#1 resource for Cigar Box Guitars, Free Plans, How-To, Parts & More!
Cigar Box Nation is sponsored by C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply, your one-stop-shop for Cigar Box Guitar parts and accessories!
Here's my first CB building blog. It's just a short one to get the hang of it. It's about making an accurate fret scale template for about 3$US as opposed to buying one for 40+$US. It has sub-millimeter accuracy with just a little care taken in its making. First, you need a 3$ 'Swanson' yardstick from Lowes i.e. (http://ity.im/07nkn). Of course it can be another quality brand from somewhere else as long as it has mm marked its full length. After completion of the template, it can be cut back to wahtever length you really want, the one in this blog and these pix is for a 30" Bass Scale. I like the 'Swanson' brand, I've bought 6 of them so far and have found Zero visual difference between any of them. Accurate enough I think. My frets and intonation come out near perfect so far after 23 builds.
On to the actual 'making':
I am using an Xacto saw blade.
The 'stick is aluminum and does not hurt the blade much.
I've used this blade for 20 years or more for wood, aluminum and brass.
After cutting the notches to about 1/8" or so (doesn't matter as long as you can see them) I highlight the marks in red Sharpie. I check and double check against my fret table (I use mm for frets) before each cut. I try to get as close to .5mm or .3mm or .7mm as possible when cutting between the full mm marks. I have created a plastic 'slide-guide' that is cut out the thickness of the 'stick on one side to help with parallax error since the 'stick is pretty thick.
I find my next slot with the Xacto #11 knife,
After all the frets are marked, I put the Xacto blade in the knife mark and slide a small 4" square up to the blade and mark a line all the way across the fret board for the fretsaw to follow. The saw follows the knife blade mark very well.
Best of all, since they are only 3$, you can make a different one for every scale, 25 inch for guitar, 13-15-17-20 inch for ukes and 30-34 inch for bass and still have less than 25$US all told! Way less than one scale template from a luthier supply store and way better than a printed paper template. I can mark a 20 fret 30 inch bass neck in about 30 seconds now with real good accuracy and total repeatability. And since there is a spare edge the 'stick could be used for a second scale but I like a separate 'stick for each scale to keep from confusing myself (pretty easy) and since they're only 3$US how can you go wrong!
Hope this can help some of you builders out there, especially the newer ones who haven't figured out all these handy tools and jigs that help us build better!
All comments welcome and anyone with a suggestion to improve this type template or this blog, please jump right in and share with us all.
Thanks for looking my blog over.