how do you take off a fingerboard

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by warwickben, Nov 23, 2001.

  1. i want to know how to take off a finger board so i can put a new one on.what the best out of these to have on fretless .not finsh

    Birdseye Maple
    Indian Rosewood
    Brazilian Rosewood
    Pau Ferro
  2. mac315


    Nov 11, 2001
    Ellijay, Georgia
    If you have never done this you may be in for alot of work not to mention doing some damage to your neck. If you insist on doing it yourself I would recommend that you go and get an old POS neck and try it first. If you do not have the luthier tools required you do it with some household items. To start, the fretboard is glued on the neck. You will need:

    1. Household Iron with a steam setting.
    2. 3" putty knife or scraper that is sharp.
    3. Razor Blade, new and sharp
    4. A couple of t-shirts, not yours :)
    5. Small hammer
    6. Patience
    7. Patience
    8. Did I mention patience?

    Note #1, never start at the nut end... if you damage the neck it will be most noticable at this end.

    At the other end (away from the nut) start where the fretboard meets the neck. Set the iron on the "wool" setting, let it warm up. Slide the t-shirt on the neck (as if the neck where wearing it. Be sure to support your neck with some towels. Set the steam setting of the iron in the middle. Put the iron on the neck and let it stay there until the steam stops or about 5 minutes. Then remove the iron and work the razor blade into the seam between the fretboard and the neck. BE CAREFUL not to gouge the neck. You are trying to get at the glue. Only try to get the razor blade in about 1MM or so. Once it is in there, insert the putty knife between the fretboard and the razorblade. Work it in as far as you can, tap on it with the hammer (gently) and be sure to continue to give it some steam heat. NEVER attempt to lift up on the scrapper, let it work for you by just going into the seam. When you feel some resistance stop, set the iron on the fretboard about 8 frets or so from the end and start over (5 minutes, then push or tap the scrapper in more). This process will likely take you about 2 hours (remember when I said you needed patience?) When you get the the last 5 frets (frets 5 -1) be extra careful. You do not want to damage the wood under the nut. Just remember, go VERY SLOW, Take your time, and use LOTS of steam and heat.

    When you are done you may see bits of the fretboard still glued to the neck. This is normal and they just need to be scraped off. If you sand it down, use only 400 grit sand paper and be careful not to alter the neck (as in add a radius to it while sanding or round the edges or when you put the finger board back on it will have gaps on the sides) Remember, glued wood is stronger than the wood itself.

    Putting a finger board back on requires skill and right glue and materials. You will need lots of clamps etc.

    As for choices of fingerboard, those are yours. The darker woods are more forgiving if you make a mistake. You will also need to radius the fingerboard.

    Hope this helps.

    Joe Weiss
    Weiss Custom Basses
  3. Hey Joe!! (Damn if that doesn't sound like a song)
    Welcome to TalkBass!

    Good to have you on the board here. Since you're the pro at this sort of stuff, feel free to chime in whenever you see us duffers start to veer into the weeds. We really appreciate the guidance from craftsmen such as yerself. Gosh we've had Roger Sadowsky and now Joe Weiss all in the same week.

    Biski would describe this as "speshul"
  4. mac315


    Nov 11, 2001
    Ellijay, Georgia
    At least you didn't ask me where I was going with that gun in my hand. :eek:

    Glad to be here, hope to be able to help out now and then as time permits.

    Joe Weiss
    Weiss Custom Basses