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System 3 Mirror Coat Epoxy on Fretless neck

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by joeyl, May 14, 2012.

  1. continued from here

    Taping up the neck to protect it



    Since I am going with the dam and pour method, I have to make sure that the neck is straight and level:



    Used some paint swatches to help with leveling

  2. Building the dam



    Cleaned the neck with acetone


    Is there a stain on those Fender necks?

    I am going to do only one pour, the previous neck I worked on had bad witness lines when I sanded it down



    Waited a few minutes, waited for craters to appear and dabbed them again with epoxy

  3. Time to pop the bubbles after 10-15 minutes


    How it looks like after the bubbles pop


    And it self levels again


    That's it for now until it cures

  4. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012
    Thanks for posting this. It's just what I need, and your pics are great. I have two questions, so far:

    Q1 Painter's tape dam:
    Does the dam allow liquid epoxy to contact the sides of the rosewood fingerboard? I mean, will epoxy coat the side of the rosewood all the way to where it joins the maple neck material? Or will the hardened/dried epoxy cover only the top surface and the slight radius where rosewood top and side meet?

    Q2 Painter's tape application:
    Is it necessary to be ultra-careful in pressing on the tape? Specifically, a) did you have to press really hard/carefully to avoid leaks, and b) did you do anything special to make sure the tape adhears to the wood in a perfectly straight line?

    I'm asking these questions because I don't understand how to end up with a decent transition between epoxyed rosewood fingerboard face (and sides?) and the existing polyurethaned maple neck.

    It seems like any sanding on the side of the rosewood board will also scuff the side of the maple neck...:eek:
  5. No, the dam prevents any epoxy to coat the sides of the rosewood and the maple. it will make a slight meniscus where the epoxy meets the tape, and that will be taken down with the radius block.

    I pressed hard and smoothed the tape several times to make sure that no epoxy leaks onto the sides. The transition will not be noticeable once the epoxy is taken down to very thin finish with the radius block

    I hope to achieve the same thing as this

  6. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012
    Joey ==
    Thanks for the quick reply, and for the link. That linked project turned out great - the work of a professional, but I'm confident you (and I) can get the same results. Just takes more time (and fear).

    Can you provide details on how to apply the propane flame for breaking bubbles?
    1. Is the flame size/intensity in your pic what you actually used?
    2. What distance from tip of flame to liquid surface? And it looks like you didn't singe your tape dam this time... :D
    3. Type of movement/sweep necessary. Do you just glide the flame over the liquid quickly? Or move in small circles focused on individual areas? Or point and hold on specific bubbles?

    Your caption reads, "Waited a few minutes, waited for craters to appear and dabbed them again with epoxy."
    Since it's a single pour process, how did you 'dab' it? I assume you used some kind of instrument to apply more liquid epoxy to the newly formed surface crater... What did you use? And how?

  7. I enjoy your numbered questions, it makes it easy to respond to them!

    Yes, that's the flame intensity. I am using a plumber's butane torch, and it is a bit too strong for this application. I had to reduce the flame until it nearly dies.
    Interestingly, I can get the same bubble popping result with a regular grill/barbecue lighter.

    probably about 3-4 inches from the surface. I did burn the tape at the nut but you can't see it in the pictures, I just made the dam high enough so that I can afford to lose some on the top :D

    I moved the flame back and forth quickly in a sweeping motion so that it does not heat up the epoxy too much. Some bubbles will come up right away when you do that, some deeper ones need a little bit more time and I would pause the flame on them for a couple of seconds, and they come up eventually. Remember that the epoxy has a long working time, I think almost an hour so eventually they all work their way up.

    I had some extra epoxy in the mixing jar, I just dipped a stirrer stick in it, and take the stirrer over the spot that needed more epoxy. I just touched the surface with the wet stirrer and let the epoxy flow/drizzle this way. Easy!
  8. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012
    Heck, man. You're letting me pick your brain so I figure the least I can do is to make answering my Qs less taxing. Every syllable you type improves my chances of not screwing up a perfectly good fretless neck. Many thanks.

    I read a discussion a while back that said you can do it with a 1500W hair/blow dryer, but the blowing air runs a risk of causing mini ripple waves, or maybe it was a risk of sloshing the epoxy out of it's "perfect levelness" (I think I coined a new term).

    That flame you used is small, but blue and appears pretty focused. I wonder whether a larger, much looser propane flame would work better... I'm talking about a big, floppy orange flame with not too much focused thrust (if you know what I mean). If a hair dryer can do the trick, I think a floppy orange flame would, easily. And if I keep it moving, the low-intensity would probably avoid torching the tape....maybe.

    Today I learned a new word, "meniscus". Had to look it up. Any day I learn something new and useful is a GOOD DAY, so thanks.

