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Cleaning lacquer from frets

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Ricky D., Dec 29, 2007.

  1. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    66
    Oct 22, 2006
    Garner, North Carolina
    I'm sure there's a thread about this already, but I've not been able to find it.

    I have a new Allparts TMNF-V neck. The neck has a very nice Lacquer finish.

    The question is: How do I get the lacquer off the frets?

    Thanks in advance,
    Rick
     
  2. mellecaster

    mellecaster Former Member

    Fender used to use a 10 or 12 penny nail, w/ a groove filed into the end..to use like a mini scraper....but to be honest, unless it's drivin you Nuts, you're better off just Playin it....and it will wear off fairly fast.
     
  3. bnjp

    bnjp Tele-Meister

    156
    Dec 18, 2007
    Knoxville, TN
    The nitro is very thin. My experience has been to tape off the frets (cover the fretboard, leave the fret exposed) with blue painters tape, then clean the frets with steel wool. I use 0000 steel wool, but you could start with something courser if you needed to. It cleans the frets and polishes them nice and shiny at the same time.
     
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  5. fivenote

    fivenote Tele-Meister

    193
    Oct 13, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    The tele I just assembled is also an Allparts. I sprayed my own lacquer and covered the frets with it. I've been playing it for the past week while doing setup and wiring and the lacquer is already starting to chip off the frets. It sometimes flys off like shrapnel.

    When the first set of strings die, I plan to do some final nut & fret work. I'll tape the fretboard and scrape or steel wool the remaining lacquer off the frets. The best suggestion I saw on this topic is to avoid using any aggressive metal scraper that would damage the frets. Some suggested using an old credit card. I may also score the sides of the frets with a razor blade to help the lacquer chip off cleanly.
     
  6. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Be careful with rattle can nitro, as the material underneath is softer than a commercial application nitro. What can happen is the soft material underneath will come free if forced, but the crumbs will be highly adhesive and may result in a layer of freckles of nitro on everything that is not masked.

    I'm going more to just playing it as it is, maybe cleaning it up in a few months' time or longer.


    Bubbanov
     
  7. bnjp

    bnjp Tele-Meister

    156
    Dec 18, 2007
    Knoxville, TN
    Bubbanov. Good word! That's the exact mistake I made with my first 51 neck. I tried cleaning the frets with a notched guitar pick and as careful as I was, I boogered the fretboard in at least four places. That was with the Deft...it seems pretty soft (rubbery?). The next one I did, I masked the fretboard and used the steel wool to clean the frets and it turned out beautiful. That was with Behlen Qualalacq sprayed with a spray gun...much harder finish though.

    If I did another one with Deft, I will wait until I can tell it's releasing from the frets anyway, then go the masking tape/steel wool route. While it cleans from the frets really easily (flakes off like dandruff!) it's where the fret meets the wood where you have a problem.
     
  8. tdowns

    tdowns Former Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Texas
    I just dealt with a vintage amber Allparts nitro neck this week, and a fingernail took care of the problem with ease.
     
  9. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    66
    Oct 22, 2006
    Garner, North Carolina
    Thanks, everybody.
     
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