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Need Maple Neck/ebony Fret Board Finishing Advice

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I have always made necks and fret boards out of maple. Finishing was always easy - you glue the pieces together, shape the contours spray the finish and slap the frets on and you have a finished neck!

For my latest project I am going to stick with the maple neck, but I am going to go with a ebony fret board.

Of the top of my head I have a few finishing/construction options:

1. Finish the neck first. Then glue the shaped fret board (which would be previously dyed black) on the neck then glue them both together. Then slap the frets on.

2. Or probably better. Glue both pieces together then shape the fret board. Then dye the fret board black (I want it perfectly black). Then tape off the fret board and spray the nitro on the neck. The remove the masking and slap the frets on.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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I would go with option two. You want to get your finish on the sides of the fretboard to help it blend with the neck. You'd probably end having to tweak the sides of it a bit if you added it after finishing, and that would pose a problem as you wouldn't want to hurt you finish. As for fretting. I prefer to fret before I finish. That way I can let the clear coat just slightly overlap the beveled ends of the frets. Necks with clear coat overlapping the fret edges seem to play a bit smoother, imho.



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  • 2 weeks later...

If you are dying/staining the fingerboard before you install - then when you plane the edges of the fingerboard to shape it to the neck, you will then have to redye the edges.

Better to tape off the neck and then dye AFTER the install. I know that sucks, but thats the way I've had to do it fot the same reason. I also dont like to shape the fingerboard until after its installed.

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