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Couple Questions Before Gluing A New Fretboard


XcitR
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I have just finished stripping the old fretboard off an Ibanez prestige neck and am replacing it with a new ebony board. This is my first re-fret, etc. and had a couple questions before continuing:

How smooth should the neck surface be sanded before attaching the new fretboard?

What is better for gluing the fretboard on, stewmac's slow-setting black epoxy ("30 minute working time, full bond strength in 24 hours"), or good old original titebond (seems to tack-up and set a bit quicker)?

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I have just finished stripping the old fretboard off an Ibanez prestige neck and am replacing it with a new ebony board. This is my first re-fret, etc. and had a couple questions before continuing:

How smooth should the neck surface be sanded before attaching the new fretboard?

What is better for gluing the fretboard on, stewmac's slow-setting black epoxy ("30 minute working time, full bond strength in 24 hours"), or good old original titebond (seems to tack-up and set a bit quicker)?

The old fretboard must be perfectly clean. If you have compressed air, shoot it over the neck to clean out the pores. If not, you could vaccum it.

Are for the surface, a scraped or planed surface is best. If not, go for 320-400 grit sanding.

For glue, regulare yello glue is best in my opinion. Never had a problem with it.

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Surface needs to be clean and 100% flat. I wouldn't go as fine as 320 though.. Maybe 180. Glue needs to 'get in' the wood a little bit. If it's sanded too fine, it will slide as hell when you try to glue it.

Some people might use epoxy to glue a board, but I would suggest the good old Titebond.

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Surface needs to be clean and 100% flat. I wouldn't go as fine as 320 though.. Maybe 180. Glue needs to 'get in' the wood a little bit. If it's sanded too fine, it will slide as hell when you try to glue it.

Actually - 180 grit will not give you a better joint, it will be weaker and there is scientific proof of this. You search this on your own if you want.

If you have real issues with the board slipping and sliding, add a bit of tape around the fretboard/neck. You can also use the small pin on the neck trick.

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What 2005 said; scrape or plane for the best possible joint with titebond and similar, then fine sanded, although I never bother going beyond 220 grit. However, if you're gluing with epoxy, go ahead and rough it up with some 80 grit before gluing. Different type of glue chemistry.

I also reccomend epoxy for fingerboard gluing. No water = less chance of warping, and contrary to popular myth, epoxy releases perfectly well with a bit of heat. No more difficult to release than titebond is, really. I've used both, but I'll continue to use epoxy for this. Titebond for plenty of other bits and pieces, in no small part because epoxy is nastier and more of a sensitiser, but fingerboard to neck = epoxy for me. Body glueups, neck joints, that'll be titebond, neck lams probably epoxy from here on out.

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Actually - 180 grit will not give you a better joint, it will be weaker and there is scientific proof of this. You search this on your own if you want.

We are here to give advices. You say a surface sanded with 320-grit will glue better than 180. Please explain. If you are using this method, it's probably because you know the exact scientific added value of using a 320-grit surface. I'm sure XcitR also wants to know, if he's going to use your method. I've been using 180-grit for the last 10 years and believe me, you would not be able to lift off any fingerboards I've glued/re-glued. Why? Simply because by experience, 180-grit works. Never had any issues, never asked why. I don't need any scientific explanation, it works for me, so I recommend it.

If you have real issues with the board slipping and sliding, add a bit of tape around the fretboard/neck. You can also use the small pin on the neck trick.

Did I say I have issues with the board sliding? No. But judging by his questions, he probably will. Because he never did it before. So I simply told him to be careful.

I don't want to be rude or anything, but use some explations to backup your claims. It's easy to say look on Google, and search by your own. But it doesn't give us any clue whatsoever about why you are recommending this. You are probably right, but you have to convince me to use your method instead of mine, instead of just saying it's no good.

Edited by MescaBug
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Well, it's simply down to the way wood glues work. They create a chemical bond, rather than a mechanical one, which results in an extremely strong bond inspite of the fact the glue itself is relatively weak.

As such, you want the tightest wood to wood contact for the best joint, and you want freshly exposed surfaces. The best way to acomplish this is to use a freshly planed or scraped surface. It is a longstanding woodworking myth that a slightly roughened surface will glue better, and this idea is based on a fundamental misunderstanding or how glues work.

The roughened surfaces is beneficial when working with adhesives, which are a different thing to glues, and rely on the mechanical strength of the adhesive to make a strong joint. Epoxy is an adhesive, ergo roughing the surfaces is beneficial. Titebond is glue, so a perfectly flat, smooth surface is best.

This isn't to say you don't get good results by sanding with 180 grit, simply that you don't need to do the extra step of sanding unles it's already part of your process for getting a flat glueing face. I don't sand my glue joints if I can avoid it, and if I have to, I follow up with a scraper to smooth the surface and remove and sanding debris and broken fibres.

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Thanks for all the replies! I ended up scraping the neck smooth and lightly sanding the back of the fretboard. I followed the tutorial pretty closely, and used original titebond for the joining of the fretboard to neck. Had no problems with slippage, and after sanding the edges flush tonight, have a "near perfect" seam! It really turned out well! Thanks for the advice! :D

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