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My Fretless Conversion/Body Modification!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by backline112, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. backline112

    backline112 Guest

    Jun 3, 2008
    Hello people!

    I had an Ibanez GSR200, which I defretted with just a screwdriver and a hammer :D :rollno:. I applied System Three Mirror Coat on it, and it friggin sucks. I screwed up. I didn't even fill the holes with putty or veneer before applying epoxy. So the result was an epoxied FB, but, since I didn't fill the holes, it has kind of "crevices?" (not a native english speaker) from the holes.
    Here's some photos so you can understand my lameness:

    So I decided to make this project serious. Please, help me do this project the best way I can, by skimming through and noticing material or procedure errors and stuff.

    Ibanez GSR200 Fretless Project:​

    Objective: To obtain a radiused, highly durable, high gloss, epoxy finish on the fretboard.
    -Epoxy (Mirror Coat)
    -5-10? disposable brushes (to apply epoxy.)
    -Plastic mixing pot/cup/glass (to mix epoxy)
    -X-Cross screwdriver (to get neck off the body)
    -Small X Screwdriver (to unscrew truss rod cover)
    -Allen wrench? (to adjust truss rod)
    -Block of wood (to get Nut off)
    -Small Hammer (nut off)
    -Masking tape/Painter tape + scotch tape (to cover unepoxied areas)
    -Plastic Spoons (to mix/measure epoxy)
    -Latex Gloves (hand protection)
    -Newspaper (to protect working area)
    -Mask (to protect from sanding dust)
    -Goggles (to protect from dust)
    -Lighter :)D to pop bubbles in epoxy)
    -Rag (to clean, to dry, etc)
    -and sandpaper; 120 (to get initial epoxy off)
    -220 + 320 (to smooth out wood)
    -320 (to sand between epoxy coats)
    -400, 600, 800, 1200, 1500, 1800, 2400, 3200, 3600, 4000, 6000, 8000, 12000 grit to finish to high gloss.
    -Plastic pot/glass/bucket (to put water for wet sanding)
    -12 Radiused sanding block.
    -Almost forgot, Methylated Spirits (or Denatured Alcohol?)
    -Almost forgot, Super Glue (to glue nut)

    Am I missing something? Please add anything you think I might be missing.

    -Dust, then vacuum working area.
    -Clean working area with damp rag.
    -Cover with newspaper (lots of it)
    -Take strings off.
    -Take neck off body.
    -Unscrew truss rod cover.
    -Adjust truss rod to TRY to make it straight.
    -Take nut off using wood block and small hammer.
    -Clean oil off of neck with Denatured Alcohol.
    -Sand epoxy to bare wood by hand (yes) with 120 (This is not done on the Epoxy working area)
    -Smooth out with 220 and 320. Make edges of FB smoother and more curvy.
    -Clean with denatured alcohol one more time to clean oil from my hands, let dry.
    -Take masking tape+scotch tape and cover all unwanted areas (headstock, back of FB, etc)
    1.-Measure Epoxy resin + hardener with 2 spoons on the plastic pot/glass.
    2.-Apply on dry FB with disposable brush (which is already level and on top of newspaper.
    3.-Let cure for 5-10 minutes and squeegee excess epoxy.
    4.-Pop bubbles with Lighter.
    5.-Let cure overnight (12 hours or more? Recommend?)
    6.-Sand with 320 grit+Radiused block.
    7.-Repeat from point 1.- until completed 5 (10? Recommend number of layers?) times.
    -Wet sanding: (Here's where I need help)
    -Plastic pot used to contain water.
    -Soak 320 grit and sand (with radiused block?)
    -Soak 400 grit and sand.
    -And on and on until 12000?
    -Smooth all edges of fingerboard.
    -Dry with clean rag. Let dry.
    -Is that it? please help with the wet sanding process!

    -Sand upper part of nut (to make it lower), smooth edges, "carve?" the "tunnels" where the strings go. Smooth more. Glue with a LITTLE super glue to headstock.


    Objective: To have a natural finish with a simple, solid color splatter pattern.
    Since I want to strip the black stuff of my body, I am debating whether or not to get tuning machines off and sand the black stuff on the headstock too, and buff to a sheen also.
    But the body project I might post in another thread.
    Do you guys suggest working on the body WHILE working on the neck? I plan to strip paint off body to bare wood, and make a one color splatter in it. But I don't know how.

    After seeing this:
    (0914 Classic 4-String

    - Ives Platinum / Piano Black Finish

    Retailprice: 4860 Euro)

    I said: I want that. But then I thought of plagiarism... So I DECIDED I want a splatter pattern. As if the bass was on the floor when someone dropped a can of paint and got to the body.

    How would I do that? Is there a need for a special paint?
    Once I got it painted, how do I make it shine? I guess sanding with micro mesh would just damage the paint. Suggestions?

    How would you change this project? What would you improve? Am I lacking in anything? Please point errors and stuff like that out!
    Thanks a lot if you read this! Any suggestion, comment, opinion, criticism, and debate, is extremely welcome and helpful.

