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The fret board is one of very few pieces of the uke where you must be very accurate with your measurements. If the frets are not spaced just so the intonation will be off, and no amount of adjustment (save a new fret board) will fix it. I'm just saying... :-)

So anyway, make yourself a little miter box like thing for perfect 90 degree cuts, and obtain a suitable saw for cutting the slots. For most fret wire, you need slots .023" wide. I found a "flush cutting" saw with a .024" blade at Harbor Freight which works perfectly (eight bucks). Cut the board to finished over-all dimensions, but do not taper it just yet.

Once you've cut the slots (and checked them twice :-)), mark and drill holes for the position dots. A jig helps to get them in a nice straight line.

Now you need to fit the board on the neck, and position it so that it's and the uke's center lines are one and the same. "Eyeball" it in place and drill down through the last position dot hole (nearest the body) into the neck. Put a dowel in there and in the first dot hole, and place a straight edge along the two dowels. Make it so the straight edge is right on the center of the body (less half the diameter of the dowels), and drill through the first position dot into the neck. Now you have two pins locating the fret board on the neck, and you may proceed with marking and cutting the taper.

I've discovered that a drill press (not running!) with a short wooden dowel in the chuck makes a great light-duty press for installing fret wire. Hold the long piece of wire in place and gently press it into the slots. Trim with side cutters afterwards. Works great (much better control than hammering, in my opinion).

Finally, clamp the fret board between two pieces of hard wood in the vice and clean up the ends of the wire with a fine file. Do not worry about "dressing" the frets until the board is glued onto the neck.

Next: The bridge

If you find any of this helpful I'd certainly appreciate a "tip" :-)

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