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Chicken v. Egg fretboard finishing question

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by tehcnalp, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. tehcnalp

    tehcnalp TDPRI Member

    91
    Apr 9, 2011
    Ohio
    For people building necks, do you prefer to finish the fret board and then seat the frets? Or do you prefer to seat the frets before finishing? I know Fender seats their frets first. I'm looking for pros and cons before I get to this step this weekend.

    Btw, I'm trying to avoid spraying. I'm hoping to rub several layers of shellac before I use a brush on lacquer.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Jupiter

    Jupiter Doctor of Teleocity

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    I dunno, but your sig line is starting to bum me out. . . . :lol:

    If you were spraying, I think the reason to seat the frets first is to have nice clean slots. Can you get the shellac and lacquer on there without filling up the slots and maybe making them swell? Also, Are you confident you can get the frets in afterward without bungin' up your fresh finish? I finished a fretted neck in Tru-Oil, and it wasn't too hard to wetsand and buff between the frets.
     
  3. tehcnalp

    tehcnalp TDPRI Member

    91
    Apr 9, 2011
    Ohio
    That's one of the things that I'm worried about, Jupiter. On the one hand, I can easily see myself missing a fret with the hammer and screwing up the finish. But in the other hand I can see having a problem trying to wet sand and polish between frets.

    As far as gunking up the slots, I can always take the fret saw to them before seating the frets.

    I just want to plan this out before I get to far into it and have to back everything up and start all over. Makes me wish I had opted for a different fret board.

    Btw, I think it was your build where I saw you were using Tru-oil. I've started considering that as an alternative to shellac for the neck. I've been meaning to ask how is it on durability and stickiness? You build has a beautiful neck.
     
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  5. Jupiter

    Jupiter Doctor of Teleocity

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    I'm really happy with the T-O. I don't find it sticky at all. I've done two necks with it. I waxed them with car wax at the end (about 3 coats, as recommended by Colt), and they're slick. I have a fairly thick coating on mine, enough to get a lacquer-like gloss. That was a LOT of coats. . . . The finish is holding up well, but I don't bang 'em around much. T-O is really a kind of varnish; my impression is that it's considerably tougher than shellac. I haven't used shellac myself, but I remember it peeled off the furniture pretty easily when I was a kid.:twisted:

    I used a white plastic eraser to wet-sand.

    [​IMG]

    I tapered one end of it down to fit up tight against the frets. I also used a razor blade to scrape the build-up at the frets, but if you keep your coats thin, it doesn't really build up that much.

    I buffed it with micro-mesh pads, and then wax, as I said above.

    Anyway, not as tough as poly, maybe not quite as tough as nitro. But it feels good.
     
  6. fretman_2

    fretman_2 Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2011
    Mobile, AL
    I slot the fretboard, glue it on, route it flush with the neck, radius the fretboard, seat the frets, profile the neck back, then finish with tru oil. Somewhere in there is sanding the transition.


    I apply the tru oil with nitrile gloved fingers...as many coats as I can tolerate. Then wetsand, and polish with Meguirs Scratch X.


    Here's a shot of the finish...

    IMAG0237.jpg

     
  7. motor_city_tele

    motor_city_tele Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 25, 2005
    motor city
    I like to install the frets then file and level. finishing is last. I'm rather hap hazard sometimes and end up dinging up a finished neck while putting frets in. plus my file slips sometimes and hits the wood. If it were lacquered already it would leave a mark. plus I think the lacquer seeps into the slots and seats the frets even more.
     
  8. tehcnalp

    tehcnalp TDPRI Member

    91
    Apr 9, 2011
    Ohio
    Alright, thanks guys for the input. I guess I'll be seating the frets first. And I'll probably try the Tru-Oil on the neck. I've got some reading to do before this weekend.
     
  9. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 21, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    I fret first, that way I can roll the fret board edges and fret ends in one easy step. If I was to finish first, I would probably wreck the finish on the edges trimming frets.
     
  10. Shepherd

    Shepherd Friend of Leo's

    Jan 17, 2008
    Maple Ridge, Canada
    I seal and sand it smooth first, install the frets and then clear. Anything I can do to lessen the amount of sanding between frets I have to do.
     
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