Let's Build A Mandolin (Page 11b)
Last Modified - February 2012 (©Alan Dunwell 2012)
In Page 11 we were doing the fretboard but it has a short version of the extension. If you are doing a more traditional fretboard with a full "Florida" it is often nice to scoop out that long extension. This makes room for picking right over the board without any pick click but keeps the more standard look from face on.
I level up the fretboard with a slip of wood so that the center line is parallel to the sander top and the fret slots are parallel to the sanding drum axis. Then I double stick tape the fretboard to a cast iron angle block to keep it perfectly true. I use this to slowly sand off the extension right up to the first curve. This fretboard was bought slotted so it had slots all the way out. You can order them without slots in the extension area which is a better way to do it if you plan to scoop. These slots are deep enough that I don't want to sand them completely away, that would leave the extension too thin. Here I just back fill the little bit left with a mix of epoxy, ebony sanding dust, and some rough ebony saw dust and chips. The last bit of rough stuff tends to give the epoxy mix a more textured look when scraped back rather than a shiny epoxy look. Hit it on the sander again to ge off the rough stuff and then scrape it true to get the binding clean. Some folks like to keep the fret look to the extension. In that case, rather than sanding away the slots or filling them, just sand the scoop down leaving a bit of slot. Then insert thin 0.020" white binding/purfling into the slots and glue them with Duco. I'd strongly suggest that in this case you scoop and glue in the fret slot bits before you bind the board. That way you can trim the slot bits with the sander or Xacto true to the sides and they will melt right into the binding when it is glued in place avoiding any gaps.