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Tips and tricks for epoxying fingerboards?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tjclem, Nov 28, 2006.


  1. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I have done several of them and just lately have been having trouble with epoxy bleeding through the masking tape "dam" I build to contain it. How do you do it, what tips and tricks have you learned?
     
  2. ahhh, I have one. Here's what I do:
    1. epoxy the fingerboard before applying the finish to the bass
    2. make sure to thicken the epoxy with silica powder. It makes the mess more controlable and makes it a WHOLE lot easier to sand.
    3. sand with 400 then 600 grit on the edges of the fingerboard.
    4. mask the fingerboard and spray away.
    5. then after the finish has cured before buffing, sand the epoxy/finish to blend in with 800 grit, then steel wool.
    6. after this buff out the entire thing.

    hope this helps Tom.
     
  3. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    The silica powder is clear? Do you make a "dam" around the fingerboard? What epoxy do you use? I have been using the system 3.
     
  4. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I'm not a big fan of the "dam" approach. Unless you have a flat fingerboard you will get build up on the edges that you subsequently have to get rid of. I just tape the sides up to the edge of the board and if there's too much epoxy it can flow over the edge.

    I find epoxying fingerboards to be a sucky thing to do and I hope I never have to do it again.
     
  5. it turns white when mixed, but it goes clear when applied. that Dan Hui bass was done that way. I use system three clear coat with their brand of silica powder. I don't make a "dam", I just tape off the edges less than 1/16" from the edge to use that bit as blend in to the finish.
     
  6. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I think I will go that route next. Do you thicken it too? I agree with your last sentance!! I unfortunatly have 2 custom orders that I have already agreed to that want it. I will tell the next people no. :scowl:
     
  7. you WIMPS! :bag:

    seriously though, even if it's more difficult, I find the benefits plenty in the sound obtained. But hey, that's just me! this craft is subjective enough!
     
  8. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    How many coats do you use? What grit do you sand the board down to before you put the epoxy on it? I have been using wipe on poly on the maple fingerboards before doing the epoxy.....t
     
  9. I sand to 320 then I use a thinned coat of epoxy as a sealer coat (about 50/50 epoxy and denatured alcohol) on the whole instrument (except when fretted, I mask off the fretboard then) after I have raised the grain and sanded a couple of times. Then I scuff sand to 400 or 600 just to remove any dust that might have settled in.

    I used wipe on poly as a sealer on that ceruse ash/bubinga top bass I did, but I found that the poly darkened the wood more than I would have liked. The epoxy adds just a bit of warmth without darkening things too much.

    oh, I use 4-5 coats
     
  10. Linas

    Linas

    Jan 6, 2005
    Chicago
    Ive only done it once, but i brushed system 3 on with foam brushes without silica jell. I probably did 10 coats, i only did so many because i had some problems with fisheye-ing, and had to fill in those spots. Does anyone know how to stop the epoxy from forming fish eyes? you might have seen the tutorial i made, but if not... http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=231434&highlight=Epoxy+Tutorial
     
  11. pixelpounder

    pixelpounder

    Aug 26, 2006
    Chitown area
    Yea I tried Epoxy on my Rosewood fingerboard after de-fretting my bass, but had trouble getting good adhesion and surface hardness. I took it all off last week and re did the fretboard using Superglue.

    I followed the instructions in the article in Bass Player magazine.
    http://www.bassplayer.com/story.asp?storyCode=14543

    It worked very well. It's much easier than epoxy and seems to be harder.
    You can do a fretboard in a day if you don't sand through the finish and have to give it another coat, like me :eek:
     
  12. emils

    emils

    Jul 28, 2005
    Croatia
    If by fish eyes you mean bubbles all you do is take a butane torch and WITHOUT LIGHTING IT blow the bubbles out.
     
  13. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Dingwall uses a dam when they epoxy treat their fretless boards, but they re-radius the board on their radiusing jig afterward.
     
  14. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass

    I would like to see what they use for a dam. I have had the dam burst a few times and it is a mess! :rollno:
     
  15. Linas

    Linas

    Jan 6, 2005
    Chicago
    No not bubbles, i tried the torch trick and it works like a charm on those. But a fish eye is a spot where the epoxy doesnt flow for whatever reason. after brushing on i will get a couple small circles where the epoxy did not flow and sometimes they grow bigger.
     
  16. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass

    What kind of wood were you coating? Or possibly there was something on it that the epoxy didn't want to bond to?
     
  17. that's why it is very difficult epoxy a fingerboard in one go. When you get these, you have to sand back, and re-coat multiple times until you can get it thick enough to sand back and get a smooth surface.
     
  18. billio

    billio Bass Head

    I don't want to hijack the thread, but I've just tried the superglue method and wasn't real happy with the result.

    I have the fingerboard off my guitar and wanted to do the edges of the board before putting it back on the neck, where I was then going to superglue the rest of it.

    I did one of the edges first off with the #20 superglue (from Stewmac) that Dan Erlewine (from that article) says but it was way to clumpy. After it dried, I put on a couple of coats of #10. I finally started to sand it all back (after following the article) and it was coming up nicely. I had put some tape along the back edge of the board and when I went to pull that off, where the glue had stuck to it, it pulled the superglue straight off the fingerboard edge where I had been sanding!!! I tried "repairing" just the damaged area but when I started sanding it back again, there's a ghost outline where the glue first pulled off.

    I've now removed all the superglue and the strange thing was, with a sharp knife, it all basically lifted straight off. So is it really worth all the effort to do it again? How hard wearing is it? I don't want to go through it all again but for BOTH edges AND the fingerboard, only to find the strings eating straight through it.

    Any ideas? I'm doing this to an Ebony fingerboard if that makes any difference...
     
  19. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    I went to Home Depot today to buy some poly, and I noticed that they had a pour on epoxy for furniture. Anybody tried this stuff out?
     
  20. billio

    billio Bass Head

    If you mean the 2 part stuff you mix 50/50? I've used it on a bar top and it's very hard wearing. BUT, that's only had glasses and people's elbows on it. Dunno what it would be like with strings rubbing on it or how you would contour it to your fingerboard - you pour it on and it settles flat?!?
     

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