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Removing fret board

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by funnyfingers, Feb 12, 2013.


  1. funnyfingers

    funnyfingers

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    I have a Kramer Duke that I can work on now that I have another bass. The fretboard is coming up a little bit at the 24th fret. I think I'd have to remove the entire board and get off all the glue and then reglue it. The fretboard is ebonal. I have read that an iron should work. Would an oven heated to 150 with me covering the bottome rack with pans to block any direct heat work well? I just figure that is probably less heat directly than an iron...

    Also any chance they used a glue that won't soften with heat?
     
  2. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Location:
    Southern Maryland
    Disclosures:
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    The adhesive used on the Aluminum necks was epoxy, wood glue would not bond metal to non metal (or ebonol for that matter). The melting points of wood glue and epoxy are also different, average wood glue is 170f to 200f (hide glue being on the lighter end).........Epoxy is a bit more resistant to heat vs wood glue, the strength begins to degrade at 300f, but it also burns off as well, instead of just softening like wood glue.
    Not sure if a regular clothes iron will do the job.........needs more steam, rather than a hot contact surface. Note, this will also vary on the type of epoxy that was used.
     
  3. funnyfingers

    funnyfingers

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    If that epoxy is anything like bathtub paint, I am in trouble, lol. So it seems pretty impossible to remove then. Since the bottom is up a little, there is room to start. Would heating to 150 (possibly higher?) with a bowl of water in the oven help with doing something to weaken it physically to then wedge them apart? If so, what would be a safe wedge to use?
     
  4. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Location:
    Southern Maryland
    Disclosures:
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    I don't think it would help, even if the 150 was Celsius, you would have the bond weaken on the wood inserts on the back of the neck as well.

    When I was referring to steam, I mean like taking a cappuccino maker and using it for
    a steam machine, which means using a rubber hose and a football stem (for inflating a football), pull some frets and drill with a small drillbit into the fretslots (through the fretboard) and put some steam to it, as you're lifting the fretboard at the seam.

    If you have not done this before, I wouldn't suggest it.........this task is not really for practice.
     
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  6. T-Bird

    T-Bird

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Location:
    Finland (Northern Europe)
    Hi.

    First of all, AFAIK there is no single one material called ebonol nowadays.

    A quick google search quite surprisingly didn't reveal the company that first registered it back in the day, but plenty of manufacturers had (and have) their own version of the paper-phenolic laminate. Those versions vary by the composition, and therefore obviously by the properties.

    That said, Your question did hit so close to home that I had to try to remove the Epi FB300 fretboard I've been meaning to remove in order to do quite an extensive mod to that quite rare, but valueless guitar.

    After tackling with the task for a while using way more heat than I would with a wooden FB, and obviously wiffing the somewhat unpleasant phenolic odor, I suggest You do the same that I will: Take a router/milling machine to it.

    If anyone has any real life experience about removing a paper matrix phenolic laminate of any name from wood (or aluminium in the OP's case) without damaging the rest of the instrument, proven methods are obviously welcomed and highly appreciated, but in all honesty, the usual speculating, guessing and theorising just won't do much good ;).

    Regards
    Sam
     
  7. bobdabilder

    bobdabilder

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2013
    Location:
    mississippi, usa
    I have an epiphone that i was able to pry up the fretboard and ease some glue in with a paint brush and clamp. Its still holding after five years. Epoxy would be the choice there i bet
     
  8. funnyfingers

    funnyfingers

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    I think I'll try this out.
     
  9. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2004
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    Think twice. If you get a bunch of glue into the wrong place and the fretboard will not clamp down, you're toast..you have installed the glue and guaranteed a permanent problem. Then you have no recourse except to pull the fretboard - and that may mean major work.

    Can you do a test run by using a clamp and forcing the lifted area back into place (without fretboard damage?) If so, then you might be OK....
     
  10. Lo-E

    Lo-E

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    It seems the OP has little to lose here. Something has to be done one way or another.

    I'd try getting in there with a saw blade with the thinnest kerf possible to clean some of the old glue out. If your thinnest saw blade is still too thick, get a really cheapo set of feeler guages, find one that fits in there, and file some notches in the edge so you can use it as a primative glue scraper. Then try what bobdabilder suggested. If it doesn't work, you were going to remove the fingerboard anyway.
     
  11. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Because the saw has set teeth, sawing risks removing either fingerboard or neck material. A saw with a flat set still has the risk. It also doesn't remove much rubbery, cured epoxy. Injury to either or both surfaces will almost certainly require fretwork to complete the task.

    A palate knife and heat are the best tools for the job. An old X-acto saw blade makes a good palate knife as do flea market icing spreaders or beat up putty knives. (Putty knives need to be ground thin. Apply heat to the knife and insert into the the separation. The idea is to melt the epoxy onto the knife. Remove the knife, clean, and reapply. Just like the proverbial toothpick in the cake test, when the knife comes out clean you're done.

    Commence gluing procedure.
     
  12. funnyfingers

    funnyfingers

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    I have little to lose. The fretboard is 24 frets. WOrse case I chop off 4 frets and have as many frets as most basses.
     
  13. funnyfingers

    funnyfingers

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    It actually came up pretty easily. I pulled up on the space a little and it came loose for a few frets. I then used a paring knife for the rest of the way. No glue on the aluminum and a thin layer on the board. I restrung it and played it "fretless" with a G string as the nut.

    http://snd.sc/XlQ6rK

    Not bad sounding, huh?

    *Sorry about the beginning. I didn't realize the volume was so high, but I do adjust it a bit in.
     
  14. T-Bird

    T-Bird

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Location:
    Finland (Northern Europe)
    Hi.

    Thanks for the update.

    To be clear about one thing though, how much heat did You use?

    Sounds a bit like the epoxy hadn't bonded to the aluminium at all though.
    Very good news for others with the similar construction if that's the case.

    My attempt of removal has halted for some time, but I'll get back when it's done.

    Regards
    Sam
     
  15. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    is the aluminum "roughed up" or otherwise textured? if not, maybe that was why the glue didn't grip like it should have. (i don't know that many glues will really chemically bond to metal.)
     
  16. funnyfingers

    funnyfingers

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    The aluminum is very rough. I used no heat at all. Regarding the grip, it is a 30 year old bass. Also I suppose the glue sort of oxidized along the edge, at least that is the main reason for where it came up. Not really sure though.

    The aluminum even has fret marker indents and the fretboard has little metal nipples from the inlays to line up easily.
     
  17. funnyfingers

    funnyfingers

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    Now for the best way to remove the glue from the back of the fingerboard? I am not sure I want to sand at it... I would guess that an epozy remover might harm the board.
     
  18. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Scraping or sanding. A quick review of suggested solvents confirms that each will harm or destroy the phenolic fingerboard.
     
  19. funnyfingers

    funnyfingers

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    I reglued the fretboard with 2 part epoxy from a hardware store. It's been about 12 hours and seems fully cured. Even though it said 15 minute set time, I'd say more like 2 hour. The board needed full clamping to keep everything nice and close and snug. Going to clean up the sides and will post a pick. The final test will be how low I can get the action.
     
  20. funnyfingers

    funnyfingers

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    It turned out really good. Sanded it and just need to polish it. But I strung it up and it plays great with the action set to 3/32 from the top of the 12th fret to the bottom of the string. Very pleased!
     
  21. bobdabilder

    bobdabilder

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2013
    Location:
    mississippi, usa

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