    I'll be watching for your next installments. I guess it'll be a couple of days from now, since you dare not work that epoxy before it's hardened.
  9. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012

    When you remove the tape dam (or 'the damn tape' if it's troublesome), I'd like to see:

    1. closeups of what kind of transition you end up with where the epoxy ends and the original wood surface begins.

    2. the 'meniscus' where the tape dam had been (impressive vocabulary, no? :D).

    3. a shot looking directly down the length of the neck from the heal (bottom edge closest to your pickups), showing how thick the epoxy is before you begin sanding.

    Also, I've read where guys run through a ridiculous amount of sandpaper due to the epoxy dust loading up so quickly (like only two strokes per sheet). There must be a workaround... I wonder if a sanding belt cleaner SUCH AS THIS could be used to clear the sandpaper for multiple reuses.

    Lastly, everything I've read says the dust is really bad for you and can cause systemic sensativity that affects you for the rest of your life.:eek: For me it'll be: respirator, full-coverage clothing, gloves, paint-spray pullover headcover, plastic face shield and big box fan blowing away from me and out the open garage door. Overkill? 5 years later I'll be glad I took the precautions. ;)
  10. yes the propane torch cannot be made less focused in my case. I think an orange flame would be better IMO. My biggest concern with the blow dryer would be throwing dust and in my case dog hair (I have 3 inside dogs) on the surface. At 10-15 minutes after pouring the surface is still liquid but starting to skin, it would probably be fine in terms of ripples because it eventually re-levels in that 1 hour window.

    yep I will wait for it to cure hard, too many times I rush into sanding into a finish to find out that it is soft underneath.

    I wonder if a stiff brush would clean the sandpaper as well...
  11. There is also another product called System 3 Clear Coat, that is supposed to be water thin as compared to the honey consistency of Mirror Coat. I have not heard anybody use it on a fretless board except Wilser Ramirez.

    Another observation: I was also able to pop the smaller bubbles by just exhaling on the surface, not blowing on it but exhale through the mouth, like you would if you were checking your breath....
  12. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012
    Yeah. Dust and hair would be a mess unless it stays completely on the surface where it'll be sanded off.

    There's also ENVIROTEX LITE, the first pour-on epoxy I ever heard of for this process. I called them up and had a great conversation with someone there. She had never heard of applying it to a fretboard, so I sent her a few links. It appears to be the same as MirrorCoat (maybe even better?)

    "Another observation: I was also able to pop the smaller bubbles by just exhaling on the surface, not blowing on it but exhale through the mouth, like you would if you were checking your breath...."

    Yeah, but what did you have for lunch ? (haha)
  13. I read the instructions for the envirotex, looks pretty much like the same thing to me :)

    I had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch :smug:
  14. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012
    Check out the Professional Tips & Troubleshooting Guide, particularly the subheading "Sealing New Surfaces & Preparing Old New Wood Surface" The part about a seal coat makes me a little nervous...

    Don't freak out :eek: but does MirrorCoat suggest a seal/prime coat of any kind?

    I figured it was something with Jalapenos in it. :D
  15. they don't. The only thing they say is that if the material is porous, such as masonry or oak, to roll a first coat with a brush to seal it first, then pour on top of that seal coat. I poured some Mirror Coat on a square block of rosewood, with no prep whatsoever, not even cleaning it, and the coating is not going anywhere. When my wife saw it she thought I had glued a mirror to a piece of wood (I guess the name is appropriate)
  16. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012
    Very good. I can't wait to see your next installments.
  17. JacoNOT


    Mar 7, 2012
    Another possible workaround for extending the useful life of sandpaper:

    I wonder if a cloth-backed sheet intended for wet sanding would work?
    I'm thinking it could be rinsed under running water each time it loads up.

    I emphasize "running water" because I think you do not want to immerse your hands in a bucket of water with those ultra-fine epoxy particles swimming around in it. I don't know if it damages your system strictly by inhaling (respiratory), or perhaps by skin contact (topical)... :confused:

    If you're like me, and I think you are, you're hands are frequently nicked and scraped and busted up from your most recent DIY insanity. :D If epoxy particles do not enter via the skin surface, I'll bet they can get in via wound openings. Murphy's Law never sleeps.
  18. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Beautiful work. If you were closer I'd have you do a neck for me.
  19. that's a good idea, any wet/dry sandpaper can be used this way, at least for a while. It is a good idea to rinse particles anyway because they will scratch the surface unnecessarily.

    Both. you can get breathing problems or skin rashes if you constantly expose yourself to epoxy dust (because epoxy dust contains minute amounts of uncured epoxy/resin which is the problem)

    yep, never fails.
  20. thanks. I would be scared to do it for somebody else though, unless he/she would hold me unaccountable for cock-ups.