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Lacquering Maple Fretboard

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I don't do necks, so my word isn't gospel by any means, but I know that if you lacquer the f/b, then try to pound the frets in, you'll damage the finish. If/when you finish the neck after doing the frets, make sure to protect the frets from being covered with finish. Otherwise, you'll be in for a major headache.

Whuch type? That's all in your tastes. What do you want for your end result? According to Flexner, most commercially available lacquers are nitro. Also according to Flexner, manufacturers are notorious for mis-labeling theri product and not providing accurate information in general, so take that with a grain of salt as well.

Do you HAVE to use the same thing on the neck & f/b? No, but why wouldn't you. If you want the neck satin & the f/b gloss, use gloss on the whole thing, just don't polish the neck. Vice/versa if you want the f/b satin. Steel wool is great for giving a nice satin sheen to the finish.

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Honestly, I don't know. Logic says that pressing would be a LOT easier on the finish than pounding, but I have no first-hand experience to confirm this.

If you're a finishing rookie, then get Bob Flexner's book on wood finishing. It'll not only answer most of your non-lutherie finishing questions, but it will be an invaluable took and reference in the future.

I forgotto address an initial question: Yes, the finish goes over whatever inlays are done.

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Pressing is definitely more gentle than hammering.

I think one reason why most folks fret, then lacquer, is because you risk chipping the finish if you cut the slots into a lacquered fretboard.

And if you slot first, then lacquer, you have to clean out the slots before the lacquer sets up....very tricky without messing up the fretboard finish.

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^ Now Im confused lol

You say that you might risk chipping if you lacquer and then slot the FB. But you will also find it hard to clean the slots, if you slot then lacquer.

So you screwed either way?? :D

Could you fill the slots with wood or card or something, lacquer, and then take them out?

Also what is the full title of the best bob flexor book, I have found like 4 differnt versions. Is the 2nd addition the one to go for?


Edited by Neil Beith
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Cleaning out the slots is the least of it. I keep a stock, unsharpened stew-mac slot cleaning blade to use as a template to make HDPE .020" thick copies that chuck into the same handle.

Tricky part is shaping the fret ends right next to the finished board, trying not to mark or chip the finish.

One of those jobs where at various points when I'm doing it, I say to myself "there's got to be a better way". I'd love to be able to watch a video showing how someone else does it. One of the few things I don't have a video of. LOL

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That's a great point about the fret ends. Though I am about to fret a neck where I'm going to try to dress & polish the fret ends before pressing them in, we'll see how it goes.

I used a maple board on my last build. I taped off the board so just the frets were showing, applied a thin coat of car wax to the frets with a cotton swab, then pulled the tape and shot the clear coat. After it had set up, I cut the finish along the edges of each fret (being careful to not slice the finish between the frets) and the clear coat flaked right off.

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