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Fret Filler

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by zavala, Mar 30, 2003.

  1. zavala


    Mar 6, 2003
    can i use the Wood Purflings that stew mac sells as binding to fill the fret slots in my fret board?
    the sizes are .020" x 3/32" x 31-1/2".

    it's for a ibanez SR885 bass.
  2. hoytbasses


    Mar 30, 2003
    Cape Cod
    I build stringed instruments.......
    yes, I think that you can the StewMac purflings material. I have used 1/40th" maple veneer with great success. just have a suitable saw available to clean the residue out of the fret slots.

    here's another trick that I've used a few times and it was great! (this is how we do it in our guitar building class)

    Hardware stores sell a two part paste epoxy that is white colored (I don't know the brand name offhand) but if the fingerboard is sanded well to remove any chips (or super glue down the big ones) you can mix up this paste and glop it into the fret slots. then use a sanding board ( a good flat surface with 80 grit sandpaper double-stick taped to it) to sand it flush... follow this with 120, 150,220 and 320 paper... then 000 steel wool and lemon or boiled linseed oil! it'll look good, help keep the stiffness of the board lost by the removal of the frets, and it's be a dead-true surface. Don't be tempted to use 40 or 60 grit paper at first: you'll have a terrible time getting those sanding marks out!

    a final 'down and dirty" de-fretting job is to take a sharp mill file and file down the heads of the frets, leaving the tangs in the board.... follow this with the sanding regimen above.... you'll actually keep a little bit of the metallic sound especially if slapping.

    as always there's no turning back from any of these methods, though I did have to re-fret a neck for a customer after I had defretted and filled it (he hated the sound of the bass as a fretless) and I had to charge him a LOT of money!!!!! we're stilll friend's however. don't take your prized bass to defret! buy a 'beater' that you can modify and hotrod with cool pickups etc:

    Karl hoyt
  3. DP Custom

    DP Custom DP Custom Basses

    Feb 7, 2001
    NC, USA
    there's a light wood-colored one also available in the wood repair section of the harware store (near the putty's, etc)..I think its called "good wood" ..just be sure to give it a few days to finish curing & to stabilize, otherwise it may not stay flush if you sand too soon.

    Dave P.

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