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How many coats of poly resin for fretless board?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by DigMe, Jan 11, 2003.


  1. DigMe

    DigMe

    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    hey! Yesterday I successfully defretted an old bass of mine because I won't have money to buy a real fretless for a while. It went well and tomorrow I'll finish filling in the fret slots with Famowood Wood Filler and sanding.

    I've decided to coat the fingerboard with polyester resin for more of a pedulla feel and I was just wondering how many coats of the poly resin should I use? Also, I have some of the "Resin Liquid Hardener" as well. You are supposed to add drops to the resin to "activate" it. Is this normal? What happens if you don't add the hardener? (just out of curiousity)

    thanks!
    brad cook
     
  2. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Not sure about how many coats you need, but you MUST use the hardener or you'll end up with a messy goo that will never harden.
     
  3. DigMe

    DigMe

    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Ok, I wasn't planning on not using the hardener. I was just curious though. :) Thanks!

    brad cook
     
  4. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Some polyester coatings require more than just hardener to activate. Always do a test piece before you put anything on your bass.

    Almost nothing will self level very well, so you'll need to get enough on there to level the board without sanding back down to bare wood. It's also best to try and do it all in one coat, or else you can usually see contour lines where one coat starts and the next one finishes if you sand through.
     
  5. DigMe

    DigMe

    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Thanks for the advice! I bought a cheap dollar piece of board at the hobby shop (I live in an apt...no scrap wood laying around) just for the purpose of testing this stuff out. The only polyester resin that I could find is Castin' Craft brand Clear Liquid Plastic Casting Resin. The label says that it contains polyester resin and styrene. It only calls for the hardener to activate it.

    So you think one good, thick coat will be enough?

    brad cook
     
  6. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    It depends on how the stuff runs when you put it on. Use a piece of masking tape to dam up the sides of the board (so it doesn't drool over the edge) and put some on there. It may run down the radius, leaving less on the top than on the sides. If it does that, you may want to do more than one coat.

    Obviously, I've never used the stuff, but that's what I'd do if I were planning on using it.
     
  7. DigMe

    DigMe

    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Hmm...having second thoughts about a poly resin coating. I did the test piece today and the resin mixture is much thicker and more gelatinous than I thought it would be. Not the easiest stuff to work with. I'll have to see how the test piece turns out. My fallback is tung oil.

    brad cook
     
  8. 5stringDNA

    5stringDNA

    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    I did a self defrett for the same reason as you (money issues) and I used satin Polyurethane coating like what's used on hardwood floors(my dad owns a construction company..that's what he recommened). I used 3 or 4 coats let it dry a few days then used 250 grit finishing paper. That was over a month ago and so far I am very happy with the look and playability..just some experience I thought might be helpful..
     
  9. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    matt, what finish do you put on your fretless fingergoards ? and do you equip your fretless basses with rounds or flats ?
     
  10. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Most of the time I just oil the board. I use groundwounds myself, or SIT Silencers, but most people ask for roundwounds.

    I try to steer people towards the more durable fingerboard woods for fretless: ebony or purpleheart or other rock-hard woods. I have done two epoxy boards with System Three. I was not terribly happy with the results. If I were to do it again, I would try Industrial Formulators' G2.

    The big problems I ran into were mainly getting bubbles in the epoxy and getting a nice, slick finish after leveling. The System Three stuff also seemed to be hard to get a good, hard mixture to set up. You really have to mix the hell out of the two part products to be safe.
     
  11. HannibalSpector

    HannibalSpector

    Mar 27, 2002
    Australia
    The bubbles may be a result from the chemical reaction of the two parts, Alot of epoxies don't finish well because of this, and the harder you mix , the hotter the reaction . You may have more luck with a really slow curing resin or one which is made for finishing which can be applied by spraying.
    Also do you use a grain filler before you apply the epoxy? Filling grain will reduce/stop air from seaping from the timber.
     
  12. natebass

    natebass

    Sep 6, 2001
    Bremerton, WA
    i had to butt in, but only because I work with epoxies pretty much everyday.

    System Three resin is good, but my experience has been mainly with fiberglass (I work in a boat shop for the DoD).

    Epoxy is strong as hell, but the System 3 that I've used has a mix time of 2 minutes - also you have to be a lot more accurate with measuring an epoxy resin versus a polyester resin. If you mix epoxy with slightly less or slightly more hardener it will not cure correctly, if at all. Polyester resin will cure as long as you put in hardener, but you can vary your working time dramatically by how much you use.

    when you mixed your test batch, it sounded like it went off and then applied it - you won't be able to do that with epoxy resin.

    if you want to, try this: Mix a small batch of epoxy apply it with a brush after mixing the epoxy mix for 2 minutes (make sure you measure it right - I use pre measured cups when I work with resin) then build it keep brushing over it with that until it is gone. Even though the working time with the resin I use is 20 minutes, I can actually apply the first batch and second batch and be partway into a third when that first batch will start "going off".

    Also keep in mind that the resin 'should' sink into the fingerboard pretty well, dependent on what type of resin you use, so even though it doesn't look like it, the wood will be a lot tougher than it was before - if you want PM me, and I can give you more tips before you start (that is, if you still want to do this)
     
  13. DigMe

    DigMe

    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Thanks for the tips! However I went ahead and decided to go with tung oil based on some suggestions. Just seemed like less hassle overall and I couldn't find any other polyester resin other than the casting resin I bought at Hobby Lobby. I think that was part of my problem. Rick Turner recommends getting a surface formulation rather than a casting resin.

    BTW: The tung oil finish is really looking sweet so far. The first coat didn't look very good and I was really kind of dissappointed, however after I buffed that coat I applied the second coat and it was like night and day. Looks fabulous. I'm going to put a third coat on and I think should be enough.

    brad cook