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Epoxy v.s. CA; feel, clarity, etc.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ii7-V7, Dec 26, 2005.

  1. ii7-V7


    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    On a fretless fingerboard I'm contemplating Epoxy v.s. CA (Superglue). I definetly don't want a sticky feel like polyurethane. I'm worried that epoxy will have that sticky feel?

    Is this true?

    What are some other virtues of Epoxy v.s. CA?
  2. You can't really define "epoxy" as one hardness or another because there are so many types that are blended for different applications. The quick-set epoxies are definitely softer than slow-set for instance, and marine epoxy designed as a coating is very different from an epoxy designed intended as an adhesive. You can have just about any hardness you desire by researching the data sheets for a particular version that meets your needs. HG Thor down in Miami uses a very hard epoxy on their boards. It's probably the best coating of it's kind available. I use CA because of it's speed and ease of use. It's extremely hard too. I personally haven't seen much difference between the superhard epoxies and CA when the fingerboard is finished. If it's a good job, it will be hard to tell one way or the other.
  3. ii7-V7


    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    I was going to use West Marine epoxy if I went that route.

    So, if you can't tell the difference between CA and epoxy, but CA is easier to apply....why would I use epoxy?

    Can I use any ol' CA that I find at Home Depot?

  4. You ask me - since "I" can't tell the difference why would "you" use it? I don't know why you should use it.

    I do know that CA is a very hazardous material. The fumes are dangerous to your eyes and lungs and it requires a NIOSH respirator mask to work with it. As far as it being easier to apply, I should have qualified that - It's easier for ME to apply and get right than the epoxy. But the application technique I use is one that I figured out on my own and it takes some practice to get right. In the meantime, you'll make a mess of your work practicing. The West product you are intending to use is fine for this purpose - it's a common brand for this sort of thing.

    The reason I like CA is that you can coat and refinish an entire neck in an afternoon because the CA dries so much quicker.
  5. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I use the slow dry ca I mask off the area around the fingerboard and I do it outside. Apply with a playing card......t
  6. marine grade epoxy will not have a sticky feel, and although epoxy might be more laborious to apply CA is quite a bit more dangerous. CA vapors can make you dizzy and even pass out.
  7. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Yeah, CA is nasty stuff. If you are so bold as to go that route have proper ventillation and a serious mask with eye protection.
  8. It's really no more hazardous than other solvents that can get in the eyes, nose, and respiration system. You have to use personal protection equipment like it was a real job. It is just a bit more caustic smelling and it stings the eyes but so does ammonia and that's even more deadly. So wear the protection and use plenty of ventilation and you'll be fine. I even use a little fan to blow fumes away from directly above the work so that I can occupy that space. It all works out in the end.
  9. ii7-V7


    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    Well, I went the CA route since I figured it was easier and cheaper. I'm doing it outside so I'm not worried about fumes. I'm waiting for my third coat to dry now. I'm going to do at least two more.

    The first coat I put on was rather thick but the untreated board almost completely soaked it up. It wasn't until the second coat that I could really tell that it was building up. I can also definetly tell the difference between the look of the first and second coat. The first coat looked horrendous. The second coat was better but still not great.
  10. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    You should still worry.
    Even though Hambone is correct in that other chemicals also are dangerous, there is a little difference.
    CA means cyanoacrylate. 'Cyano' means that it contains cyanide as one very active component. Cyanide has both short and long term effects, of which none is very nice: death, of course, pneumo-cardial disfunction, reproductive disorders, second generations dysfunctions....
    Working out doors is a good idea.
    You still need a great breathing protection, and eye protection, too.
    You should still have a fan to make sure that there is a continous wind...

    BTW, you should take the same precautions working with polyester, epoxi, polyurethane and whatever solvents except water.
  11. JTGale


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    Are you using any type of accelerator?

  12. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I would bet he isn't using one it drys fast enough.

  13. No, accelerators work good in adhesive situations where there's a tight fit between parts but not so good when you are trying to make smooth surfaces. When a drop of accelerator hits wet CA, it tends to sort of "bubble" the surface and makes it rough, increasing the work you'll have to get it smooth. I let it dry naturally, while I'll add some heat and moist air to help it cure.

  14. While cyanide is a compund found in CA glue, cyanide isn't a danger in most cases. I researched the question and found out that cyanide gas is only released from CA glue during pyostasis or the burning of the cured glue. Though I gleaned this info from several different sources, here is a more concise treatise on the dangers of cyanide in superglue:

    Not being argumentative - just clear and precise.
  15. JTGale


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    Sorry to prolong the point, but have you used CA with an accelerator for seating new fret wire? I have yet to try that since I am not too sure that I can move all that fast when refreting! ;-) But seriously, I have been wanting to give it a shot in hopes of shortening refreting time. Does it help?

  16. I've put it in frets but I haven't use finally an accelerator. There's no reason I can think of that you couldn't though. It's just that I usually don't have any on hand when I really need it. :rolleyes:
  17. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Can anyone say more about how to apply CA?

    One person said with a playing card. Do you just pour it and push it in the right direction?

    What technique and materials would you use for sanding/polishing afterwards?
  18. ii7-V7


    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    I simply used rubber gloves and rubbed it in with my fingers. By the way, the glue job worked pretty well. Its not as good looking as HG Thor's jobs, but its functional. I would say that you need to pay extra attention to the shape of your fret board before you apply the CA.
  19. davesisk


    Aug 30, 2004
    Raleigh, NC
    Excellent...I was just considering coating a fretless rosewood fingerboard with SuperGlue...glad I searched and found this post! Sounds like it is indeed a pretty good idea. It has a very woody sound, but isn't quite bright enough for my tastes. I'm thinking hardening the fingerboard to a moderate degree with CA/Superglue should brighten it up quite a bit.

    I saw a post somewhere else that said in order to pretty much avoid having to sand it, clean it first with alcohol, then apply extremely thin coats and rub it into the wood with wax paper. Thoughts on this application idea? I know I've done this with a fretboard repair on a fretted bass before (superglue plus some sawdust of the correct variety)...

  20. Nomad98


    Dec 13, 2005
    There is a great article in this months "Bass _______" Magazine! (Is it against the forum rules to say the magazine here?)

    It's a little how to on CA application! Very easy and straight forward.