I decided that the inlaid fretboard would be too busy aesthetically on this mango timber, and have opted instead for a straight plain-jane variety, with simple fret-marker inlays of mother of pearl (MOP)
Marking out the fretboard is very easy once the length of scale is known.
This wonderful online calculator is invaluable:
I mark mine with a scribing knife before cutting them with a narrow-kerf tenon saw.
While the piece of African blackwood is still square, I mark the positions for the MOP markers - frets 3, 5, 7, 10 and 12 in this case.
These are glued in place and left to dry before cutting the tapers on the fretboard sides to match the existing neck.
Fret-wire is simply hammered into position in the grooves cut by the tenon saw, and snipped to size with a pair of side-cutters.
This little wooden mallet works very well.
A square file is used to trim the overhanging fret-wire from the edges.
When flush, the top edges are filed at 45 degrees to create a chamfer on the corners of the frets themselves.
I find it easiest to do this on a sanding mat that holds the fretboard in place while I file.
There isn't a lot of room for big fingers, so any assistance is welcome.
Once this is complete, I will seat all of the fret-wires with a straight board and an iron hammer to ensure that they are all straight and parallel to each other.
Here is a trial fit with the bone nut in place to see how well everything is coming together. I don't glue the bone nut in at this stage, as it may need adjusting in height after the bridge is added - to obtain the correct playing action for the strings.
I have selected a piece of Indian rosewood for the headstock, and this has been glued over the laminated head to add a little beauty - and to hide the strip laminations.
I add tape alongside the end of the fretboard to cover the body from excess glue squeeze-out. It is also a handy fitting guide when the fretboard is glued in place.
Here we are with the glued fret-board held in place by spring-clamps. Notice that the bone nut is here to establish the fretboard position - it is removed once the clamps are all secure, as I don't want stray glue fixing it in position just yet.
Here we are then - all but finished.
I will next mark out and drill the holes for the headstock tuners.
Only the bridge to add, then follow that with final sanding and finishing.
Nearly there ................