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HELP!!! resin + glass fiber?????

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by soontobedead, Feb 1, 2006.

  1. soontobedead


    Jul 14, 2005
    hey there, everyone!
    So, I dove into the project of covering my defretted fingerboard, so i went to a hardware store and got a bunch of stuff to finish the task. I asked the clerk and he told me they had this package of resin that pretty much matched what i was looking for, so i bought it.
    For about 4 bucks (yes... 4 bucks :eek:) i got a quart of resin (purple-pinkish syrup like liquid), a smaller flask of a clear hardening catalyst of some sort (peroxide?) and a whole skein of white, thick plastic threads, which i assume, is glass fiber...
    Now, i got to work and even though the resin was cheap as heck, it turned out to be great...

    I made a mix of 2 parts resin and 1 part of the "catalyst" thingy and the purple-pink color started to change first to dark transparent and to a clear, much more consistent goo.
    I applyed it to the fingerboard (once sanded and chemically stripped with acetone) and let it dry for a couple of days now.
    Much to my amazement, the resin didn't even bubble (i didn't have high hopes because i used the crazy glue method and it bubbled to the point of becoming unworkable).
    Now i'm gonna sand it w/ fine sandpaper and prepare to go the the next step; But THERE is where i find my quandary :rollno::

    Question 1:
    Should i continue to apply more layers of the resin (which now i swear by :hyper:) or should i work with the glass fiber? My dad told me that using the fiber would give me a quite thick surface to work on, so i don't know if i should coat the FB with further layers of resin, at risk of having a way too thick layer and then having to deal with the problems that could carry later on... Maybe i shouldn't even USE the alleged glass fiber on this kind of work?

    Question 2:
    If i were to use the fiber, how do i use/mix it? (please, mind i'm the n00best person out there) do i use some of the catalyst too? do i have to heat it? does it dissolve on its own?

    Enlight me if you please and help me so i don't ruin a work that's going quite well minding it's my first one and the fact that i have 2 left hands (that, being a righty :D)


    PS: Hambone... are you there???
  2. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I'd give the fibre a miss for this project. Fibreglass is mostly used for its strength/stiffness and neither of those things are particularily important when coating a fingerboard (we're assuming that the neck/fingerboard/truss rod provide the needed strength and stiffness). The resin is probably polyester based and, minus a few proprietary chemical combinations, is about the same stuff as the big boys use.

    I believe that loose fibres like you've got are called "tow". If memory serves they're generally used for reinforcing specific areas of a fibreglass layup and wouldn't be much good for a surface treatment anyway. If having a true fibreglass skin is what you're looking for, then you'd probably want some type of woven glass cloth. At that point the basic procedure is to "wet out" the cloth (work the resin mixture into the fibres until there are no dry spots left), lay the cloth on the surface to be covered, and smooth out all the air bubbles. Resin on the surface before laying the cloth can help with adhesion, and more coats over the cloth are used to get a nice smooth finish.

    Of course, it's been a long time since I played with composites, so I could well be wrong.

  3. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    I wouldn't use it.
    It's used in making surfboards (for instance) to give them stiffness that the foam core doesn't give. You wrap the board with the fiberglass mesh, then cover it all in resin.

    For a fretboard, all you want is the surface finish. Ignore the fiberglass.
  4. Biagio139

    Biagio139 Dealer: Hipshot Products, Inc.

    Dec 23, 2005
    Ithaca N.Y.
    if its fiber we called that cat hair when I was reparing sail boats, its just for strengththening deep gouges, dont use it not necessary and when it dries its a bitch to sand.
  5. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    First, don't use it!

    Just FYI: the glass won't dissolve, you saturate it with the catalyzed resin. The resin by itself is not very strong at all in a thick application, but you don't care about that in this instance. When you're doing auto body work, surfboard/boat/sailboard layup, etc., you need thick strong panels. The matrix you get from the saturated glass is called a fiber reinforced plastic, or simply fiberglass. You can laminate multiple layers at once, or do it one at a time. There is a specic amount of saturation that gives the best strength/weight ratio, and finding that is part of the art of a good composites job.

    By the way, be very careful to work with good ventilation, and always use a proper vapor-filtering mask and good rubber gloves. I have friends in wheelchairs and worse who didn't pay enough attention to safety with these materials.

    The stuff you used probably has a finishing agent (wax, basically) included. If the finish comes out glossy, you can safely assume it does. You'll need to sand off the gloss between each coat to get a good bond to the preceding layer.
  6. soontobedead


    Jul 14, 2005
    thanks!!! great replies, guys.... as good as it gets... that's why i love TB :bassist:
  7. 1973ric4001


    Apr 27, 2005
    U should have used Epoxy, its strong and really easy. U buy 2 parts: resin and the hardener. Mix them together untill the container starts to get warm. then apply. Thats what Jaco did, u'd get some great tone from it. Epoxy is also the strongest **** around, me and my dad work on our wooden boats with it all the time.
  8. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    At least in the surf/sailboard world, polyester resin comes with tints to tell you how much finishing agent is in it. If you start with laminating resin, you'll need to add your own finishing agent (which is actually preferable once you get used to working with it), but the resin will be clear. At least that holds for the stuff I get locally from these big dogs: http://www.fiberglasssupply.com/ .

    Epoxy comes in a lot of formulations, and there are all kinds of additives readily available as well. I don't do many things with cosmetic thin coats (epoxy sailboards typically get painted), but the guys at the link above are stellar at helping out on application techniques. FWIW, I use slow setup epoxy for just about everything I do. It does kick much slower if you get it out of the pot before it gets hot. Sometimes that's what you want, but sometimes it isn't. You guys maybe aren't necessarily as concerned about ultimate strength as I would be.

    Have fun! I don't do much composites work anymore, thankfully.
  9. Interesting about the use of fiberglass resin for this type of work. What's the finish and durability like compared with epoxy?

    Also, I may be wrong, but I've heard that one source of joint failure when gluing oily fretboards is when cleaning them with acetone. However, I cannot say whether this applies to epoxy coated boards though. Can anyone provide some info?
  10. TonyB


    Feb 6, 2006
    I saw a product called "Wood Hardener" by Minwax.


    This has a clear resin suspended in a crazy glue like liquid.
    It sets very hard. It's made to stop rotting wood from decaying
    any further.
    Has anyone looked at this to finish a fretboard? Any suggestions?
    It just might work and its $8 for a 10 oz can.

    Tony B
  11. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Regarding this fiberglass stuff, how brittle is it? Does it flex at all? Or does it snap as soon as it deforms ever so slightly?
  12. TonyB


    Feb 6, 2006
    Thanks for clearing that up.That's why I came to this forum. So you're saying it is not hard enough for the fretboard? So we should just stay with the 2 part epoxy right?

    Tony B
  13. TonyB


    Feb 6, 2006
    Charles you said that you had friends in wheelchairs because of not using rubber gloves and such with the chemicals. My mom did the same thing 30 years ago stripping and refinishing furniture and now her spine is actually slowly crumbling away.
    Is this the same problem with your friends? Just trying to pin point what could it have been.
    Sorry to hear about your friends.


    Tony __________________