  2. Your really need to get some good books on guitar building. The process is too complex to lead you thru here. Maybe your neck can be saved. There are some good videos also on the net. But start with the book., "Build your own Guitar" available at Amazon.com
  3. BillyRay

    BillyRay Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    ^^^Unless I'm missing something, his neck is far from screwed. Epoxy CAN be sanded off a fretboard, it'll just take A LOT of time.

    My only concern would be filling the fret holes. Epoxy has gotten in there and removing it so you can fill them might prove to be impossible. Maybe sand to bare wood and clean the fret slots VERY CAREFULLY with a fine toothed hacksaw*, the fill.

    * I'm very much from the "everything can be made right with an hacksaw" school of thoughts.

    As far as the body goes, good luck stripping it. If it's finished in a dark solid color poly, there will be staining if you decide to strip it by heat or chemicals. Sanding would be your best bet, but IT IS EXTREMLY TIME CONSUMING AND FRUSTRATING. I'm in the process myself and I found bare wood in 3 seconds with 120 grit in some spots while in others, the poly sealer could probably survive an atomic blast.

    I tought about only scuffing up the finish and said to myself "well, why not make it right and just strip it bare ?". Why not ? Because it really isn't worth it ! Leave the splatter effect for a pristine, unfinished body or go at it the rat way and do it over the existing finish. I'd go solid color myself if I were you.
  4. I definitely think your neck can be saved! Definitely use a sanding block when sanding off the epoxy(sanding with a rough grit by hand can lead to dips in the surface which leads to more work in the leveling process). I noticed you didn't mention what you wanted to do with the slots or "holes" from the frets. I know that cleaning them and then filling them would be a huge deal of work( I did this when I refinished a converted 60's fender P-bass finger board but it was wood putty in that one and not epoxy, epoxy would be a real pain) and honestly in the pics it seems the epoxy had filled in the cracks pretty well, I'm thinking that once you sand down the epoxy to the bare wood the epoxy in the cracks might be about level with the board, or somewhere close. so it might be easier to just try and "fill" the slots with some more epoxy and sand it flush if it isn't already.

    Not sure what to tell you about the body idea, sounds like a very tedious and time consuming paint job. sanding through the body paint and probably a clear top coat is gonna be a huge task in its self and then to accomplish the "splatter" effect would be ridiculously hard without experience. to get it to shine you'll need to put some sort of clear coat on it which you would probably want to do anyway to protect the paint job. Honestly depending on what kind of wood is under the black, I would either leave it natural (and put a clear coat on for the shine), or paint it a different solid color.
  5. backline112

    backline112 Guest

    Jun 3, 2008
    Hi Rocky, I am aware of the complexity of this kind of work, but my reasoning is: If I can do it reading a book, how is it not possible with help from different experienced people?

    I have the "Guitar player repair guide" by Dan Erlewine. Also reading "The acoustic guitar guide" by Larry Sandberg to get an idea and get more knowledgeable about woods, procedures, finishes, and the good stuff.

    This book you are recommending, is it written by Martin Oakham, or Bill Foley?

    Now I am debating whether or not to do the body thing... It would be awesome but pretty frustrating I guess.

    Yeah... :( I'm starting to scrape the splatter painting. I'm not concerned about how to do the splatter, but how to actually finish it. And liquid clear coat seems to be the only wa... wait, I just remembered that some Spray-able finishes exist right? Could someone point out some of those Spray finishes? Names? Recommendations? Wow, my splatter body is saved!:)

    Please comment more on this, and anything else you deem useful. Thanks for the replies!
  7. BillyRay

    BillyRay Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    I wouldn't attempt something as complicated as a splatter finish on a refinish for the simple reason that it will simply fail. Too many variables when stripping an old finish (compatibility, getting the surface level, etc.). I'd just scuff up the old finish, prime this until smooth and finish in a solid color.
  8. Just a quick thought. If your gonna go ahead with the body refinish, your going to have to for the most part "gut" the bass(remove the electronics, pickups, bridge, and so on). I would recommend getting this done by your local guitar tech if you've never done this. If you decide to try it on your own be sure to label EVERYTHING as you take it apart, so you can put it back together again.

    just a thought. Good luck

    oh and there are some "spray-able" finishes, but for most of the quality ones you'll need a spray gun and an air compressor. You can get aerosol cans of some stuff locally but most wont dry hard enough for any level of protection. I know you can get Spar Urethane in a spray can and it would dry very hard but I'm not sure if it would adhere to whatever paint you use on the splatter. Stew Mac has this a clear coat, and guitar reranch has a whole bunch of aerosol paints and finishes, might wanna try them
  9. backline112

    backline112 Guest

    Jun 3, 2008
    Yeah 138BASS... I was gonna buy a soldering iron and practice on cables before doing it on the bass. And take pictures of the electronics AND draw schematics, but you guys pretty much convinced me to not touch the body finish.

    So I'll go ahead with the neck restoration and leave the body for someone else or myself in the future.

    And now I understand BillyRay's point: "It's not worth it." Might be cool to have that finish but all the sanding hours and F-ing frustration don't justify the simple finish.

    Thanks all :smug:
  10. VinKreepo


    Nov 13, 2009
    I knwo this thread is old, but dude if you havent done it yet, I did the same thing to mine.... body and all. Want to see some pics to know what it looks like?

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