How to epoxy coat your fretless bass fretboard

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How to epoxy coat your fretless bass fretboard

Postby ghiadub » Sun May 13, 2007 4:39 pm

How to epoxy coat your fretless bass

I have read that some guys have used crazy glue to get a super hard finish on a fretless neck. Harder is better as I plan on using roundwound strings on this neck. I could not find any info on how to do this so I thought I might give it a try and put this out there for others to have a basic how to.

On this neck I put on 10 coats. I also had to take down some of the wood because of damage from roundwound strings. You might not need to do this, but I would still plan on at least 10 coats.

I am not a pro or even an amateur really, I have never finished a neck (but have done some doors). I am just not afraid to ruin something on the path to learning. This came out ok, but it was an old MIM fretless neck that I was not using and did not care if I messed it up. Please do not hose your expensive neck and blame it on me. In other words, do this at YOUR own risk.

If I had messed it up, I would have just sanded it back down to the wood and tried again.



Materials:
Varying grits of sandpaper and steel wool (120/220/400) (0/00/000)
masking tape
crazy glue
polishing compound
radius sanding block to your neck's radius
Paper towels

0. Mask off edges of neck (it is a good idea to remove the nut, I did not)
1. Sand down the neck to get an even surface (120/220/400) (pic1)
2. Clean off the dust with a slightly moist cloth
3. Put a bead of super glue down the neck (pic2)
4. immediately spread out with a folded paper towel take care to get en even coat (pic3)
5. Let dry for 5 minutes
6. smooth out with 0 steel wool (try to sand each section of the neck evenly)
7. Repeat steps 4-6 for each coat (twelve should do it)
8. Continue with 00 and 000 steel wool until all swirl marks are out
9. Apply polishing compound with a soft cloth in small circles with moderate pressure (continue until you have a mirror like finish) (pic 4-5)
10. Wipe clean and send me anything you learned so we can update this document.


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Last edited by ghiadub on Sun May 13, 2007 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby GonzoBass » Sun May 13, 2007 4:53 pm

Where did you get the mass quantity of Super Glue,
or did you buy several small tubes?
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Postby ghiadub » Sun May 13, 2007 6:53 pm

GonzoBass wrote:Where did you get the mass quantity of Super Glue,
or did you buy several small tubes?


Gonzo, thanks for the great question.

Home Depot has 12 packs but actually I only used 4 tubes. Each tube made about 2.5 coats (2+2+3+3) but in hindsight it should have been 3 per. Putting a bead on the center 70% of the fretboard (not all the way to nut or end of fb) about .25 wide seemed to work best.

The real trick seemed to be spreading it out quickly after making that .25 bead. The wet glue will dissolve the finish, so be fast.

Also, try not to breathe while the finish is drying. This stuff is not good to breathe.
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Postby onamission » Sun May 13, 2007 7:25 pm

Thanks Bro! So, What about playability and tone, major changes? Would you use the same method again?
Thanks
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Postby ghiadub » Sun May 13, 2007 8:17 pm

onamission wrote:Thanks Bro! So, What about playability and tone, major changes? Would you use the same method again?
Thanks


Too early to know. I will post my thoughts once it is mounted on a body.

It sounded warm and woody before, I imagine it will brighten up a bit with the harder finish. Hopefully it will protect it as well.

Time will tell.
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Re: How to epoxy coat your fretless bass fretboard

Postby ghiadub » Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:26 am

onamission wrote:Thanks Bro! So, What about playability and tone, major changes? Would you use the same method again?
Thanks


A bit late on updating this. But better late than never. [smilie=icon_biggrin.gif]

I put the neck on a MIM jazz body and thanks to the kind folks from this board; I got the rest of the parts together via trades, gifts, and patronage. It was totally fitting that TomA and I traded for it actually.

It came out sounding as expected. Bright and defined. A huge change from the warm and muddy sound it had before. I really liked it a lot, especially with the treble rolled almost off. Very Jaco
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Re: How to epoxy coat your fretless bass fretboard

Postby Sloom » Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:10 am

This is cool, I may be doing a fretless project and this is nice info to have around. Thanks!
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Re: How to epoxy coat your fretless bass fretboard

Postby hoytbasses » Sun Jun 21, 2009 3:31 pm

excellent job: I'd add a couple things:

1. many hardware stores sell 1 oz sizes of gorilla brand super glue, there's a bit more acrylic in it so it builds faster and saves you money over the teeny tiny tubes of cyanoacrilate.

2. use a tack cloth or a rag BARELY dampened in lacquer thinner instead of water. the H2O can raise the grain and ruin all your sanding efforts

3. for folks contemplating this project, don't be afraid of using rounds (best sound) ... since pitting takes quite a long time AND the cure for pitting is the first steps of ghiadub's excellent tutorial. Upright basses can be played for years prior to needing dressing.

as long as you're having fun , it's all good!
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