Month: July 2014
More than once I had found myself perplexed by a fret that would not gracefully seat itself completely in a fret slot.
More often than not the problem was the slot being too shallow for the tang on the fretwire. I saw the slots to an appropriate depth when making a dulcimer fingerboard but by the time the fingerboard is trued and leveled the slots sometimes become too shallow.
After having this happen a few times I came up with a very simple tool to solve the problem.
I took a piece of fretwire and filed the barbs off the tang so it will easily fit into a fret slot. if the slot is deep enough the crown of the fret will seat well on the fingerboard. If not then I need to deepen the slots.
The tape on the end of the fretwire it to remind me that this is a tool and not a stray fret that escaped the blow of a hammer.
It is easy to romanticize about the beauty and functionality of vintage hand tools, but on a day-to-day basis there are some unsung heroes put to work on my bench that deserve mention.
Today’s episode; The Plexiglass Rectangle
In this photograph two plexiglass rectangles protect a dulcimer soundboard during fretting. Years ago I used cardboard for this job. Then one fine day an errant piece of grit found its way under the cardboard and scratched the top of a dulcimer. Next time I used a piece of plexiglass to protect the top so I could see what was going on underneath. Another problem solved by modern science!
One of the plexiglass rectangles has a line scribed across the center of the width. I use this to layout braces on the back of a dulcimer. The scribed line goes over the center line on a dulcimer back and makes a simple task of placing braces square to the line if so desired.
I also use these rectangular marvels as see-through and somewhat flexible clamping cauls.