hittitewarrior

Gorgeous fretboard material - bad tearout

12 posts in this topic

I haven't posted in awhile, been through a move, kids started school... life.  But - am in the process of building guitar #2.  First guitar, I bought a Carvin neck pre-made... for the second one, I'm going to give a shot at making it.  I found some very pretty Cocobolo in the "scrap" bin at the local hardwood place which they gave to me for a song, and when I cut it up into fretboard width material, I found the piece in the pictures.  I'd really like to use this for the tele I'm building, but I think the tearout may be too deep to come out in sanding (while keeping the board thick enough).  I'm curious what you all have done in the past, should something like this happen?

I'm thinking my options are:

1) Try planing/sanidng it down to get the tearout out.  Planer would risk more tearout, but sanding/scraping could get there with a lot of work.  I'd have to double check thickness afterwards and see what I get. Risk is it isn't quite thick enough...

2) Get creative with inlay and try to put something where the larger aggressors are.

3) Fill with cocobolo dust + glue?  Epoxy? etc.?

Thoughts?

 

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A piece of wood like that will have grain changing directions either side of the knot so personally I wouldn't use it as you will have problems all the way through. Trimming the sides, shaping the radius, cutting fretslots. But if you're going to give it a go what I would try is very sharp blades in the planer and skim a tiny fraction at a time. If it still tears out then use the sander. Or just go straight to the sander

Also I wouldn't try to eliminate the tear-outs completely just aim at an overall improvement. I've done things like this before (not on guitars) but I got it near perfect then one more skim and its back to square one again

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How thick is it?

First I wouldn't use anything but sandpaper on it. And second, remember that radiusing it will take care of most everything along the edges. It looks like the center is the least damaged area. Depending on the answer to the first question, this looks like it can be saved. And there is always the option of gluing it to a base plate for added thickness and a cool contrasting line as well.

SR

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Thanks for the thoughts.  ScottR, it is right around .26" thick.  If using a sanding block to fix it, I'm assuming I should just cut the fret slots into it first, and then radius it (hopefully removing the defects during radiusing)?  I'd be afraid of mounting it to the neck only to have it unable to be fixed.

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I too would not use that piece. Just not the grain you're looking for in a structural piece like a fretboard.
Chris

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12 hours ago, hittitewarrior said:

Thanks for the thoughts.  ScottR, it is right around .26" thick.  If using a sanding block to fix it, I'm assuming I should just cut the fret slots into it first, and then radius it (hopefully removing the defects during radiusing)?  I'd be afraid of mounting it to the neck only to have it unable to be fixed.

Correct. Crusader and Verhoevenc do have a valid point about the strength of the board though. It may never come into play, but remember the fretboard takes much of the force applied by the trussrod when adjustments are needed. Laminating it to a sound piece as a baseplate should take care of that and should be considered if you want to use that piece. And I agree with you that it would make a striking fretboard.

SR

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I never would have thought of the structural component, and the forces it would take from the truss rod.  Thank you all for the comments to that effect.  I'll try laminating it (I have a bunch of less interesting, but straight grained, cocobolo) and see if the defects come out when I sand this piece down.    

Really helpful!

Thanks!

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So what did you come up with? Did you end up using it?

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I got most of the tear out taken care of.  There's two holes in the two  (the one above, and then one just out of the screenshot).  I'm not sure if I'll be able to get them out.  I took a good .05" off it.  I'd like to get it down to .15" and flat if possible and take ScottR suggestion and glue it to another baseplate.  The baseplate would probably show though once radiused.... I'm not sure what to do at this point.  

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I'd just fill those will CA and sanding dust. You will still see them, but they are like little knots and will look fine. I've done it several times with no problems.

SR

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Buy a different board. The time and effort you'll put into this build will far outweigh the cost of a fretboard blank.
Chris

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yeah, what Scott said... the standard operating procedure for repairing such foibles it to use CA then just sand the wood... the accumulating sand powder will fill the void... it may take several times to fill it completely, but once done, it will be very "low key" to the extent it'll probably go unnoticed unless ya point it out.

Ron Kirn

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