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Super Glue Fingerboard Coating?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Wade10987, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. Wade10987


    Sep 27, 2011
    Tallahassee, FL
    I have a Squier P bass fretless project I have been working on for a while. I planned to do a black colored epoxy on the neck. Now I came across some reallllyyy strong Super Glue. It is liquidy and clear, the brand is Surehold 5 Star. The only ingredient listed is Cyanoacrylate Esters. If I used a foam brush and laid it on in thin layers would that be effective as a fingerboard coating? I am using roundwound strings. Anybody else used Superglue as a coating?
  2. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV
    Real superglue is brittle and will break over time. No idea what the stuff you have is though.
  3. I also think it will turn a hazy white color as well. Go to a hobby shop and get some two part epoxy.
  4. Wade10987


    Sep 27, 2011
    Tallahassee, FL
    Ahhh, brittleness makes sense. I will most likely stick with an Epoxy coating then. Thanks!
  5. Wade10987


    Sep 27, 2011
    Tallahassee, FL
    So there IS some precedence then? I think I will get 2 part Epoxy anyway, but there might be some potential for this glue. The thinness of it makes me think it would coat nicely.
  6. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    CA glue works very well as a finish. From my experience it doesn't darken the wood like other finishes do, so your board will look like it does with no finish. It also polishes nicely. Just make sure you have plenty ventilation, and wear breathing protection. The vapors are pretty bad.

    The fingerboard on the bass in this tread was done with CA glue


  7. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    You can't use a foam brush, the superglue will kick off almost instantly. You can "pad" it on, in very thin layers; I've done this with my hand inside a plastic bag.
  8. gbarcus

    gbarcus Commercial User

    Jul 20, 2008
    Minneapolis & St.Paul, MN
    Owner of Barcus Basses barcusbasses.com
    I use rubber gloves to spread the ca glue along with either a disposable scrapper or a razor blade. ca is very hard to get even. I've used thick ca glue and had pretty good results, but seem to always get some small bubbles if I go too thick of a coat.
  9. Wade10987


    Sep 27, 2011
    Tallahassee, FL
    JLS: It will "kick off"?
  10. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Acetone dissolves super glue. If the finish isn't totally smooth, it can be sanded, then wiped with acetone to smooth it out.

    Don't use this with foam- it will set up a chemical reaction that will break down the foam and contaminate the finish. That's what was meant by 'kick off'.

    This stuff shouldn't be done indoors and it's best to use a respirator with activated charcoal filters and goggles, not glasses. The fumes burn really bad when they get in eyes.
  11. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Kick means to begin curing. CA (cyanoacrylate) starts curing as soon as it hits moisture in the air. Foam will always have moisture trapped in it and.the CA will kick. The foam will shred as it begins sticking to the wood. Google CA guitar neck; I found a tutorial on it somewhere a year ago.

    When CA wicks into wood and then is built up in thin layers, it is lighyears away from brittle. In fact it is an acrylic once the carrier offgasses: very hard and durable. When it becomes one with wood its nearly indestructible filling the dry pores and wood cells with acrylic. In fact it is then a composite material by definition. I have been using CA for years in rc modelling; it turns balsa into a nearly indestructible composite. Yet you can polish it to a glass like finish.
  12. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    A friend who makes wood pens uses thin CA to put a final finish on his pen barrels. He says the trick is to spin them up in the lathe and wipe the CA on with a rag, then polish it the same way with an ultra fine buffing compound.

    He gets it hot enough (through friction) when applying the CA that it will burn him without gloves, which he claims is the only way to get a good, hard gloss from the CA.

    As a long time machinist, it bothers me to no end to see a gloved hand and loose rag so close to a turning headstock (or anything chucked up in one), but it's his hands and his business. I mentioned it one day and he poo pooed my concern and said he's never had any problem doing it. I knocked wood for him anyway.

    Personal concerns aside, if you were not expecting a high gloss I don't see why wiping CA on wouldn't give you a hard finish. I could see it being tricky to get a level finish, but if you were willing to work it enough that should be doable as well.

    Oh and do it in a well ventilated area or use a filter mask, there is cyanide in that stinking byproduct of CA curing. I've used it on balsa and it's annoying enough in small doses I would never try anything with a (relatively) large quantity of uncured CA out of the bottle without some intake protection.
  13. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Before beginning a project like this one, I would invest in a radius sanding block the same as your neck. That way you could build up the finish slowly and sand it back down to the same radius as the neck. Sand it up to about 400 grit with the block, then 600 through 2000 grit with a foam sanding block. Then begin polishing.
  14. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Gabriel51 likes this.
  15. 49sfine


    Apr 20, 2008
    Austin, Texas
    A few of us over in the Wishbass threads have used SG very successfully to coat fretless boards. You could visit Dave'sBassPlace for a run down or just do a search on SG fingerboards. A fellow named Joey (if I remember correctly) did a tutorial on it as well. The boards shown apparently are VERY shiney, very hard and not that difficult to do. Personally, I have not done it yet, but will at some point. Flatwounds are still recommended though, I do believe for almost any fretless board, due to the possibility of scarring. The type of SG you use is critical though, as is proper ventilation - this stuff is deadly! Good luck ...
  16. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Deadly is a bit over the top. Irritant and avoid prolonged exposure is more appropriate; how many CA deaths have you heard of? I use it all the time and just ventilate my area.
  17. Wade10987


    Sep 27, 2011
    Tallahassee, FL
    OK, first of all I really appreciate ya'll's input. The reason I asked about this CA finish is because I happened to have it on hand. Epoxy is less than 5 dollars, so I gotta ask...what are the pros and cons of each? Which is one is easier, faster, more durable, etc.
  18. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    I figure the harder the surface the easier to get it smooth. CA will be harder. Did you check that video above? It looks very easy and not very messy.
  19. stucliff

    stucliff Commercial User

    Sep 7, 2008
    Madrid, Spain
    Owner & Luthier @ Diego Vila Custom Guitars & Basses
    I may be wrong, but I've heard that CA Glue was discovered by a chemist that had a finish as his primary goal, so using it as a finish won't be such a crazy idea.

    Nevertheless, Mr. Dan Erlewine show us how to do it in this link, with sweet results STEWMAC.COM : Issue 139, Dan Erlewine's Facebook fretless bass
    It's fast and reliable.

    Hope it helps.

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