Jump to content

Fretboard cracking


Recommended Posts

I was wondering if any of the more experienced people here may know what the cause of the following might be:

I was testing alignment with a new neck which recently had an ebony fretboard glued on. I think the issue is related to a partial steaming that I needed to perform due to a small gap between the fretboard and the neck towards the heel. It was a tiny gap but I wanted it gone. I steamed it and clamped for a couple of hours. After that, I ran a few strings from the bridge to the tuners and tightened enough to get some tension (enough to take the slack out of the strings). I heard a few faint pinging sounds and I wasn't sure what it was at first. I looked carefully and noticed a few tiny cracks in the top of the fretboard. I filled and glued them and they're invisible now.

I think I'm going to move forward but I'm kinda/sorta considering taking it off and putting another on to be safe. It would be a shame to waste a beautiful ebony board unless it was really needed.

Any ideas on this? What do you think the chances are of more problems in the future?

The reason I ask for experienced builders is that it seems like the kind of issue that a lot of people could guess at but I don't want to take the board off unless it's really at risk if you know what I mean.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking with very limited experiance working with it and a lot of observation I've noticed that while Ebony has a nice amout of natural oils in it and polishes up well I believe it to be more brittle then most finger boards.

The reason I'm saying that is my observations when routing out inlay cavity's, it seemingly chiped more then say Rosewood or Maple. I've also noticed quite a few Ibanez Jem7VWH's that experiance cracks or splits on the high end fret down the middle and not necessarily to the end of the wood, but it really isn't a danger to the performance of the neck. In some case's it can be buffed to where you barely notice it.

You would think a wood such as this would be more forgiving but I honestly think it is actually less forgiving on stress and cutting or shaping.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it may be that the swelling in the wood caused by moisture/heat

in the partial steaming caused the cracking

i agree with brian on the brittle factor in ebony

this would tie in with my huntch

& i would suspect the cracks are at the border

between the expanded area of the wood

& that which did not heat & expand

as far as replacement being necessary

if you are happy with the results of the partial steam

& the glue line gap is gone to your satisfaction

i would flow a little water thin super glue into the fractures

and play the pup

happy playn


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for the replies.

I've also noticed quite a few Ibanez Jem7VWH's that experiance cracks or splits on the high end fret down the middle and not necessarily to the end of the wood

That's about where this happened although it was between the 15th and 12th frets, I think. The cracks ran vertically along the length of the neck. I just don't know if it was a coincidence that it happened right as I was putting a little tension on the strings (only two or three and not very much tension since the floyd had no springs attached and I was holding it with my hand). Maybe?

Since it did clean up without any visible lines, I think I will continue on with it and hope that it doesn't come back. Thank you very much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...