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lightweight fingerboard

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Dr Rod, May 19, 2011.


  1. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    does anyone know a type of wood that would combine lightweight with hardness for a fingerboard?

    looks are not a concern, I can always stain if needed.

    thanks


    Rod
     
  2. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    There isn't such a critter. But the good thing is that the fingerboard can be relatively thin, adding less weight than it would otherwise.

    Your best bet to lose weight in the neck is to use lightweight tuners, like Hipshot's Ultralights. They weigh @ 2 oz each, compared to traditional full-sized Fender "elephant Ears," which weigh @ 4 oz each; a savings of about 1/2 pound overall on a typical instrument.
     
  3. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Wrong forum POPESTER! ;)
     
  4. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    This is what I feared. But is there something that is "hard enough" and considerably lightweight?
     
  5. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Not long after I came to TalkBass, I was surprised to learn there's a (very) minor tradition of using sandalwood for fingerboards. Too lazy to look up the weight differences, but you'd have the best-smelling bass for miles around.
     
  6. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    it has been known to sink in water, but thanks anyway


    how about maple?
     
  7. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Absolutely. Many Kays came with maple boards, and walnut too. Much lighter but not as durable - they sound good though. You could make a maple board, dress it and then impregnate the board with a thin coat of 24 hour epoxy to create some surface hardness.
     
  8. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    that is a great idea, I hadn't thought of it

    does any particular brand of epoxy come to mind?

    the type you mix is usually pretty thick, is there something thinner with more penetration?

    another question, I assume you would stain before the epoxy, right?

    I haven't done a lot of work with epoxies.....

    thanks Jake
     
  9. jburnstein

    jburnstein

    Jan 3, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Jim Ham in Victoria BC is working on just this thing, I would contact him. I don't know the details but I believe it is a special ultra-hard plastic that feels just like good ebony with a carbon fiber insert.
     
  10. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    West System. Boat builders, etc., use it for exactly that type of coating purpose.
     
  11. punkozuna

    punkozuna

    Mar 19, 2011
    Irrigon, Oregon
  12. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    Why do you want lightweight particularly? Remember a fb does a stiffening job as well. So if you use something lightweight make sure there is a cf reinforcement in the neck as well.
     
  13. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    knowing Jim he will come up with something dynamite !


    thanks everyone, keep the ideas coming !
     
  14. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    lightweight because I freelance a lot, I am trying to lighten up my instrument as much as possible to spare my back

    cf reinforcement hey? do you make the channel with a router? I guess you could use the table saw if the neck is not installed
     
  15. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    router is safer.
     
  16. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Sorry, when I was browsing the recent threads that day it popped up, and my bifocals skipped a line and didn't see it was on the DB side instead of the EB side.
     
  17. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    no big deal, actually
     
  18. bigolbassguy

    bigolbassguy

    Feb 13, 2010
    Billings, MT
    You can make a finish by thinning 24 hour epoxy with denatured alcohol. However, if it chips it is very difficult to repair. I've heard that it can also be thinned with white vinegar, but I've never tried it.
     
  19. bigolbassguy

    bigolbassguy

    Feb 13, 2010
    Billings, MT
    I just replaced on of those walnut boards. It was like a ski jump. FYI, I used one of the factory Jatoba boards from Engelhardt. I've heard horror stories about them, but the one I received was actually a pretty nice piece of wood.

    EM1Restoration020.

    EM1Restoration022.

    It's lighter than ebony. Reinforced with CF rod. I finished it with boiled linseed oil.
     
  20. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    looks nice
     

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