fretboard replacement

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by lustreking, Jul 2, 2003.

  1. I'm considering replacing the fingerboard of a bass I have. I know it's no small job, but I'm not afraid of it.

    Can anybody give me a run-down on what needs to be done, or point me to something online, or recommend a book?


  2. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon has information on this... I've used the 'flatiron' method of removal several times, so much so that I bought my own iron to dedicate to fretboard removal, (alright... mostly to maintain marital harmony with wifey-poo) :D

  3. Thanks, I found some good stuff from MIMF. I have another quick question.

    So an iron is enough to soften the glue holding on the fretboard... I'll be working on a 3-piece neck. Do I need to worrry about de-laminating the neck pieces?

  4. Earlier today I used an iron and a putty knife and the fretboard came off without event. I figured out what the problem was. The previous owner had cranked down the truss rod so hard that the anchor at the top was pulled down from where it was supposed to be anchored. It then pushed all the neck wood out of the way as it migrated south. The wood had nowhere to go but up, so that's what pushed the fretboard off the neck. It looks like I can re anchor the top, and hopefully re-use the fretboard.


    As I was reading several articles on the MIMF and other places, I found two buzzwords regarding glues: hide glue and Titebond. I have Titebond wood glue, would this be what I want to use to attach the fretboard, or do I want to use hide, or something else altogether?

    Thanks again, Robert

  5. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    I think you would be OK with Titebond. Hide glue has a bit of a learning curve, or so I've read, and it might not be wise to take a chance on a one time repair like this.
    Titebond should be fine. I've read that it can creep over long long stretches of time, but countering that is what the truss rod is for. It's what I and most people use for gluing fingerboards.
    Good luck!
  6. RobbieK


    Jun 14, 2003
    I use titebond for fretboards. Work great. Just make sure that all the old glue is gone from the gluing surfaces.
  7. Thanks for all the input, everyone!

    Another quick question... Since I have the fretboard off now, would it be a good idea to put some carbon fiber rods in, or would that be a waste of time and money? As I think I said before, this is a 3 piece neck.

  8. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Could any of you post the exact procedure? I have a maple-necked bass with ski-slope problem. Thought I'd remove the fingerboard (it's a fretless) and try to fix it.
  9. if u dont mind paying the price the rods wount hurt.
  10. RobbieK


    Jun 14, 2003
    I use routing jigs and bits that I made especially for the job. The CF rods I use are 1/8" x 3/8" so I use a 1/8", long shank, straight cut bit with a 1/4" dia. shank. I epoxied a 1/4" x 1/2" high speed (this is important - 20000+ RPM) mini bearing to the shank just above the blade, and the jig is simply two pieces of MDF with straight edges machined and glued side by side, separated by a 1/2" spacer. (I use a similar jig and custom router bit for trussrod slots.) Make sure the bearing slides easily up and down the slot. You'll have to devise a method of securing both the neck and the jig, and this varies depending on the neck. I usually route the CF and trussrod slots first on the thicknessed neck blank, but obviously, this is not posible for you. I use a good quality, runny type epoxy to inlay the rods. If your neck is warped, true the fretboard surface before routing the slots. I like to route the slots parallel to the edge tapers of the neck. I'm no engineer, but I think this results in an increased torsional rigidity over parallel rods. Also true your fretboard with heat, plane, straight edge, sandpapers etc. if recycling original - its probably gonna curl a bit when its removed.