Katana - the under string fret leveling tool

For those interested in fretwork, I’m happy to announce that I am the newest endorsee of the Katana by Rectify Master. The Katana is an understring fret leveling tool created and patented by Davide Bissoli that will allow you to level your frets easily and under string tension. He also makes other tools like the LittleBone fret crowning tool which is a really easy way to get a nice crown on the fret. I did a brief video with the Katana which you can see below. Check out the Rectify Master site and tell ‘em Sully sent ya!

 

Building a neck/reclaiming a fretboard and truss rod

While waiting for parts to arrive in order to complete some guitars, I decided to remove an ebony fretboard and truss rod from a neck that I built (but will not use) and use them to complete a neck blank. Recycling is good! The neck blank was ready for headstock binding as well, so I decided to get out the ol' clothing iron and have a old time fretboard removal/headstock binding party. Here's how it went:

 Set the iron on its highest setting and start at the end of the fretboard. I used a t-shirt rag between the iron and the fretboard. If you're going to do this, leave the frets in; it'll help transfer the heat from the iron and get the glue softened up. This task isn't particularly difficult, but it does take time to heat the glue up enough so that you can separate the fretboard from the neck. 

While the iron does its job, I got to work on binding the headstock. I'd add a strip, then go back to the iron and work on the fretboard removal, and then repeat.

Just about done!

Now the fretboard is off; next step is getting the truss rod out (pretty simple, it mostly just lifts out).

 

I clamped the fretboard to a flat surface to keep it nice and flat and prevent any curling that may occur, and you can see how the neck should look when complete. 

The next evening, I scraped the binding flush with the ebony and pulled the frets. The fretboard will need to be trimmed so that it can be bound, and you definitely don't want to rout a fretboard with stainless steel frets in it; be nice to your router bits!

 

Starting to look more like a neck!

 

Black dye on Angel Step Maple

 This Catfish has a highly figured maple top in a pattern known as Angel Step, or Angel Stair. The final color will be trans purple, but in order to really accentuate the figuring, I'll dye it black first, then sand most of the black away before adding the purple final color.

 

Here are some shots when it's wet:

Dry and in sunlight. Pretty dramatic figure, for sure!