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loose fingerboard

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Wademeister63, Dec 4, 2004.


  1. Wademeister63

    Wademeister63

    Aug 30, 2004
    Denton Tx
    Ok maybe the lignum vitae was a bad choice for a fingerboard. It's really nice and hard with tight closed grain so should be great for a fretless bass. But NNNNNOoooooo!!! It's also very waxy/oily and the epoxy apparantly didn't stick too well since the nut end of my fingerboard lifted from the neck. It was a mixed blessing I guess, since I was able to use a putty knife and remove the board cleanly. I also had a bit of rattle in the truss rod that I can take care of now. But still, what a pain in the rear!! At least it didn't wait until after it was finished to do that.

    What fingerboard material has worked well for you fretless bass builders? I'd like the thing to last a long time, which is why I went for the lignum vitae. That stuff would be ok even with roundwounds. It will last forever sitting in a drawer I suppose... Now what to do?? Maybe dymondwood? What will help bring out the mwah?

    What's a good way to fix that rattling truss rod now that I can get it out again? I had installed setscrews through the back of the neck and covered them with wood plugs, but I'll fix it right since I have the chance to do it now.

    :(
     
  2. The engineered woods are the hardest you'll find. Lots of good reports about them as fingerboards. The only thing is that I've never heard of is how or when they radius the board - before of after the polymerizing?

    "mwah" is pretty gained from your setup. A perfectly flat fingerboard and a nice low action will get you what you want. To accent the tone, some pups are better than others. But it's the setup that puts you in the ballpark.

    I'm about to use a piece of quartersawn white peroba for a fingerboard. This stuff is very hard but not the oily, waxy like you've described. I firmly believe this is much harder than ebony but I can't prove it. It certainly doesn't have any open grain holes and can't dent with anything but a metal tool. Oh, and it looks fabulous.
     
  3. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    If it's still thick enough, you can use that lignum vitæ to make string nuts. Escpecially nice on a fretless. You could also make bridge saddles, or bridge plates out of it.
     
  4. So the whole wipe acetone on the mating surfaces to quell the oil issue won't work here?
     
  5. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    No direct experience with it, but lignum vitae is supposed to be waxy as well as oily. Does acetone dissolve wax? If so, maybe a leaving the surface in contact with a soaked cloth for hours might do it, if enough penetration could be gotten.

    L.v. is used for shaft bearings because of its high lubricity.
     
  6. ah. I didn't know it was inherently waxxy. Isn't bubinga that same way?

    Eh. Good luck either way with your issues.
     
  7. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Lignum vitae is like a crayon that has a specific gravity of 1.25.

    Anyway, what's wrong with ebony for this application? Ipe is pretty dense, but only ~ 5% more dense on average.

    The data I have on white preoba (peratacoma) is that it is not much more dense on average than rock maple. Maybe you have an unusual board or something other than peratacoma? I don't have crushing strenght numbers on the stuff in front of me. Let us know how your stuff works.
     
  8. Wademeister63

    Wademeister63

    Aug 30, 2004
    Denton Tx
    Thanks for the input guys. I may yet scrap that board but I had some good suggestion on the projectguitar.com forums. I was suggested a particular cleaner that I'm going to try out. Also the most sensible thing mentioned was to experiment with some scraps. Why didn't I think of that?? I also have some aircraft structural adhesive coming from one of the guys I do work for in the machine shop. Some time next week I'll know enough to decide whether the l.v. is useable or not. I still plan on using a piece of it for the nut. I had pretty much decided I was doing that when I bought the wood.

    If that doesn't work out, I'll do the ebony. How does pale moon ebony compare mechanically to gaboon, or whatever the variety commonly used? I love the look of pale moon even more than the lignum.
     
  9. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Pale mun is pretty hard to find. I've only ever seen it once large enough for a fingerboard. It seems hard but it's difficult to get scientific about it since you don't see this particular species in any of the books out there. It will get dirty.

    One thing to think about if you try to salvage the LV is that you may want or need to take the fingebroard of at some point in the future. If you get it on there too well that option might disappear.
     
  10. Well, you've got about 10x the info on peroba than I've found up to now.

    The board was bought from ebay. So, I certainly have the possiblility that the seller was uninformed about the wood. The descriptions I've read seem to match what I see here so that's my only backup that it truly is white peroba. I haven't seen a polished sample anywhere to compare.

    I can say though, that the quartersawn samples I lopped off of the mother board are hard to the point of not being able dent them with a thumbnail which is surely the most scientific test available. :rolleyes:
     
  11. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Scientific enough for me. Give it a shot and if it turns out it wears too quickly put some spar varnish on it.