Epoxying a fretless neck

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Epoxying a fretless neck

Postby Piranha » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:22 pm

I was showing off my new bass in the Fretless area and Rob Francis asked me to post my process for epoxying the fingerboard over here. So here goes. Before I begin, let me say that I bought this neck on Ebay for around $50. I bought it solely to practice epoxying a board. I don't know that I would have the stones to do this to a vintage instrument or to a Warmoth or other custom built neck that cost alot.

Regarding wood/surface prep, I sand to 320. Then, I wipe it down with a sequence of solvents to ensure that there are no contaminents on the wood before I apply any finish.

- Lacquer thinner
- Denatured alcohol
- Naptha
- Mineral spirits
- A solution of ammonia and distilled water mixed 1:8

I read this in Dan Erlewine's book "Guitar Finishing: Step-by-Step" many years ago. The diluted ammonia will raise the grain. So I give it another light sanding with 320 after that step. For the neck, I have a 12-in radius block that I used to maintain the fingerboard radius.

Here is the rosewood fingerboard just prior to the first coat.

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I use SystemOne Bartop epoxy. I picked that because it was available at my local Woodcraft store and it said it was self-levelling. I made about 10 applications. First, I masked off everything but the fingerboard with painter's tape and applied each coat with a cheap china-bristle brush, allowing it to cure overnight between coats. Here is a picture of the basic setup:

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Here's me applying the epoxy.

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Notice that I'm slopping it on there pretty thick. Like I said, it's self levelling. This is what it looked like just after I applied the third coat:

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Then, I allowed that to cure for a week. Then I dry sanded with 400, wiped it down with naptha, and applied 3 more coats in the same manner. At that point, I noticed a few lingering low spots:

Image


I sorta drop-/glop-filled the low spots and sanded them out. Then I laid down 2 more coats. I dry-sanded with 400 and then wet-sanded with 600, 800, and 1000. It still had a lot of sanding marks, so I went ahead and applied 2 more coats. After that, I tried just wet-sanding starting with 800 through 1000, 1500, and finally 2000.

After I got the fingerboard completed, I tinted the back, heel, and head stock with a vintage amber tint:

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I then applied several coats of Tru-Oil gunstock finish to the neck and after that, few coats of clear nitro lacquer to the heel and the headstock (sorry, no pictures of that part of the process). I then applied my decals:

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and then applied several coats of lacquer over the headstock to bury them. When I was buffing out the body, I went after the fingerboard with the Meguiar's #4, #9, and #7 that I was using on the body. Here is the final result:

Image
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Piranha
 
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Epoxying a fretless neck

Postby GonzoBass » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:34 pm

I love threads like this.
[smilie=grinning-smiley-003.gif]
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Image

Aloha-
Papa Gonzo
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Re: Epoxying a fretless neck

Postby Rob Francis » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:43 am

Really nice thread
Thanks Bro!
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Re: Epoxying a fretless neck

Postby Paul DeLano » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:00 pm

[smilie=grinning-smiley-003.gif] [smilie=grinning-smiley-003.gif]

Paul
"Look, just between us, nothing good ever comes from playing guitar. Nothing." - Kennan Shaw
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Location: Portland, OR, not that other one

Re: Epoxying a fretless neck

Postby hoytbasses » Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:54 am

excellent job! and you won't have to re finish that for years with that many coats on it.

kfh
There's nothing Passive about Passive pickups!
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Re: Epoxying a fretless neck

Postby hmagman » Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:33 pm

[smilie=grinning-smiley-003.gif] Thanks!!!
Harry
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Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Epoxying a fretless neck

Postby Rob Francis » Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:47 am

I just sourced this for a fellow builder on MIMF.
This really is one of the easiest tutorials on epoxy neck fins I have found.
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Re: Epoxying a fretless neck

Postby Piranha » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:02 pm

Rob Francis wrote:I just sourced this for a fellow builder on MIMF.
This really is one of the easiest tutorials on epoxy neck fins I have found.


Thanks.

It is holding up great. I ran it with DR Lo-Riders for about a month, but switched back to D'Addario Chromes. I'm a flats guy I guess. I will note that although the neck is holding up fine, the bottle for the epoxy hardener (Part B) sort of self destructed and left a mess on a shelf in my garage.

Cheers,
Doug
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Location: Austin, Texas


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