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Cracked Fingerboard - Can You Believe This?

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Cuz' I can't!!! I couldn't believe it yesterday, and still can't today.

Looks good so far right?


Well, not anymore :D:DB)



I always set my drill press stop to 1.5mm, which is the binding thickness. I never, never drill through the fingerboard. I was drilling the last side dot, and then crack; a large piece of the board pops up! God damn it!! This is the first time something like that happens. I knew from the beginning that this board would be troublesome. It was very brittle, I mean, more brittle than your usual ebony board, when I routed the edges. Very dry I should say.

This is the kind of things that pisses me off so bad that I wanna stop, and take a long break you know. But I can't. I got a customer waiting for his guitar.

It cracked pretty clean so I thought about glueing it back. It often do repairs on cracked board, but nothing as bad as this! Some black CA should keep it in place, but I'm afraid it might pop up again when I press the frets in.. I don't know.. What do you think? I can do another board, but this one was very attractive. I'll do my best to save that poor board :D

Well, any help, or condoleances, would be really appreciated! B)

Edited by MescaBug
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I've seen big name production guitars, where I could tell pieces almost that size had popped off the board during production and they glued the piece back.

I don't think colored glue is needed when all the wood is still there.

I would probably press the piece back in place, stick some .020" thick teflon in the fret slots, and wick a bunch of water thin CA around it.

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After seeing some of the repairs Frank Ford has managed on his site, I'd bet you could fix that fairly well. I'm sure there are a few here that have done fingerboard repairs like this that could offer some help /edit/ like soapbarstrat. I've seen a few of these threads, can't remember off hand one I have in mind, maybe it was southpa who fixed up a fretboard that was in poor shape and it turned out great and I think it was a much lighter colored rosewood board. Best of luck. J

Edited by jmrentis
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Ca glue... hold it in for 30sec and you're done. No one will ever know except you... and us :D

With Ebony, cracking & chipping is always an issue with old or dry boards.

I just re-fretted a '74 LP Custom and the stupid board chipped when taking the frets out AND putting the new frets in. What a biatch! Having to repair chips with frets in place is no fun, let me tell you.

One of the things I would suggest before fretting it, is to oil the board a couple of times with some kind of Fret board Conditioner or plain old Lemon Oil. That should help with getting a bit of humidity back in there

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First of all, my condolences.

I have been there for cracking fingerboards beyond repair.

I would say go ahead and glue it and see if it will take the fret job.

If so great, if not I guess you have to remove it from the neck and do another.

At any rate, I would not hide the fact from the customer.

Maybe call and tell them about the situation and ask their opinion.

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I would repair that. much as saopbarstrat suggested(thinned CA, lay down something that the CA won't stick to , and clamp *leave it clamped for a spell thinned CA in any volume does not set as fast as a drop, but I am sure you know that). I would be concerned about the light colored wood binding also. Thin CA will wick very freely, and can make a noticable discoloration in the surrounding wood (especially light colored woods). Might be a good idea to wipe a light coat of 2lb. cut shellac on the binding to avoid discoloration. I am sure your not going to flood the area too heavy, and you may not get much CA on that binding, but it does make for nasty spotting if a little too much finds its way to it. I learned the hard way about how CA contaminates and discolors light colored woods when it wicks around, and shellac has really helped to control this for me.


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the chip is an easy repair like stated above... but the fact its noticably more brittle than other ebony means you need to be real carefull when fretting. the idea to try and recondition it slightly with a few coats of oil may help with that

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Thanks Rich.

This is white plastic binding. It may look like light colored wood because some ebony dust got on it. And the pictures are bad!

I usually don't apply anything on the fingerboard until the final stage, but I will definitely use some oil on this one. This wood came from a different supplier.. The wood I order from my main supplier is always the same consistency. I was caught off guard this time. My mistake. Should I've been more careful!

And by the way, the chip is there on the first picture :D I carefully placed it so it doesn't appear. Apparently, nobody noticed, which is a good thing. It cracked right in the middle of a streak. Very hard to see.

Edited by MescaBug
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