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Fretboard / Neck Finish Questions


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Hey just a few odd questions :D

After I have finished sealing the fret ends with CA I imagine its a good idea to run a sanding block down the side of the fretboard and smooth it all out up to the same grit as what im finishing the neck on? Say 320?

and should I include the side of the fretboard in the finishing (satin lacquer)? or do I mask it off and leave it plain? Its ebony...

I am going to paint the front of the headstock to match the body, to get a nice crisp line between the painted top and the natural sides, after its dry (and cleared?) should I run a razor blade or cabinet scraper or sanding block down the natural sides to give it a lil more edge?

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If you are not going to finish the sides of the fretboard I would sand up to at least 800 grit since it is ebony and will really polish up nicely on it's own, you can even sand higher.

Some people and companies finish the edge of the fretboard with the neck, some don't. On ebony you can go either way. Only problem that does occur is that the finish can chip off the ebony. Because the ebony is so oily, most film finishes have a tough time adhering well if the ebony is sanded too fine. So if you are going to finish it, I would not sand any higher than the 320 grit.

For the painted head, you can tape off the sides to see how good that gets, but scraping the sides will defintely help. But I would do that after paint and before clear.

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I would rather finish the sides of the fingerboard. On one guitar I taped off the sides and I could feel a tiny little ledge where the finish on the neck dropped off (where the tape had been). It was an oil finish, and maybe I did something wrong, but I would rather have it flush.

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I would tape off the entire top of the fretboard and leave just the sides bare and then spray. Any lacquer you get on the fret ends will not stick, it will chip off very easily and quickly, I would take an exacto knife and score along the bottom edge of the fret end to give it a clean line to break off so it doesn't travel further down into the neck. As the neck expands and contracts it is common to get cracks and chips around the fret ends, a lot of older Fender's with maple fretboards have this, but it is not really a problem. I would still sand up to 320, a perfect finish comes from perfect preperation. It is common to sand bodies up to 400 before finishing. The extra 2 minutes is worth getting a better finish.

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