Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

applying system 3 mirror coat to a fingerboard

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tjclem, Aug 8, 2005.


  1. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Looking for last miniute advice. I am doing it tomorrow. 30" scale spalt top Wenge fingerboards. I normaly just use CA glue on them but I wanted to try something different. What do you use to apply it how should I protect the nut slot? Do you just mask off the neck with masking tape? How long until I can sand it down? ETC.ETC. :hyper:
     
  2. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I can't comment on System 3 specifically, but I can comment on the epoxy coating I use. I spread it with one of those cheapo foam brushes (I picked up 72 of 'em for $9 a while back) making sure to watch for cratering. This happens when the epoxy doesn't adhere to a certian spot, leaving it almost dry. If you see anything like that, just go back over it and squish the brush into that spot, then smooth it out. You'll probably get air bubbles in the finish, but they rise to the surface on their own. If you want, going over it with the foam brush lightly can help get rid of some of the bubbles.

    As for sanding, my system is ready to go in a few hours and I usually wet sand with 400 grit. The literature recommends something a whole lot coarser than that, but I'm always scared of sand through. I like a number of coats to get rid of all the low spots, but if you're careful I bet you could do it in one.

    When it comes to the final finish, do what you like. Epoxy should polish out to a gloss if you want to go that far, but I like a satin feel on my fretless fingerboards.

    -Nate
     
  3. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Thanks how do you protect the nut slot?
     
  4. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Masking tape should work fine. Let the epoxy set up a bit and then pull the tape. That way it won't run into the slot after you've removed the masking and your masking won't be glued down. That's what I'd do, anyway.

    -Nate
     
  5. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I did it 4 hours ago it still seems a bit tacky but the epoxy left in the cup is hard? What is up with that?
     
  6. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Epoxy uses a chemical reaction to cure. Having more mixed epoxy in one place makes it cure faster, while spreading it thin slows the curing process. It's a bit counterintuitive, but that's just how it goes.

    I use a fast cure brand that supposedly cures in 25 minutes at room temperature. Usually letting it sit for a few hours makes it plenty hard enough to sand, but System 3 may work differently. On the other hand, since the stuff in the pot cured already you know your ratio was ok, so you shouldn't have anything to worry about beyond a bit of a wait.

    -Nate
     
  7. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    That makes sense thanks.....t
     
  8. hey Tom, I use a system 3 epoxy. Not mirror coat, but clear coat, which is much thinner than mirror coat. You should read the instructions on the bottles and even better, go to their website and register for free, then you can download the epoxy book they have in PDF, it has everything you need to know about dealing with this magical substance.
     
  9. AJClone

    AJClone

    Mar 11, 2002
    Iowa
    So what do you do to prepare the fretboard before you start? Sand it down til there is no finish left? I've got a rosewood fb on a fender MIA jazz deluxe and am looking at putting epoxy on it.

    What I'd love is a step by step process..something like
    1. Remove neck from bass and remove nut
    2. sand down fb ...
    3. epoxy, etc.
    4. sand with x grit, then x grit til ________
    5. epoxy again, etc.
    6. final sand down with x grit, then x, then x

    Anybody know of a good step by step that's laid out anywhere?

    Also, I had a zon that almost had too much mwahh that had a nice shiny fretboard (not wood of course). I understand the electronics are different but from a very broad brush statement, it appears that epoxy enhances mwah...is this true?

    Thanks for any help