The clamping blocks

To hold the fingerboard in position with the help of C-clamps, you need three clamping blocks. You can see the the cross-section of such a block in Fig. 2. The size is 40 x 30 x 25 mm. They are made of hard wood, their bottoms padded with something soft, ie. cork or rubber. They go between the C-clamp and the board, see neck C in Fig. 1 for their position.

Adding fingerboard fixing blocks

The fixing blocks help hold the fingerboard in the correct position during gluing. Consult Fig. 1 as to the fingerboard, fixing blocks and clamps placement.
  1. Create 8 blocks of maple, 10 x 5 x 5 mm in size.
  2. Fix the neck in the vice and clamp down the fingerboard using three C-clamps and the clamping blocks, in the correct position. See "A" in Fig. 1.
  3. Adjust the blocks so they fit perfectly at the same time not conflicting with the projected position of the three clamps.
  4. Glue the fixing blocks onto the maple neck, holding each one for about 30 seconds. Again see "A" in Fig. 1. for their approximate positions.
  5. Let dry for a few minutes and then carefully slide out the fingerboard to prevent it getting glued to the blocks.
  6. Let dry thoroughly.

Gluing the fingerboard
  1. Reinsert the fingerboard between the fixing blocks and make sure it slides right up the marked red line, 6 mm before the sloping pegbox wall. See "B" in Fig. 1.
  2. Prepare thin hide glue, quickly apply to the underside of the fingerboard and slide in position. The move must be a precise one as there is usually little time for correction before the glue "bites". It is handy to have a small hammer at hand so that if the fingerboard "bites" short of the marked line, you can tap it home lightly at the end.
  3. Apply three clamps with padded clamping blocks, see "C" in Fig. 1 for their positions. Use moderate force to tighten them. Make sure the fingerboard remains in the correct position.
  4. The 8 maple fixing blocks can be removed either after 10-20 minutes, provided you don't remove the clamps, or when completely dry, at which time you must be careful not to chip away the ebony fingerboard, removing the blocks in layers, gradually with a chisel.
  5. Let dry overnight.

Finishing the fingerboard

To check the fingerboard radius, you need to make the radius template as in Fig. 3.
  1. On both sides, use your block plane to reduce the height "h", Fig. 4, of the fingerboard to the marked line of 4.5 mm.
  2. Continue removing wood from the top as well, occasionally checking the arching with the radius template.
  3. When you are getting closer to the final heights, try to create a slightly concave surface, with 1 mm at the G side and 0.75 mm at the E side at the center of the fingerboard.
  4. Finish with your scraper.

Hollowing out the bottom side
  1. Insert your neck fingerboard-down into the fingerboard holder and clamp the holder in the vice.
  2. Using a suitable gouge, start working across the grain, within the limits of the marked out area.

The final thickness "t1" starting at about 30 mm down from the neck root up to the end of the fingerboard should be 4 mm. The width of the edge "t2" is 3 mm.
  1. Finish with your scraper.

Category: Neck and scroll