A New Tool

When I build a new guitar, I need to shape the fretboard after it is glued onto the neck. The fretboard needs to be a flat taper, it gradually becomes thinner on the bass side then the treble side at the twelfth fret and this taper continues to the end of the board. This taper givea the bass strings extra room to vibrate, less chance of an open or fretted string hitting a fret. To achieve this I usually start with my Lie-Nielsen No.62 low angle jack plane and finish the job with long sanding blocks. The Lie-Nielsen is a wonderfully versatile plane, but it is a tad long for leveling the fretboard after it is glue to the guitar neck and the Lie-Nielsen low angle block plane is a little too short for the task. I decided to look at the low angle bevel up planes offered by Lee Valley.

I bought a Veritas Small Bevel Up Smooth plane this early this month and I am very glad that I did. With just a little honing of the blade, it stepped up and did the tasks I asked of it, such as smoothing a piece of cherry and the end grain on a chunk of Engelmann spruce. The only thing I don’t like about the plane is its tote. The tote is a little short in height, I have very normal size hands and the height is uncomfortable, and there is a spot on the back side of the tote that starts to hurt the palm of my hand after about five minutes of use. I contacted Bill Rittner at Hardware City Tools about making a new knob and tote for the plane.

Other than that, I have no problems with this plane. I have not yet used the plane on an ebony fretboard, I suspect it will perform wonderfully.


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