lining a fretless fingerboard...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by taviswardlaw, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. Hey TB's

    I'm wanting to make a lined fretless... with an ebony fingerboard... i was thinking for the lines using a wood like maple, is the best way to use sanding left overs and mix them with an epoxy and then put them in the gaps or what?

    thanks guys :D
  2. The cleanest lines will come with using a thin veneer. Any light colored wood is fine. I used poplar because it was easy to shave to adjust to fit the slots. But maple would be fine. Dust mixed with an adhesive fills the in the irregular edges of the slot too. That's not where you want the light colored stuff. It's best to use the veneer for the lines THEN use an adhesive while radius block sanding the ebony to fill in along the veneer. That way you get a perfect light colored line and the imperfections are filled with the black.
  3. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    As an alternative, and much brighter, but less organic looking, you can use styrene as well. You can buy it in sheets. Sheldon Dingwall uses it on his lined fretless', so maybe he might chime in with some more info on type and where to buy.
  4. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    I just used some cocobolo for lines on a macassar ebony board. I sliced the veneers on my table saw. Worked great and I love the subtly of the contrast.
  5. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Most commercially available veneers you get at a place like Certainly Wood will work as fret lines. Ebay is also a good source of cheap veneer. Try and buy something that matches the kerf of your fret saw and you'll be fine.
  6. Skelf

    Skelf Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2005
    Moffat D&G Scotland
    Builder AC Guitars.
    Try pear wood darker than maple but just as hard.
  7. Most of the ebay veneers and what I've seen generally are 1/32 or 1/42 in thickness. Isn't the kerf on the fret saw something like .025"? The 1/32 would be slightly wider than the kerf but that wouldn't include any additional width from the tang barbs. The 1/42 would be smaller but would fit much easier. I'd say it would almost be a wash.
  8. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass