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Fretboard Masking

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Fretboard Masking

Postby Steve Sawyer » Wed May 24, 2017 3:17 pm

Moving to finishing this project (maple neck, RW fretboard), I'm thinking that I should mask the entire FB, including the exposed edges. Am I correct, or should I just mask the face of the FB, leaving the edges to be finished along with the rest of the neck?

Also, I'm planning on using Frog tape for this, as some of the folks in my woodworking club claim it's far superior to blue "painter's tape". Would y'all agree with this recommendation for this application?

Thanks!

FB CloseupS.jpg
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Re: FB Masking

Postby Barry Daniels » Wed May 24, 2017 3:52 pm

Just mask the top. The edges should be finished.

I haven't tried the Frog tape but it looks interesting. But its probably not that useful for this application. After finishing and removing the tape, there is always a bit of work necessary with a razor blade to knock down and smooth the edge of the finish, and at that time you clean up any lacquer that's leaked under the tape. Most of that leakage is at the edges of the frets which the Frog tape may not be handle either. But give it a try if you want and let us know how it works.

I usually use the green 3M tape that is compatible with lacquer. It seals well at the edges.
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Re: FB Masking

Postby Steve Sawyer » Wed May 24, 2017 4:58 pm

Barry Daniels wrote:Just mask the top. The edges should be finished.


Thanks, Barry - that's why I asked!!

I'll report back on the Frog tape...
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Re: FB Masking

Postby Peter Wilcox » Wed May 24, 2017 6:18 pm

For finishing, I don't mask the fretboard, except for a few inches at the headstock end for spraying the headstock face. I just turn the neck frets down and spray it, making sure the spray angle is always somewhat downward.
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Re: FB Masking

Postby Barry Daniels » Wed May 24, 2017 7:49 pm

That is an interesting idea Peter. It might prevent the edge buildup of finish that I have to deal with.
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Re: FB Masking

Postby Steve Sawyer » Wed May 24, 2017 10:00 pm

Peter Wilcox wrote:For finishing, I don't mask the fretboard, except for a few inches at the headstock end for spraying the headstock face. I just turn the neck frets down and spray it, making sure the spray angle is always somewhat downward.

Thanks, Peter - that's good to know. This being my first build, I'm not sure I could make that work without screwing it up somehow, but maybe I'll give it a go. I probably won't be ready to shoot the neck for a week or two, so I'll have to think about it.
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Re: FB Masking

Postby David King » Fri May 26, 2017 12:52 pm

I love the idea of Peter's mask-less method but I worry that it might be dependent on airflow and angle to the exhaust fan along with the type of spray gun and atomization to avoid dry powdery buildup on the fingerboard caused by the Venturi effect. My limited experience in the booth tells me that there can be air current eddies that will be difficult to see and may require some practice to master.
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Re: FB Masking

Postby Steve Sawyer » Fri May 26, 2017 4:24 pm

David King wrote:may require some practice to master.


That was my thought, although placing the neck face-down on something soft (a towel or a very soft foam pad) might shield the FB from any errant air-flow.
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Re: FB Masking

Postby Dan Smith » Fri May 26, 2017 10:14 pm

Whatever you do, do not apply blue tape to a lacquered surface.
It will immediately start turning into a gooy mess.
I've tried to leave the fretboard sides free of finish, but it's a real pain to try to feather the finish flush to the edge of the board.
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Re: FB Masking

Postby Andy Bounsall » Wed May 31, 2017 6:53 am

I normally mask the edge of the fretboard. After finishing and unmasking the fretboard, there's a slight build up of finish there that can be feathered smooth. I always figured that if the fretboard ever had to be removed for some kind of repair, it'd be possible to do it without destroying the finish.
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Re: FB Masking

Postby Steve Sawyer » Wed May 31, 2017 3:48 pm

Andy Bounsall wrote:I normally mask the edge of the fretboard. After finishing and unmasking the fretboard, there's a slight build up of finish there that can be feathered smooth. I always figured that if the fretboard ever had to be removed for some kind of repair, it'd be possible to do it without destroying the finish.

Thanks, Andy.

What do you use for the feathering - sanding? scraper? razor blade?
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Re: FB Masking

Postby Andy Bounsall » Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:50 am

Steve Sawyer wrote:What do you use for the feathering - sanding? scraper? razor blade?


Razor blade and/or sanding (1000 - 2000 grit).
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