The Great Casino Fretjob Caper

Fuelish

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Brian - Excellent write-up, excellent pics, dunno how I missed this thread 'til today!!!! LOL....a job well done, sir :cool:
 

Brians Evil Twin

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I have this in for a setup and thought I'd share some pics. It's Chinese and roughly the same build quality as a standard Epiphone LP.

Seems to have the same pickups, hardware, wiring, pots, caps, tuners, even knobs. A bone nut has been installed but otherwise it's stock.

It has a very nice rosewood board but needs a fret level which I'm doing right now (blue marks are high).

I can think of a dozen other upgrades but it's up to the owner how much he wants to put into it.

























 

Brians Evil Twin

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Got the frets leveled, re-crowned & polished and scraped & treated the board.





There was a lot of buffing compound on the board, and when I got that off and started working the oil in, a lot of dye came off on the towel. But the board looks a whole lot better scraped and treated.



You can really see the difference between before scraping and after here:





All cleaned up, waiting for oil:



Board dye coming up:



Now it looks right:







Gluing the nut down, was just held on by the strings before. :rolleyes:



Back together waiting for the new wiring to come in. Set the relief to 7 thousandths, not a buzz anywhere now.

 

EsPEEEE

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Brian - for fret leveling do you have much experience between using the radius blocks vs. a honed/ground beam? Could you still use the beam and maintain the fretboard radius if just using the weight of the beam and working from side to side?

Just bought the 16" steel sanding beam from stewmac to try a light fret leveling/crown/polish on a new Epi and wondering if I should return it for their radius block.

I've seen folks use both successfully. The radius block makes more sense in theory, but I didn't know if there was a downside since I've seen more people just using the leveling beams.
 

Brians Evil Twin

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EsPEEEE, I have both and have used both in different situations.

The pros of radius blocks are that they maintain a constant radius. The cons are that they remove more of the metal where the fret's aren't high, especially at the fret ends, which a) creates more re-crowning time/effort, and b) may flatten your fret ends to where strings roll off. When I use radius blocks, I go one size up from the actual board radius so as not to inadvertently "over radius" and give more control on the sides. So if it's a 14 radius, I'd use 16. You'll need the Stewmac radius gauges to verify what you're actually working with, I wouldn't trust the printed specs.

Also, if you have a compound radius board you have to watch what blocks you're using so as not to over radius the frets near the body. Those short radius blocks are good for that and also for spot leveling, which is more common than full length leveling so might be a better first purchase.

Flat beams give you more control over where you're leveling, and you can use them on compound radius boards, but they have the drawback of creating flat spots if you stay in one area too long. And they too may take off metal that didn't really need to come off because of their length.

So that leaves the third approach which is to use the crowning files to remove only high areas. That's what I try to do first, because it saves time with recrowning and leaves more fret meat for future levels. That's what I did with the Tokai GT above, and it works quite well as long as the frets aren't heavily worn or divoted. I'd also likely start with a radius or flat beam on a full or partial refret to bring everything into range.

BTW, the beam serves great triple duty as a nut bottom sanding surface, and to calibrate your neck relief gauge.

Cheers, Brian
 

Louie

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Interesting to see that the Chinese Tokai is practically an Epiphone with a different headstock shape.

Thanks for all the info you're disclosing in this thread, BET :thumb:
 




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