Marked everything out in pencil for centerlines. 1/4" MOP dots. One of the things people typical skip that makes things way harder is using a wood awl to dimple their center points. If you do that and chase it with a bradpoint bit, you get as close to exact as you can when drilling a piece of wood. Works for the face AND the side dots.
Didn't take pics of the process but drill press for the face and drilled by hand for the sides. I see a lot of people use really complex jigging for side dots but if you mark and punch your centerpoints, you can drill for recesses by hand and get them clean every time.
The front dots I'd typically drill a sliver over 1/4" for an easy fit but my larger bit was missing, so I went with a clean 1/4" bit and just used the Irwin clamps to seat them with super glue. I leave them a little proud of the slot or just up to the edge of it, and the radius block with 100, 150, 220. No idea why but the Gorilla brand CA glue seems to take a lot longer than the Loctite brand I swear by. Either way, happy with the results.
On to the fretwork. I have a press that I spent good money on buying and modifying for pressing frets but it's crazy inconvenient and doesn't get as much leverage as I'd like. A lot of guys work with just a fretting hammer, which is nice but doesn't distribute impact evenly and is easy to mar your fretboard with errant strikes. Best compromise I've found is using the pressing caul and blocks, and hammering on that with the fret hammer. One or two on the center to get it to hold, then, up from center and down from center for the arch.
My fretwire comes straight, and it's semi-useable that way since some bending happens in the seating process but you still need to prebend them. Especially with stainless. This is a fretbender I made years and years ago that's done the trick. Most of what you're seeing is self explanatory but the cliff notes is that it's a piece of 2" aluminum flat bar with skateboard bearings and bolts, one side slotted to adjust the amount of relief. The feeder are a couple washers and a bolt, with a window crank as a feeder. This thing bends a 2' piece of fretwire pretty reliably in about 15 seconds. Sometimes I give it more than one pass to get there, especially stainless because it's springy.
Next was the actual fretting process, as described above. Not much to add. It's stainless jumbo. I used to cut my fretwire with a pair of long handled end nippers but the stainless fights it too much and I ruined a couple pairs, along with getting blisters. I switched over to a pair of mini-bolt cutters and they snip the stainless wire pretty effortless. This is how it looks after seating them, before final trimming, beveling, etc.
The neck is a hair flatter with rounder shoulders than my cushion. Had to do one pass with it in place with light taps, then second pass without it and pretty hard to get them in without it rolling. Kitchen drawer mats to keep the heel tenon and back of headstock from getting scratched with all the pounding.
After they were seated, I tapped the extra fretwire to round the edges more (typically the edges have more relief from the sanding process). Everything got clipped as close as I could with the bolt cutters, then sanded flush on the vertical belt sander (the Rigid one that converts to a spindle sander; it's worth it's weight in gold), and beveled around 30 degrees thanks to the variable deck on it. You have to be careful how much pressure and how long you keep the sander on the fretwire or they glow orange, burn the fretboard and discolor the fretwire.
After that, the frets get another couple taps to fully seat the edges and they're done. Typically you don't need a full on fret level on a new fretjob, but this will get taped up and the frets will be sanded/polished and fine tuned for level in the later stages.
Definitely nearing the finish line. The ebony is kind of a bitch because the dust breaks up like dirt and stains any unfinished lighter surfaces. I kept sanding the maple to pristine, then I'd fine tune the fretboard and have to clean up sand the maple again, ugh. Luckily that's pretty much done with. Neck is sanded up to 150, so one or two grits left and it's finish ready.
Neck is pretty much ready to take a break though. On to final sanding on the body and finish. I glaze/fillered the top to body seam as a final precaution, and I'm pretty much done with the actual sculpt as well as the relief on the edges. So pretty much sanding the sides and back and we're ready for paint.