Lacquered Fretboard

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Lacquered Fretboard

Postby Jeff Mills » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:39 pm

Sorry if this question has been asked already... tapping into the vast knowledge bank here again.

I'm going to lacquer a fretboard that is bound and I have not installed the frets in yet. I think I should go ahead and install the frets, then lacquer the entire neck including the fretboard and frets. My thoughts are the lacquer will come off when level and re-crown the frets - Is my thinking correct?

Or

should I lacquer the entire neck and fretboard, then the install the frets? I guess my concern is gumming up the fret slots which may present a problem when installing the frets. But then again I suppose I could clean out the slots with my re-fret saw and treat it like a re-fret job...

I've seen finish on sides of the frets before and I've also seen necks where the frets don't have any finish on the sides of them. I personally think finish on the sides of crowns looks "tighter/more complete" than without but that's my opinion only. There is more than one way to skin a cat... I guess I'm looking for the "right" way.

Thanks in advance for your reply.
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Re: Lacquered Fretboard

Postby Mark Swanson » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:48 pm

I'd spray over the frets. Dan Erlewine has a tip for cleaning off the fret tops with a nail- just file a small round groove in the head of a nail that matches the fret shape, and use it to scrape gently the finish from the fret tops, very soon after you sprayed it and while it's still soft. If you do this at just the right time it comes off easily and cleanly.
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Re: Lacquered Fretboard

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:02 pm

Jeff, I would recommend fretting the fingerboard first. You could also mask the frets with narrow strips of masking tape before spraying the lacquer. It only takes a few minutes, far less than cleaning the frets afterwards.

18-Masking frets.jpg
I cut 1" wide masking tape to 3 mm wide strips with a scalpel and a steel ruler, then masked the frets over before lacquering the neck.
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Re: Lacquered Fretboard

Postby Jeff Mills » Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:08 pm

Thanks for the tips - I just used what seems to be quickly becoming my favorite hand tool... a razor blade. I caught the lacquer before it dried and it came off the fret tops very easy.
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Re: Lacquered Fretboard

Postby John Kingma » Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:21 pm

Whenever I'm using a light coloured fretboard such as maple I alway apply one thin coat of clear before I start fretting and then apply additonal coats afterwards. I find it is easier to keep the fretboard clean if there is at least one protective coat on it.
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Re: Lacquered Fretboard

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Fri Nov 02, 2012 5:13 am

John, your probably doing it right. It's easier to remove excessive CA glue from a lacquered surface than from bare wood where it can get absorbed and leave a stain. I mask the sides of a fret slot with tape before applying the glue, but sometimes some glue gets under the tape and I end up sanding it away.
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Re: Lacquered Fretboard

Postby Jeff Mills » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:31 am

Markku Nyytäjä wrote:John, your probably doing it right. It's easier to remove excessive CA glue from a lacquered surface than from bare wood where it can get absorbed and leave a stain. I mask the sides of a fret slot with tape before applying the glue, but sometimes some glue gets under the tape and I end up sanding it away.


I am so glad to hear other glue in frets with CA... I recently discovered something better to keep the frets in place. They sell a two pack like pictured at the Dollar General for yep $1.00 plus tax. It's a lot better than even thick CA in my mind... it's a lot slower drying than thick CA too. Which gives me plenty of time to set the fret and clean the fretboard before it cures. 1 tube is more than enough to fret a board.

http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/elitedeals_2233_26945644910.jpg
Last edited by Greg Robinson on Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Converted inline image to link - staff
Experience is a strange thing - You get it right after you needed it.
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Re: Lacquered Fretboard

Postby Mark Swanson » Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:47 pm

I like the gel for gluing on binding, it doesn't all soak into the wood edge and disappear. But for fretting I like plain old wood glue. It does not bind to the metal, but dries around the tang and holds the fret in place. It slightly swells the slot too and makes a snug fit. I don't like to use CA unless I have to, and there is a problem fret.
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Re: Lacquered Fretboard

Postby Greg Robinson » Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:58 am

Hi Jeff,

I've converted the inline image you posted to a link because we ask that you do not post images you do not own, as otherwise is a violation of copyright law. Please see our Policy.
Thanks.
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