What's best to stop roundwounds from tearing up fingerboards? Hardener/glues?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Skips, Jan 23, 2004.

  1. Skips


    Feb 19, 2003
    I've got 2 rosewood and one purpleheart fretless fingerboards on which I'd like to use roundwound strings, but I don't want it to cut into the wood like what often happens.
    I've heard using Cynoacrylate (super) glues will help this a lot, as well as Jaco's Epoxy method.
    Also, there's this stuff called Minwax Wood Hardener which looks promising--I noticed someone here used it for their thickness sander.
    Also, Sally Hansen also makes a hardener--granted, it's not designedfor wood, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. (Afterall, if no one had experimented with house siding and electrical insulation building materials, two really big bass companies wouldn't be in business.)

    My questions:

    • Has anyone experimented with any of the above, or anything else? What are the results?
    • I understand superglue can be thinned with acetone to make it more spreadable on the fingerboard. What's a good mixture? With what do you apply it, and how do you avoid getting that glued to the fingerboard? I've heard that just putting a few layers on and then sanding down the bits of brush and skin works, but it doesn't seem to be the best idea.
    • With Epoxy, I've heard it's best to thin with alcohol and then squeegee it into the grain to use it as a pore filler--is the same method used for fingerboard coating? Do I use isoproply or denatured alcohol? How thin/what's a good ratio?
    • I don't want to change the color of the wood--especially the purpleheart, as it's one of the most purple purpleheart ones I've seen (not that I've seen much). Sally Hansen and superglue are clear and transparent. Epoxys tend to dry opaque--is this true even with a thin coating? What about the minwax wood hardener?
    Thanks in advance,
  2. jongor

    jongor Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2003
  3. adolganov


    Jan 15, 2004
    Yes, the result is awesome, but there were no guidelines on the process involved :rolleyes:
  4. schuyler


    Aug 5, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    generally, when there is a suggestion to use alcohol as a thinner, it's denatured alcohol which is being recommended. denatured alcohol is nearly pure alcohol, with a tiny bit of poison added to make it undrinkable and hence avoid the liquor tax. rubbing alcohol is generally about half alcohol and half water, which makes it a poor choice for use as a thinning agent. it's my understanding that acetone can be used to thin epoxy, but i'm unsure if this applies to all types of epoxies.

    in my experience the purpleheart will change color anyway. if you put a UV inhibitor in the finish, you can slow down this change, but given enough time, it will eventually turn brown.

    you should be able to get superglue (also called CA glue) in a thin formulation. the glue i use comes in thin, medium, thick, and flexible varities. the thin kind is likely too thin for the application you're talking about.