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Fretless Fretboard gloss

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by chinjazz, Jul 22, 2007.


  1. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Howdy, I know this is probably an old topic.. I bought an SX Fretless as an entry into the fretless world and upgrading:

    http://www.rondomusic.net/sjb62mgfllpb.html

    First off, since it's a rosewood board, and I like DR Sunbeams, it's gonna tear up the board. I'd like to give it a few coats of "something" to gloss it up. I know it'll still tear into it then, but that's ok. Any suggestions on an easy home remedy path to this? Any info, or old thread links would be mucho appreciado!

    Thanks,
    Adam
     
  2. Cerb

    Cerb

    Sep 27, 2004
    Indiana
    Epoxy is the standard fretless board coating. Linas has an epoxy tutorial here
     
  3. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    Nothing wrong with multiple coats of Poly, actually much easier than epoxy to deal with. I've been doing poly for over 20 years and haven't had to re-do one yet. :)
    Dirk
     
  4. X Wolf

    X Wolf Guest

    +1....The Poly seems to hold up pretty well and looks great. I have Ebony boards and I play flatwounds so I don't think the Poly on my next fretless would help me that much though.

    George
     
  5. hate to hijack a thread
    what poly do you use?
     
  6. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    1+ That was my next question for Dirk :)
     
  7. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Hi Dirk, what sort of Poly do you usually use? By the way, that's a really cool looking bass you've made! How does it sound?

    Thanks!
    Adam
     
  8. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    Hey Guys,
    Thanks for asking and the kind words on my build. I love it and it's my #1 bass for fretted.

    I use a Spar Poly. I think the last batch was even minwax brand, great stuff to play with actually, levels pretty well and will gloss great with a bit of buffing.
    I will warn you most of my fretless basses have at least 30 coats on them. But each layer dries fairly quick. If I recall I could do about 3 coats a day. ;)

    Dirk
     
  9. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Very cool! I'll start researching Spar Poly. Not bad, 3 coats a day for 10 days --- No sweat. Being down in the humidity capital of the USA, and I don't have as much of a controlled environment, I think I'll have to pick and choose the times when i can do my finishing in my garage.

    On a humorous note, I'm now motivated to change my name on here to something a little more BoogieNights-Esque. :)

    Thanks Dirk! :hyper:
     
  10. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    Hey Adam,
    No problem man, happy to help. Yes humidity will affect dry times for sure, you'll know when it's dry enough to continue. When you touch it and it leaves no finger print it's time to move on. Don't forget to sand between layers after the first couple. Also if you want it to shine use a buffer and make it shine! :)

    And Yankeesfan PM'ed me which Poly I used and my current favorite is:

    Minwax Indoor/Outdoor Helmsman Spar Urethane Clear Gloss variety.

    I only ever use rounds on my fretlesses and this stuff works great, after 30 some odd coats it gets almost as strong as Pedulla Diamondkote. I wish I could find that stuff. :)

    Read the directions and heed the warnings. ;)

    Good luck,
    Dirk
     
  11. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Hey Dirk,

    Super! Thanks a bunch for passing on that info from YankeesFan! This is the way I'm going to go, and I'll heed the warnings on the can..

    Mind if I ask you another question thru PM regarding a different neck finish I'm going to do, or I'd like to do?

    Thanks,
    Adam
     
  12. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    Hey Adam,
    No problem I'm happy to help in any way I can.

    Hey PM's are free. :)
    Dirk
     
  13. so to get a nice shiny finish you would sand between the first few layers, apply the rest of the layers, and then buffer it after the last layer?

    thanks for all the info!
     
  14. hey... i've got the same bass, and i just use flats on mine.

    they are better IMO anyways and they won't tear up the fingerboard.
     
  15. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    I put my flats back on until I can get this finish done. I like the flats for certain things, but I'm more of a round wound player. I took lessons years ago with Carol Kaye, and she really turned me on to the Flats vibe, but it just wasn't in my blood or something :) Very cool vibe though :bassist:
     
  16. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    To answer coolrunner,
    The first few coats (which I consider base coats) I did not sand between, just stacked them up to create a thick base. Then after about the 3rd or 4th coating it was sanding every layer or 2. And by the end it's only 000 steel wool, then buffing for the shine.
    Good luck,
    Dirk
     
  17. You might like the superglue, or, cyanoacrylate (CA) finish. it takes about 3 hours from start to finish and dries VERY hard. It buffs to a shine with 600 wet and Scratch-Out. I've done it and it is tons more durable than any poly. It is an epoxy. When set, it sands slowly, levels evenly, and wears almost none.

    I LOVE IT!

    See: Dan Erlewine.
    Or run a search.

    Woodturners love this stuff!
     
  18. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Hey T,

    Do you suggest a high viscosity one?

    I was using some medium viscosity CA on a different project last night (built up a thick coat and it took about 2 1/2 hrs to dry).

    Do you have time to share some more specific details like product you used, how thick a coat, how long to wait to sand/buff? What you used to sand/buff (because this is some tuff stuff to sand).

    I'm very interested in this :)

    Thanks in advance!

    Adam
     
  19. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Lineā„¢ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    CA was discussed recently in another fingerboard finishing thread, and the consensus was that Dan W had a few too many Nitro fumes floating around his head when he wrote that article.

    IME CA is a awful finish to apply and accurately level. I simply refuse to use it again. Take a look in that other thread and you'll see many who share a similar dislike for finishing a fingerboard with CA.

    all the best,

    R
     
  20. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    Thanks R!

    I think I'll try the Dirk Diggler path then: Minwax Indoor/Outdoor Helmsman Spar Urethane Clear Gloss variety.

    It certainly seems the be less involved than boat epoxy with all that mixing, etc...

    Cheers!
    Adam
     

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