like anything else. Once you get used to the new design, it may just be a simple transition.

very nice work.

If you go back to the beginning of this thread and watch the Mark Woods video I linked there, you can see there is virtually no difference playing a fretted vs non-fretted violin. everything is the same, slides, vibrato, etc.

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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pky
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September 14, 2015 - 12:24 am
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That is very impressive work!

 

Tyberius said
I was looking at all your work. Quite impressive. I am really interested and wondering how double stops, slides/glissandos, tremolo and spiccato will perform. I imagine like anything else. Once you get used to the new design, it may just be a simple transition.
 
 I think those techniques could be done like guitarists with their guitars. I just have a question and would like to find out the answer from you when you are done with your project. I was told that when one put a tape on the neck for finger placements, the tape should not go straight across the fingerboard, it should be slanted because the thickness of strings determined finger placements. So, I wondered if that is true and your fingerboard is fretted straight across, when you play, would you to play out of tune?

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cdennyb
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September 14, 2015 - 2:26 pm
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Actually the frets are absolutely perfectly perpendicular to the centerline of the fretboard. This means each string has the exact same string length to achieve a note, and the tension of the string determines the pitch of those notes available.

Guitar, or banjo, or mandos are all fretted exactly the same way, frets straight across.

I don't know who told you the tapes should be angled but perhaps they were tuning in a different way and couldn't achieve correct intonation without doing that. Weird.

A bridge on a guitar is angled slightly but the frets are all square with the world so to speak.

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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cdennyb
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September 17, 2015 - 8:15 pm
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Well, the other nite I was involved in quite a conversation with Ol Ogre and he asked if I was going to put a binding on the fretboard... Hell no... the thing is already finished, frets are polished and rolled at the ends, etc....

Then afterwards, I got to thinking, the peg end is looking like a nice Fender guitar with those chrome tuning geared pegs and why the hell not put a binding around the edge of the fingerboard.so...

Here we go... sand the sides equally to reduce the overall width of the fingerboard the total of .160" (2 sides @.080" thick for the binding strip) or less and then add small dots to the sides like a guitar fretboard has... and of course give it a "Fender-style fretboard Cut" between the frets and finish it off to conform to the neck of the violin. So I ordered some binding that was pretty nice from Stew-Mac, got it today and couldn't leave it alone... Here's some pics of the process. First, match a pair so we can drill.

P9170023.JPGImage Enlarger

Matching the two seperate strips side by side like this allows me to flip it around and keep the same distance from the edge on all the holes for the tiny 1.5mm dia pearl dots.

P9170026.JPGImage Enlarger

Once the dots are installed, and THEY ARE TINY! , Then we can un-tape them and glue both to the fingerboard.

P9170029.JPGImage Enlarger

P9170034.JPGImage Enlarger

P9170040.JPGImage Enlarger

While the fretboard glue dries and cures, I can work a little on the nut. The height will be adjusted accordingly and the grooves added depending on the dia of string in each position to maintain the 1mm clearance. The dark wood will be sanded down to match the fingerboard surface and won't stick up.

P9170042.JPGImage Enlarger

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"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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OldOgre
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September 17, 2015 - 10:28 pm
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I just knew you coiulldnt resist..... lol

dont forget to bind the end too

Happy fiddling.....

With violins there is no fretting over the music.

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Fiddlerman
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September 20, 2015 - 7:23 am
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Impressive work as always. I love that you include the penny for our understanding of the ratio. Many people don't think to do that. ūüôā

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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coolpinkone
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September 20, 2015 - 12:49 pm
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What a beautiful Job Denny.

I was undecided with the binding when you began, but now it really looks so finished and professional and makes those frets pop.

Now ... to hear it..... sooon I hope.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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cdennyb
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September 29, 2015 - 11:49 pm
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UPDATE: Sept 29, 2015

     I've been dealing with a logo issue...and every time it ends up screwed up I have to sand off the clear I just put on and start all over again... what a job!

Anyway... I have designed a logo (per the suggestion of my 'marketing/advertising/copyright Manager'... Toni (CPO)) and decided on a limited edition run of 10 of these fingerboards. So this is the first one, the prototype and testing item to see how this all plays out. So far so good.

Here's a few pics of the finishing process and the logo fiasco which resulted in a decent "old time look" to it on the violin.

First pic is of the logo just installed... still wet.

P9290109.JPGImage Enlarger

The second shows the closeup of the logo.

P9290114.JPGImage Enlarger

And here's an overall shot which doesn't look too bad.

P9290115.JPGImage Enlarger

I will work on a new nut tomorrow and try to start the final coat of clear and then the following day, assembly starts! Whoo Hoo...

 

Old Ogre suggested I add the binding to it and I chose the Cocobolo dark wood (very hard) laminated with maple to give it a final finished look. I tried to bend a piece to cap the end of the fingerboard but no matter what I did, hot water, steam, soaking over night, nothing would soften it enough to bend that 42mm radius, but I do have some very pretty stained glasses now from the wood. LoL

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"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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coolpinkone
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September 30, 2015 - 12:05 pm
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Outstanding job Dennis.

I really love your logo and all the work on the project.

You sure out did yourself. Bravo!!!  You have earned your DIY BADGE like five times over.

ūüôā

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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