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Tips for removing plastic fretlines?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by fookgub, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. fookgub


    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I've got an SX fretless neck that I've been working on. I was filing down some protruding fretline inserts last night and I noticed that several are loose. That got me to thinking that I could replace the plastic inserts with some ebony veneer that I have left over from my last defretting project. The neck has no position markers, so the ebony fretlines would make for a nice 'stealth' look.

    The only problem is that I can't figure out how to get the fretlines out. I'm afraid that heat will tattoo the board, possibly weaken the fingerboard/neck glue joint, and make a general mess if the makers start to melt. I've thought about sawing them out, but I don't want to expand the slots. Any ideas?

    The inserts are glued in, so I don't think I could just tap them out from the sides. Maybe I could get under them with a mini screwdriver and pry them up? Has anyone done this before?
  2. Groundloop


    Jun 21, 2005
    Interesting question. My first instinct would be cut them out using a razor saw with hardwood cauls clamped on either side on the fretline to prevent wandering. I've used a razor saw to clean fret slots on a few refret/and defret jobs I've done. Stew Mac is selling these now


    Let us know what you end up doing. I'm about to buy a fretless Lakland 55-01, which I believe is only available lined, so I might be in your shoes very soon.

    Good luck.
  3. fookgub


    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Thanks for the advice. I forgot that Stew-Mac sold those things. Prices aren't too bad either. As luck would have it, I just sent an order in last night... guess I should've waited.

    Anyway, I did a bit of searching around to see if anyone else has done this. All I found was this http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=170204, So if other people have tried it, they're not talking about it.

    I think your saw idea is the best so far, but it sounds tedious and I'd have to machine a guide for the saw. I'd like to find an easier solution, but it could be there's just no better way to do it.