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Author Topic: Jade Guitar Frets  (Read 1642 times)

thesingingchef

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Jade Guitar Frets
« on: April 16, 2020, 09:29:37 PM »
Hey all,

Hoping you can help me with this one. Looks like I'm in the right place though!

I want to make 24 guitar frets out of a slab of jade that I have.

Dimensions will be:

58mm long, 3mm wide, 5mm deep

Currently I only have a dremel so am looking at getting the 4" Trim Saw from Aus Sapphire.

My questions are:

What blade would be best to purchase with the saw? https://www.aussiesapphire.com.au/4-inch-mk303 0.014in or 0.02in. (Continuous Blade) I don't know much about working with jade and what thickness would be best, tending to think the thinner one to save as much of the jade as possible. Or is any one in Sydney able to slice them up for me for a fee?

I will also need to carve them into a guitar fret shape, generally a semi circle, I'm thinking of filing and sanding them down but would you suggest any other method to achieve the shape? There are concave diamond wheels but at the wrong diameter unfortunately.

Any other tips for working with jade are welcome, have found it quite hard to find any information on carving it.

Thanks in advance!

Cheers,

Matt

MakkyBrown

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Re: Jade Guitar Frets
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2020, 09:59:53 PM »
Welcome, thesingingchef.  Re the saw, I'd be tempted to join a club or get someone with a decent slab saw to slice your starting pieces to size. A decent slab saw is expensive and if your not going to do a lot of work with stone it might not be worth buying.  It is pretty fine work cutting 3x5mm strips. I'd cut slab 3mm thick, trim to 50mm long, then slice off 5mm strips. Depending on the saw it might be worth gluing a block of wood to each piece if it can fall between blade/saw table. You can get diamond wheels in a few radius' as long as you find a radius smaller it should be fine.
It might even be worth doing a few other lapidary projects before the frets. If this is a one off project I'd even be tempted to find some local to help you make them. You can get resin coated diamond sanding belts in different grits you could cut up for sanding/filing etc but I would do as much as you can on rotary wheels/laps. Best way forward might be joining a club.

CheersMB
« Last Edit: April 17, 2020, 09:08:24 AM by MakkyBrown »

colza

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Re: Jade Guitar Frets
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2020, 06:52:19 AM »
Hi & welcome to the forum thesingingchef.


I'd take the easy way out & pay someone skilled to do the job. This will undoubtedly save much frustration & some waste of your jade.


Cheers,
colza :)
I dig it.

thesingingchef

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Re: Jade Guitar Frets
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2020, 09:21:58 AM »
Thanks for the replies!

Yes it would be a once off, but I'm also interested in doing some carving after this project so might be worth joining a club for sure (once we're allowed out  :'( )

If anyone is interested in helping me create the above, more than happy to pay for it. I'm Sydney based.

The piece I bought is already sliced up in a 13cm x 8cm slice, about 9mm deep, so that's why I was thinking Trim Saw might be enough.

Also curious about the internal fractures, there are some large ones on the end of the slice that I was planning on going around, but there are what look like small fractures running through the jade, would this cause issues when carving down to a very small piece? Or should it be strong enough to not crack apart?

Cheers,

Matt

MakkyBrown

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Re: Jade Guitar Frets
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2020, 02:01:16 PM »
Hi Matt,If you could make some guides on the trim saw so you can cut straight it could work.
Working with jade the person that comes to mind is mickB, I think that is his forum name. He has a heap of experience carving jade and would produce very high quality workmanship.
Mick hasn't posted a lot in awhile, but worth sending a message to.

http://aussielapidaryforum.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1561
CheersMB


steveo

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Re: Jade Guitar Frets
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2020, 08:00:32 AM »
 mickB is really great and his wife is also very good if I remember him showing some of hers. I have a couple guitar frets made of Agate, I'll try to get a picture. Made by Bob and Nancy Hicks, Tulsa Rock and Mineral Society.
Steve

harryopal

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Re: Jade Guitar Frets
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2020, 12:56:44 PM »
If you do get a saw, simply having one will draw you more into working with different kind of stones and lapidary generally. For many of us it becomes a lifelong interest as you are opening the door to a never ending process of learning. A commonality of interest also usually provides introduction into a friendly and welcoming community. If you find a local lapidary group, most have field trips (once we break free of the Corona grip) and these will take you to places which you might never otherwise discover. Many such trips are associated with creeks and rivers so just the outing alone can be pleasant. If you have children a great way to start an interest and strengthen family ties.


At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious make sure you are using water to keep down dust. Dust from most rocks or stones is potentially hazardous.


Patience is a virtue which I confess to having not a lot of myself. As you begin to saw the temptation is to add a bit more pressure to quicken the process. It will mostly just dull the blade. Keep it steady and gentle against the blade sliding it gradually forward rather than pushing.


