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Fretless Inlay Material Suggestions

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by krfoss, Jun 28, 2012.


  1. krfoss

    krfoss Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    What material do most people use for lines on a fretless neck? I'm putting something in on a maple neck and dont know what would work best, i.e. fitting and being visible. Anyone have any suggestions?
     
  2. jworrellbass

    jworrellbass Commercial User

    May 17, 2009
    Colorado Springs CO
    Owner, builder: jworrellbass
    You can cut your slots like a regular fretted FB and then use wood veneer where the fret wire would go. Then glue and sand.
     
  3. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD Supporting Member

    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    I used white styrene plastic I got from amazon. It came in 0.02" thickness and is bright white, so highly visible.

    If you are working with a maple board, you might look into dyed maple veneer. You can get black, or just about any other color.
     
  4. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    I use Ebony or rosewood veneers on Maple fretlesses if they want lines. Just like John said above. Like Marks idea for white lines....may check that out
     
  5. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
  6. krfoss

    krfoss Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Thanks! Very helpful.

    Anyone also have any suggestions for cutting the fret lines if I dont have a fretting miter box?
     
  7. jworrellbass

    jworrellbass Commercial User

    May 17, 2009
    Colorado Springs CO
    Owner, builder: jworrellbass
  8. I've used plane shavings that I flattened and cut. It was a bit fiddly but it came out ok. Getting even thickness is the issue.

    IMAG08741.

    IMAG0880.

    Just btw, when you do it, the process goes as follows (I learnt the hard way)
    1. clean out the slot
    2. get the laminate into the slot
    3. put some superglue along both side of it
    4. wiggle the laminate side to side a little to help the superglue wick into the space
    5. let the glue dry fully
    6. slice the extra laminate off with a chisel till it's a mm or 2 proud of the fingerboard
    7. sand the whole board with a long board with sand paper attached if possible to smooth
    If one doesn't work, then you can just reslot that spot and do it again.

    Oh and make sure you have plenty of ventilation. The superglue gave me a real headspin. And use gloves too. I nearly glued my fingers together multiple times.
     
  9. krfoss

    krfoss Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Sounds awesome. I am going to use some of the colored white veneers from LMII. You mention superglue for gluing in the veneers. Could you use the regular wood glue? Also, what glue do you recommend for inlays (or anything else) that wont show the glue? I've heard mixing in some sawdust of the wood into the glue to help match the color of the wood.

    Thoughts?
     
  10. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD Supporting Member

    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    you could use wood glue for veneer lines, but it will obviously take longer to dry.

    I would not use ca for inlay gap filler. You will need a couple of minutes to mix in the sanding dust and spread it into the inlay gaps. CA might not give you that time. A 5-minute epoxy would. Also, use sanding dust instead of saw dust. It's finer and will mix better.
     

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