Economical Defret Job

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by SurferJoe46, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. I have an old neck that I had installed on a bass that got wet and needed to be completely refinished. The water had popped some of the epoxy off the fingerboard and the skunk stripe was sticking out a bit.

    Not to mention that the fret wires were a tad over the edge in a few places.

    First step was to de-wire the f-board which I did with my pocket knife. Just being careful to not actually put any dents in the board, they came out pretty easily.

    Next: What to use to fill the slots? Hmmmm?

    I searched the house for some nice thin wood splints in a contrasting color, and except for my wife's teak jewelry box I didn't find any.

    Plastic! That might work. But alas, I didn't have any of what I'd use for fret slot fillers.

    Hardware store -- buy some plastic! Nope - they don't have any that I'd use either.

    Walking back outta the store, I saw a rack with a bunch of plastic FOR SALE and DON'T PARK HERE signs and some were exactly the right thickness for what I needed.

    This is the one I bought - and this is after I cut off what I needed too:::


    Giggle if you must but it cut nicely with my pocket knife and I didn't even reduce the size of the sign much at all! If I was unscrupulous - I'd try to take it back. I think I'll keep it though for whatever reason I can find in the future.

    So far, I have lightly opened the slots with a regular ultra fine hacksaw blade to even them out, and then tapped the plastic slices into the slots.

    OK - I didn't take actual videos or pixs of the process, but a hammer in one hand and tappity-tap and they were in.

    Just end cut them and sand them down (gently) and they are ready for the epoxy coat:::


    Here's a BEFORE shot for comparison:::
  2. mech

    mech In Memoriam

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    Good idea. I love it when something can be used for a purpose never foreseen by the designer!

  3. This'll go on that School Bus Yellow bass I have in the Luthier's area.
  4. mech

    mech In Memoriam

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
  5. Ahhhhh - yes!

    In my day, gumballs were twenty for a penny. Or a hundred for a penny --- I forget which.
  6. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    You must not have seen the thread where I got crucified for suggesting one guy use a hacksaw blade to open up his slots to do the exact same thing on a hunnerd buck bass. That was fun. The upshot was that I, and now apparently you, are charlatans Glad to see your ingenuity once again Surferjoe. Looks very nice.
  7. mech

    mech In Memoriam

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    IMHO, any tool that will do the job needed without causing damage is a good one. The result will mainly depend on the skill and care with which it's used. To me it's more about the workmanship of the craftsman than the tool used.

    96bird...don't remember seeing that thread but it makes me glad I've not posted pics/video of some of the "improper" tools I've used. There was a recent post where someone compared something that was done to "modifying a crowbar". I have modified a crowbar and it was necessary for what I needed to do with the tools on hand. Just so everyone will rest easy, the project did not concern a guitar. :)

  8. Let's start a Charlatans In Lutherie thread then - after all we ain't got no stinking diplomas - right?

    We can't - therefor - know of what we are doing.
  9. mech

    mech In Memoriam

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    How about a "The Charlatans of Lutherie" club? The theme would be how tools or materials are successfully used in hitherto unimagined ways as in days of yore when everything you need hadn't been invented. :D

  10. Yeah! The guy who should be in charge is the one who was chiseling out his bass body from an old table top. I think his first tool of choice was a broadhead axe.

    But I'll join if we can get enough volunteers to make it a decent number - EXCLUSIVE numbers too.

    I think three members sounds about right.
  11. mech

    mech In Memoriam

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    All member numbers would have to be prime numbers, too. (not divisible by any number other than 1 or itself).
  12. Stilettoprefer


    Nov 26, 2010
    I used the hacksaw thing on my fret less conversion as well:p.

    I've also used screw drivers as routers, strap buttons for string retainers on a headstock, a box cutter blade to widen a neck pocket, that same box cutter to make a wire channel, and a different box cutter blade to strip poly finish out of the horns on a stratocaster refinish project.

    Oh, I almost forgot the fingernail clippers that were used as fret pullers.
  13. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2012
    Finding alternative uses for existing products tend to be really fun.

    Yesterday I found a bunch of springs that is perfect as pickup springs. I got them from some old DLT tapes that I destroyed at work. As a bonus I also found a few ball bearings that will be used in a guide system for my router.

    On the first bass I put together I wanted an aluminium pickguard. I had huge trouble finding a fitting piece of aluminium. I finally found a shop that had some perfectly sized signs. Unfortunately they turned out to be plastic... :( Luckily I found a random back yard metal shop that had some 3mm aluminium in stock. I even got it for free. :D
  14. I'm thinking we can laminate some 3-ply pickguards too out of plastic sign material.
  15. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    No Parking pickguards!
  16. I'm thinking swizzle sticks for nut material.
  17. sharp8874


    Jan 10, 2011
    that acctuly sounds like a decent idea!

    I use a "super saw" that I got at a hobby store to cut fret slots...
  18. abemo


    Feb 27, 2012
    Arvada, co
    Hey, add me to that club, memorable moments include but not limited to, dryer vent tape for shielding, balsa craft plywood for pickguard, roundwounds on an old bass for nut files, and best of all, a drywall handsaw and a rasp to carve a body.
  19. Is that rasp air- or hydraulic powered?
  20. Great idea Joe! Love the contrast of the white plastic and the maple.

    I 3rd the idea for laminating some signs together for a pickguard. Probably need 4 or 5? The wheels are already turning, I can think of a "Beware of Dog" sign pickguard, for laughs a "For Sale" sign guard. I know a friend who would go crazy if I had the wheelchair logo from a disability sign for a pickguard. I need to go to the hardware store and see what they've got. lol
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Aug 4, 2021

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