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fretted to fretless conversion

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tjclem, Feb 11, 2005.


  1. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I am looking for some thin black strips to fill in where the frets were anybody know where to get this? ...t
     
  2. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    Really dark wood filler.
     
  3. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Well that was quick but I think I want to use a solid substance like a dyed wood. I have some Wenge veneer but I don't think that would be good for this job..t
     
  4. Tj-
    Using veneers are your best bet. Whether you die them or simply use a dark wood. Using wood filler is highly discouraged as far as I've read. When then tension of the string acts on the neck, the fret slots will compress and cause issues with the filler.

    Hope that helps
     
  5. JTGale

    JTGale

    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    I agree with the no-go on the wood filler. I wouldn't think that the filler would be nearly stable enough. Although the filler would "attach" to the wood, it would not have any elasticity to move and breathe with the wood like is should on a neck, and might eventually separate and crack. Now glue and veneer -- that would be a strong, tight bond that wouldn't break down with adjustments.

    As for what you could use, I think I remember reading somewhere when I was considering converting a fretted to fretless some time back that someone used black sawdust (from ebony or wenge?) and mixed it with glue and used that "goop" to fill the slots before sanding. But I am not sure where I saw that at ...
     
  6. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I have ruled out the filler. I do have some Ebony and some black epoxy I did think about that. I may need to call Larry and check out what he has to say.....t
     
  7. River Gambler

    River Gambler

    Feb 10, 2005
    I used dark wood dust from sanding with epoxy. Put some tape on the side of the frett board to keep the epoxy from runnign down the side. I would use a slow epoxy to keep from having to mix more batchesfrom setting too fast. Make sure you get all the bubbles out. I use a sewing pin and poke it in the slot going the whole length. Hope this helps.

    PS: as a finishing touch I used several coats of supper glue polished out on the fret board. Tom
     
  8. JTGale

    JTGale

    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    Just curious: Was it a standard cyanoacrylate? And where did you find large enough amounts to use on the entire fingerboard?
     
  9. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Thanks. As for the super glue I use that on my Wenge fingerboards. Go to a hobby shop and get the slow set stuff spread it out with a credit card. ONLY do this out side do not be downwind of it. Spreadin CA glue this thin will make your ees and nose object very stongly if it comes your way. I have some scrap ebony I think I will give it a try today. Thanks again..........t
     
  10. River Gambler

    River Gambler

    Feb 10, 2005
    ZAP CA I got it at Longs drug store. The super thin. Any super glue would work. I squirted some on the fret board and used a paper buisnes card to spread and level it out. Word of caution; have lots of ventilation those fumes are bruttle. Sand with 600 between coats (dry). I believe it took about 5 coats to get the build up I wanted.After final sanding I rubbed it out by hand to a high gloss. It has the Padula look. Tom
     
  11. Willy Franklin

    Willy Franklin Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    You can get wooden strips from Grizzly Industrial... Go to their website and search for "purfling". Peace! -Willy