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Warped fretboard issues

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by krfoss, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. krfoss

    krfoss Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    I was shipped a birdseye maple fretboard that is warped. Is there a way to flatten it down before I glue it to the neck?

    I'm thinking I could submerge it in hot water for an hour or so, then put it under some heavy weights and let it dry out, then glue, cut and sand it.

  2. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    You could probably roll with it and glue it on as is, clamp it very well. And then not worry about it.

    Or. You would clamp it on a flat surface and heat it with a hair drier for 5 mins, let it sit and fully cool, and then it should be flat.
  3. krfoss

    krfoss Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Would that encoruage it to split? i.e. drying it out too much?
  4. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    No matter what method, there is always slight chance for something to go wrong. Using moisture could make the wood want to warp more. Or using heat could make it want to crack. The heating method though, is used for warped necks to temporarily straighten them out (temporary because once wood warps, it always wants to go back that way, especially under tension.) i wouldn't worry about cracking. Use just a basic hair drier from your wife/girlfriends collection of doodads. I've used this on my Warwick neck and it took a twist out with no I'll effects. What's happening is the heat is expanding the wood fibers and making it slightly more shapable, once it cools, the fibers contract locking in the shape of what ever it's clamped too.

    My Warwick succumbed to the standard neck twist issue they usually have. Using 10 mins of heat and clamping it flat solved it. But like i said, it's not a permanent fix. Once it's attached to the neck, it should be just fine. Just make sure you clamp it extra well at every possible location to get a solid glue up. Hope this helps
  5. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    Although I'm pretty sure if you glue it down as is, you won't have any problems. The neck itself will hold it straight as long as you have a solid glue up.
  6. Steam and press?
  7. MPU


    Sep 21, 2004
    Valkeala Finland
    How much has it warped? In which direction? 6mm thick piece of wood with fret slots cut to about half of that thickness is not likely to bend the neck in any direction.
  8. gbarcus

    gbarcus Commercial User

    Jul 20, 2008
    Minneapolis & St.Paul, MN
    Owner of Barcus Basses barcusbasses.com
    Typically when you fret a board, the frets will push the board and make it bend a bit. if the warp is an even arc and only slight, you may be ok. However, if the warp is uneven or if it is more than 3/8" of arch (lay if flat and measure the highest spot), I wouldn't use it.
    For me, a fingerboard that isn't perfect isn't worth ruining a whole build. Just a little bit of stress can be the difference between getting nice low action and a neck that you can't get right and end up raising the strings.
  9. Meatrus


    Apr 5, 2009
    I would first leave it clamped to a flat surface for at least a couple of days and see if that helps. You could do that with dampening it too, but its more risky. It has worked for me though with 1 1/2" maple.
  10. giacomini


    Dec 14, 2008
    Florianopolis - Brazil
    Endorsing: Copetti Guitars
    You said you got it shipped to you. Can't you return it and ask for a good one?
  11. krfoss

    krfoss Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    It has a bend in it width-wise (a 3 1/2 in piece of maple) and has a slight curve. I am currently putting it between two pieces of wood and 8 clamps. Hopefully it straightens it out. I'll send pics when done.
  12. krfoss

    krfoss Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Orange County, CA

    Here it is in the clamps. Here's hoping for the best.

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