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leveling fretboard on a fretless?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Juniorkimbrough, Jun 27, 2005.


  1. Juniorkimbrough

    Juniorkimbrough

    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    I have a fretless with a few uneven spots on the fretboard. Is there anyway to go about leveling the fretboard out?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Baird

    Baird

    Jun 27, 2005
    If you fretboard is radiused (not flat, and you don't want it to be flat) you will need a radiusing block and some sandpaper. If it is flat then you can use a flat chunk of wood of decent length and obviously as wide as your fretboard.
    Thats how I do it anyway. :ninja:
    Baird
     
  3. Juniorkimbrough

    Juniorkimbrough

    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    bump

    fwiw, this a lined fretless SX. There are a total of about 4 uneven spots and most of them are right where the fretboard has it's lines.

    what grade sandpaper would you recommend?
     
  4. Juniorkimbrough

    Juniorkimbrough

    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    anyone?

    the fretboard is maple and has what I guess is a polyurethane coating over it........am I going to scratch it all up and make it look like crap if I sandpaper it??
     
  5. Junior, this is a case where the fix may be more trouble than it's worth. The low spots aren't the result of the finish - they come from the the fillers in the fretslots shrinking or something like that. This will require removal of ALL of the poly to get to the wood for resurfacing. Then you'll have to recoat the newly leveled fingerboard. If you only level the poly, you might wind up with what are called "witness lines" where you can see the edges of the old poly under the new layers. This is because poly doesn't burn in with the old layers like lacquer does. That means that the solvents in the new coats don't melt and blend with the old layers. So it's going to be a judgment call as to whether you want to put the time into it. I would estimate that the sanding and recoating would take about 3 hours total but that time would be spread over several days as the poly will require several (many) coats to be the equivalent of the original.
     
  6. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    I've got an older All Parts lined fretless neck with a poly finish...well, it has one anyway. Same problem: right at one of the lines there's an uneven spot and I has a hell of a time leveling it. Solution? I made a new fretless and inlayed the lines myself. Nice and tight wood veneer, lots of CA glue, and I'm willing to bet I won't have any problems, and if I do they'll be easier to solve.

    If you are set on fixing it, go with the radiusing block and a roll of sticky sandpaper. Check www.stewmac.com. I used 220, though I believe they have 300 or 320 as well. Ham is probably right though, as he has more experience with the poly finishing.
     
  7. Juniorkimbrough

    Juniorkimbrough

    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    Thanks guys!