Clear Coating a Maple Neck. What about frets?

Gary Gretsch

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So I am a experienced auto body man and painter. I have painted guitars and necks with rosewood fret boards so only the back of the neck and headstock were painted or cleared.

So now I have a new project going. It will have a maple neck. Vintage tinted hopefully to look like a fender color neck. My choice is to dye the neck first and then use urethane 2 part clear which is pretty thick. I will probably not use any sanding sealer. So what about the frets? Are they normally cleared over and then the clear carefully cut away and pealed off? I sure would like to get this right the first time and have never saw anyone paint a maple neck.
Thanks.
 

tweeet

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Never used urethane but nitro many times...I always used to spray the whole neck...over time the nitro wears off the frets...even older guitars with maple necks that I'd bought years ago all had the coating come off the frets at some point...it's what happens :)
 

KokoTele

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Fender sprays right over the frets and then scrapes it off. They used to use nails with a round notch. Not sure what they do now.

I use a penny that I notched with a round file. Periodically I sharpen the edge of that notch so it cuts cleaner. Works best if you don't let the lacquer too long (a day or so at most) or spray it too thick.
 

Gary Gretsch

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Cool after a close inspection fender must buff the fret side of the neck because there is a minute amount of a white powder under a couple frets I imagine it is polishing compound.

Crimson guitars has a video where he cuts the clear from around the fret and peals it off.
Thanks I will be watching for more ideas. I like the penny idea.
 

Freeman Keller

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So I am a experienced auto body man and painter. I have painted guitars and necks with rosewood fret boards so only the back of the neck and headstock were painted or cleared.

So now I have a new project going. It will have a maple neck. Vintage tinted hopefully to look like a fender color neck. My choice is to dye the neck first and then use urethane 2 part clear which is pretty thick. I will probably not use any sanding sealer. So what about the frets? Are they normally cleared over and then the clear carefully cut away and pealed off? I sure would like to get this right the first time and have never saw anyone paint a maple neck.
Thanks.

I don't make maple necks but I have refretted one (and I decided never again). The procedure is to do all of your fret leveling before you start finishing, spray whatever you are going to on the fretboard right over the frets (Fender used nitro, now I think it is some sort of poly). Scrape the frets exposing just the crowns. Pray that you don't have to do any fret work.

Here is a thread I did about the process. I was marginally satisfied with the outcome, the owner is very happy. I've decided that someone else can have the hassle. Good luck

 

KokoTele

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I don't make maple necks but I have refretted one (and I decided never again). The procedure is to do all of your fret leveling before you start finishing, spray whatever you are going to on the fretboard right over the frets (Fender used nitro, now I think it is some sort of poly). Scrape the frets exposing just the crowns. Pray that you don't have to do any fret work.

You absolutely do not have to do all of your fretwork before finishing. I don't even think there's significant advantage there.

If it's a new neck, I'm going to assemble the guitar and keep it tuned to pitch for a while to let it settle and learn how to be a guitar. Then I'll do the level & crown. Odds are good that I'll have scratched the frets when removing the finish anyway, so that will get cleaned up with the fretwork.
 

Gary Gretsch

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I don't make maple necks but I have refretted one (and I decided never again). The procedure is to do all of your fret leveling before you start finishing, spray whatever you are going to on the fretboard right over the frets (Fender used nitro, now I think it is some sort of poly). Scrape the frets exposing just the crowns. Pray that you don't have to do any fret work.

Here is a thread I did about the process. I was marginally satisfied with the outcome, the owner is very happy. I've decided that someone else can have the hassle. Good luck

That job looks like it turned out pretty nice.
 

Freeman Keller

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You absolutely do not have to do all of your fretwork before finishing. I don't even think there's significant advantage there.

If it's a new neck, I'm going to assemble the guitar and keep it tuned to pitch for a while to let it settle and learn how to be a guitar. Then I'll do the level & crown. Odds are good that I'll have scratched the frets when removing the finish anyway, so that will get cleaned up with the fretwork.
I don't see how you can level, crown, polish and round the ends without damaging the lacquer. At least I can't. However since I don't plan to do it again its kind of a moot point.
 

KokoTele

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I don't see how you can level, crown, polish and round the ends without damaging the lacquer. At least I can't. However since I don't plan to do it again its kind of a moot point.

Option 1: practice until you can't do it wrong.
Option 2: tape the fretboard
Option 3: Those metal fretboard guards.

I relied on option 1 for a long time, but I'm not perfect and work late, so I'd sometimes have 1 or two spots where I needed to touch up the finish. Every time I did, I would curse myself for not

Now I rely on option 2, and make sure to de-tack the tape before applying, and sometimes I use a hair dryer to soften the bond before removing.

I really wanted option 3 to work, but they were always too much of a pain.
 




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