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Removing a fingerboard

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by uprightbassghos, Feb 11, 2006.


  1. I need to take the fingerboard off my EUB project. I used hide glue to attach it. I tried the method in Traeger's book using a knife and I tried a heated blade. Nothing seems to work. The neck is starting to split at a 20 degree angle instead of the fingerboard comming off. I've got about 2 inches off on the nut side and about 4 off on the bridge side. The neck is trying to split on both sides. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    That's a tough one. Sometimes the only thing to do is cut off the board. It is much more expendable than the neck.
     
  3. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    what is the board made of? you could try using hot water or steam along with a thin knife to soften the hide glue... or a clothes iron set on high with a cloth rag and cold water...
     
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Was this Hide Glue cooked fresh you used or Franklins Liquid Hide Glue? Was the neck and FB scored before gluing?

    The kind of glue you used and the method may also make it harder to remove.

    Like Nick mentions, the Iron is a good way to go. Don't force it. The neck, as Jeff is hinting is a major job to fix as compared to the FB.
     
  5. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Why do you mention this?
     
  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Scoring the neck and FB surface makes a stronger bond and is harder to remove. Just a question to see if he need more heat to undo the stronger bond if he has made one.
     
  7. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    That's what I thought...

    Scoring a glue joint does not make a stronger bond.
     
  8. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Ok, so I am wrong. That's what I learned 30 years ago and why I score when needed! Mis-information was it?
     
  9. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Many people believe that scoring makes "tendrils" in the joint and gives it more integrity. Simply not true. Scoring the board would actually aid in getting it off later. Some boards have a channel cut down the underside (glue joint side) to aid in removal.
     
  10. I have heard some say to glue along the edges and let the clamping spread the glue towards the center of the board.

    Personally, I prefer to use several hot knifes (heating them in a pot of boiling water and rotating which one is used) and a syringe of said water. Once the knife is in, it wedges the board and the neck apart. At the leading end of this gap is where to place your syringe (being careful not leave pools of water around to mess with your wood). As always, patience is the key ingredient
     
  11. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    Now see, I always thought that was done to allow the glue room to pool so as not have the pressure of glue build up and force the joint open. some factory POS instruments are so hollowed out under the board it's a wonder they stay put as long as they do.

    This practice is junk work IMO though...no one does this to center seams and they do just fine. :)
     
  12. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    nail on the head
     
  13. Thanks for all the replies. The hot knives did not seem to cooperate. I did not want to steam it since the neck itself is 3 pieces of maple glued the same way. I ended up cutting it off by sawing 1 inch segments which pried off pretty easily. The new fingerboard is on and I'm re-shaping the neck now. (Other prototype http://www.csp-music.com/eub/)
     
  14. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    True with the electro-chemical bond of hide glue but untrue with other glues. Many glues like epoxy and cyannos use mechanical bonds and the "tendril or fingers" concept does work. I believe that many luthiers who put the center channel did it to allow the excess glue a place to flow in or to. Not needed as you guys know. It may have arisen do to people not working quickly enuf and having the glue gell.
     
  15. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    That proto looks cool, did you make it?
     
  16. >> That proto looks cool, did you make it? <<

    Yes. I did not like any of the EUB's out there. Either too expenive or stick shaped or both. I don't want to play a giant slab of wood.
     
  17. Sorry to hi-jack this thread, but it is a related query.

    Has anyone ever had to resort to routing a fingerboard off the neck?-as in the type of machine, a router-

    I've just been told by my luthier that he is almost certain my fingerboard has been glued on with white glue.

    The board isn't due for replacement for a while yet (maybe a year or so) but when it is i don't know if i can stump for the added cost in luthier hours of having him cut as much of the board off parallel to the glue seam, then planing whats left off back to the neck.


    This seems like the most sensible approach but are there alternatives?

    any thoughts would be gratefully recieved.

    thanks
    thomas
     
  18. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    A power hand planer is my preferred method for removing fingerboards that you don't want to salvage. It's quick, accurate, and easy to control. Much better than trying to remove the board and crack the neck.

    A router has a smaller cutting area, requiring more time, and you would probably have to make some kind of jig... more time as well.
     
  19. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2004
    Toronto
    What about using the power hand planer for a board that you only partly, sort-of want to salvage??

    My situation is this: I have an old Kay that I'm working on rehabilitating... Someone previously tried to take off the maple fingerboard and started some cracks near the nut (similar to what the original author of this post described).

    I'd like to glue that entire area back together, then plane the entire old fingerboard into a long, tapered shim (in order to raise the overstand and height of the bridge). Would a power hand planer be advisable, at least for the beginning stages of turning the old fingerboard into a shim???

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

    Paul O'Connell
    Toronto

     
  20. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    It would get you closer, but you would want to leave plenty of room to use a sharp block plane, etc. to finish up.

    By the way, Bosch is the way to go.