finger board removal ?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by bassedsouth, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. my ebony board is lifting slightly in the middle section of the neck !

    Strangely enough the playability of the bass is not really affected (yet) !

    The board by the nut and the end of the neck is still holding strong though.

    I'm wondering what the correct procedure is to correct this ?

    Is it possible to inject glue into into the lifted space and clamp it or should one remove the board , have the surfaces smoothed and then re glue the board on ?
    Also how does a luthier normally remove a finger board ?
  2. zeytoun


    Dec 19, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    It's not hard to reglue. I did it myself, when it turned out I hadn't done it properly the first time.

    1. Get hide glue. (like the 192 gram strength granular hide glue at
    2. Mix hide glue with water at the proper ratio, and let sit at least an hour
    3. Warm up glue. I put mine in a glass jar, and sit it in a pan of hot water.
    4. Warm up your neck and fingerboard. I wrapped a heating pad around it (esp the still-glued area), and tied it with a couple rags and let it sit while the glue warmed.
    5. Remove the FB. A nice strong, thin scraper is what I used. Start from the loose spots and work your way through gently. Don't use too much leverage and be patient, it'll come loose.
    6. Clean off the old glue. A hot damp rag, maybe a scraper.
    7. You could wrap the pieces in the heating pad again, if you like. It will give you a bit more "open" time with the glue. Optional.
    8. Brush your glue onto the neck and put the FB on the neck quickly.
    9. Clamp or tie. I used 2 bandanas, tied snug. Not too tight, or you'll squeeze out all your glue. A second pair of hands is handy for this set.
    10. Let sit overnight.
  3. thanks for sound the advice , Ill start the process this weekend and take it slowly as you say !!
    Adrian :)

  4. Gearhead43


    Nov 25, 2007
    Wow! Some actual DIY advice! Amazing!

    Take it to a luthier!!!! :rolleyes:
  5. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    Z, I'm afraid you left out one of the most important steps: refitting. When the fingerboard is removed and the glue dissolved, both the neck and fingerboard need to be worked so that they fit back together with no gaps. This is way easier said than done...
  6. Cody Sisk

    Cody Sisk

    Jan 26, 2009
    Lilburn, GA
    Ronald Sachs Violins
    +1 for some sound DIY advice Z, but Arnold's right as usual. I'm concerned about that gap in the middle.. I think neck warping might be the culprit and the fingerboard will only work its way loose again or not line up perfectly the second time around.
  7. ctregan


    Jun 25, 2007
    Syracuse N.Y.
    I think you could get much better results using clamps. The pressure is not perpendicular to the gluing surface with twisted ropes, cords or ties. For me, clamps and clamping cauls are the way to go.

    The other unforeseen headache, is trying to clean up the excess glue w/ cords wrapped around the f.b. and neck.
  8. zeytoun


    Dec 19, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Yes, you're right. I didn't read the OP carefully enough. When my FB came loose, it was simply a glue bond issue, and no refitting was necessary.
  9. Well I got the board off !

    A luthier in my part of the world advised me to use a flat thin and not too flexible piece of metal to gently push into the gap and to work bit by bit to pry the two woods apart .

    As per his advice I also dipped the 'blade' into methylated spirits constantly, in order to help break down the glue. I also kept the blade hot by dipping it into boiling water.

    It took me about 90 mins to complete and without a single mishap ! I would not have attempted this though if I had no experience in working with wood .
    What I did discover is that the board has some sort of black finish on it
    and that the original wood is a reddish hardwood , my hope and guess is that its light ebony .

    Is it normal to put an almost paint-like finish on a board / its a kind of varnish perhaps ?

    Can anyone advise on the best finish for a fingerboard ?
  10. DrBassie


    Apr 24, 2006
    Orlando, FL
    It's probably rosewood. It's cheaper than ebony.
  11. I dont think it's rosewood , it has a tighter grain and is definitely harder / it could be 'cheap' ebony i.e not the dark heart wood of the tree but also could be something else ....