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1979 Fender F-35 Full Restoration

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While browsing ebay last week I found a 1979 Fender F-35 in rough shape, but since I grew up playing my mom's F-75 I

decided to buy it. It just arrived today and it has a lot of things that need to be fixed. Unfortunately my camera deleted

my before pics so here is the listing


The first thing I did was strip it down to the bare bones. Then I got to work on the bridge.

Originally I had just wanted to take off the strips of wood they had glued on, but the previous owner

had also filed down the original bridge so it all had to come off. I also took off the pick guard and

nut. My next job will be filing down a new bridge, patching the holes and redoing the finish. Here's my

first question: What is the best way to take off an acoustic's fret board with minimal tools without

bending the fret board? Pics to follow

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  • 2 weeks later...

You are going to bend the fingerboard regardless of what you do. It's essentially the kerfing inside of the guitar but has metal filling the slots so as soon as you pull it off it will back bow. The last two fingerboards I removed I did with the frets on and with out them on. The one with the frets was an acoustic and I used a cross country ski iron for waxing skis and just put it right on top of the frets, this one went off easily, my guess was the heated frets helped heat the wood more and softened the glue. I used a sharpened paint scraper about 3-4 inches long to remove the board. Just remember if the scraper has to be forced in the glue isn't soft enough yet and you will ikely take a chunk of the neck with it and if you hear cracking stop right away. The board that I took off without frets was on an electric and I just put a black T-shirt over the board and used a regular clothes iron with the steam setting on medium. The black T-shirt was becasue the board was rosewood and I didn't want to risk colors bleeding from the shirt onto the wood. You will have to refret the guitar if you pull the board. Why do you want to pull the board anyways?

An easy way to remove frets is to heat them with a soldering iron and spread solder across them. You will probably see some of the oils in the wood start to bubble on the edges of the fret, that's when it's ready to pull, it could be pulled a little before that too but I usually wait until I see the oils to reduce chip out from the frets slots.

I wouldn't refinish the guitar, it could kill the value and then you will lose the look of a vintage instrument.

Edit: Forgot to mention that if you pull the frets remember to drill two small holes in the fret slots so you can line the board back up when you reglue. I drill a hole in the 1st and 12th fret usually each on the opposite side of the truss rod and then when you reglue rub the bits in some parafin wax and put them in the holes and clamp the board up.

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