An ambitious first project. I am sure many of us will be interested in how it goes. Please keep us posted.
harryopal

thesingingchef

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Re: Jade Guitar Frets
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2020, 01:22:16 PM »
Thanks for all of the really helpful suggestions and feedback.

Would love to see those Agate frets Steveo! I've been trying to find instances of frets being made from hardstone as opposed to either gut or SS, or the standard frets.

I'll send MickB a message, sounds like a great resource for this.

Ambitious project all around, first time building a guitar completely from scratch as well so lots to do :o

Love getting outdoors too, so those trips sound great.


mick B

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Re: Jade Guitar Frets
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2020, 08:10:18 AM »
Matt, sounds like a great project. True jade, nephrite or jadeite can be one of the most difficult gems to work on. Stay away from the fractures in the rough parts as there is a chance that some could split in the process. It's a great idea to use a guide when you start cutting the rough to keep them all even in size.The MK blade from Aussie Sapphire is a very good all round blade but there is a blade called a Smart Cut from Ukam in the US that is better on jade. It's not as good all round but stands alone on jade.All jade has a direction that the grain runs or forms, try to cut the length in the same direction, as it will be much stronger.
Shaping and sanding can be done on either diamond or silicon carbide. A diamond expanding drum belt around 200 grit to start or a silicon carbide wheel or belt around the same grit, shape on the belt or wheel- carbide. I then switch to hand sanding with carbide sticks to shape and smooth go to 600 grit.
Next go to 1200 diamond to smooth out, check for scratches as they will show when finished. I would finish these on 1200 wet & dry paper by hand, start wet then go dry. This will give you a satin finish that will look very good, hides imperfections. I go to 100 K diamond and also linde A powder but that's for comp carvings.Join a club and learn the basics of cutting and polishing, make a basic cab then move to a free form cab, you need to learn to walk before you can run and jade is considered as one of the most challenging gems to finish.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2020, 08:28:45 AM by mick B »

steveo

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Re: Jade Guitar Frets
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2020, 10:54:55 AM »
Just added picture to gallery.
Steve

harryopal

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Re: Jade Guitar Frets
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2020, 03:07:34 PM »
Bob and Nancy. Nice job but that's a guitar pick. A fret on most guitars are usually brass and runs across the neck of the guitar to mark the spaces of the notes as you go down the neck.
harryopal

Rusted

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Re: Jade Guitar Frets
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2020, 05:45:30 PM »
Whoa hang on, I haven't got a musical bone in my body but as far as I know that's a pick or plectrum.
Frets are the bar shaped things on the neck of the guitar.
I think.

harryopal

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Re: Jade Guitar Frets
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2020, 06:11:13 PM »
Not sure what happened with my earlier post where I remarked to Steveo that it was a nice job but that is a pick. As subsequently posted by Rusted the frets are the cross bars on the guitar neck marking the changed of notes as you play down the neck.
harryopal

steveo

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Re: Jade Guitar Frets
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2020, 09:45:51 AM »
Thanks harryopal MY bad.
Steve

thesingingchef

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Re: Jade Guitar Frets
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2021, 11:36:04 AM »
Matt, sounds like a great project. True jade, nephrite or jadeite can be one of the most difficult gems to work on. Stay away from the fractures in the rough parts as there is a chance that some could split in the process. It's a great idea to use a guide when you start cutting the rough to keep them all even in size.The MK blade from Aussie Sapphire is a very good all round blade but there is a blade called a Smart Cut from Ukam in the US that is better on jade. It's not as good all round but stands alone on jade.All jade has a direction that the grain runs or forms, try to cut the length in the same direction, as it will be much stronger.
Shaping and sanding can be done on either diamond or silicon carbide. A diamond expanding drum belt around 200 grit to start or a silicon carbide wheel or belt around the same grit, shape on the belt or wheel- carbide. I then switch to hand sanding with carbide sticks to shape and smooth go to 600 grit.
Next go to 1200 diamond to smooth out, check for scratches as they will show when finished. I would finish these on 1200 wet & dry paper by hand, start wet then go dry. This will give you a satin finish that will look very good, hides imperfections. I go to 100 K diamond and also linde A powder but that's for comp carvings.Join a club and learn the basics of cutting and polishing, make a basic cab then move to a free form cab, you need to learn to walk before you can run and jade is considered as one of the most challenging gems to finish.

Great advice thank you! I started on this project the other day and decided to start off with just one Fret for now.

Have got the rough shape cut out, just need to add a radius and play with the fit.

http://imgur.com/a/P6oS79m

Will post some pics once I have it finished off and in the guitar. :)

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