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Sanding/Wet sanding after super gluing the fretboard

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Alex E, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Alex E

    Alex E

    Mar 2, 2006
    Seeking grit advice and overall sanding expertise here. I just completed a cyanoacrylate finish on my Fretless and am very pleased with the results tonally. It went from a moderate amount of mwahh to super mwahh with a brighter treble tone due to the hardening of the fretboard. Really sounds nifty. Very impressed and overall, it was quite easy to do.

    Aesthetically, the finish is nice and glossy. Very pretty, but not perfectly glossy. There are a few spots where it is shiny, but....tiny pitted, I guess would be the word to describe it.

    I slapped on 15 coats of glue, let it cure, then dry sanded 220, 500 and wet sanded 1000 and 1200.

    I would have wet sanded up to 2000, but couldn't easily find grits above 1200, so I just called it good and compound polished after 1200. My question is: Did I get the less-than-perfect finish due to not going up to 2000 grit? I also wonder if I should have sanded a bit more with the 220 grit before moving higher. Having never done this before, I was afraid to strip too much finish with 220 grit. Actually, I wasn't sure how much time to spend sanding with each grit. Advice please!
  2. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I think you skipped to many grits. Start over with 400 wet, then go 600, 800, 1000, 1500, then 2000 if you can find it. 220 is just to course to use in finish sanding, and it would take days to get all the scratches left by 500 grit out with 1000. I think you're on the right track, you just skipped a few steps.
  3. Stew Mac has a sand paper/micro mess pack that's not too expensive. I would take the advice above.
  4. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    To polish my CA coated boards I finish after 2000 grit with automotive cutting compound and then finally with an automotive swirl remover applied with a rotary foam pad in my hand drill. (Make sure to use a different pad for each compound)



    Neither of these pics do a great job of showing the shine but I've had no trouble polishing CA to the point that it is indistinguishable from the polished nitro finish on the rest of the bass.
  5. Meddle


    Jul 27, 2009
    Watch and not burn through the CA at any point. I've found it way easy to do if your neck has any sort of radius. Drop-filling CA is a nightmare.

    Also, remember that frets can be level but the wood can be slightly inconsistent. Never a problem when fretted but an issue if you defret a neck.
  6. 0000 steal wool
  7. Alex E

    Alex E

    Mar 2, 2006
    Thanks to all for their advice. Love the pictures of that unlined fretboard. It does look very perfectly glossy. Beautiful bass. Interestingly, my results are not that far off.

    I was never sure how long to keep sanding with each grit level, so to risk not overdoing it, I would not sand more than 2 minutes with each grit-level. Totally unscientific, but I was playing it safe.

    What is the smoothness goal to achieve with each graduation level of sanding grit?
  8. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I approach polishing a finished fingerboard the same way I polish a lacquered body. The first grit is the most important and I usually start with 600 grit and a rubber sanding block. The first grit flattens the surface completely. When you wetsand it helps to use warm water. A drop or two of dish.soap will also help keep your sandpaper from loading up and leaving scratches. All of those tiny spots you mentioned need to be leveled out in that grit. Once the finish is flat with no shiny (low) spots I move to the next grit. Make sure you wipe the board dry to look for low spots as water hides them and makes everything look even. I then move through successively higher grits, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000. Since your surface is already flat from the initial pass each higher grit simply removes the scratch pattern of the grit that came before and moderate hand sanding is usually enough.

    Once I reach 2000 grit I move to polishing compounds applied with a foam rotary pad as I described in my first post. Hope this helps out.
  9. Alex E

    Alex E

    Mar 2, 2006
    Ah, Big B, thanks very much! This was the type of specific info I needed. So my mistake was in the first part of the sanding with the rough grit!

    This helps much. I didn't know if the imperfections were being caused by not enough sanding with the heavier grit or the lighter grit. I'm off to get the finish perfect now!! :bassist: Thanks very much.

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