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Old 10-11-2012, 07:15 PM   #1
W4RP1G
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Best approach to spraying a maple fretboard?

Ii'm gearing up to finish a maple fretboard just as soon as I get it fretted. Someone has advised me to just spray the finish(poly) over the frets and the scrape them off afterward. I guess this is how Fender does their MIA guitars.

I have mixed feelings about this. I've heard that it's actually beneficial to do this because it's seal the frets so well, and helps to hold them tightly in place. However, I think it looks kind of half-assed. And I plan to use a satin finish as well, so I'm not sure how that would look since the Fender's I've looked at used a gloss finish.

And upon inspection of my Ibanez and my MIM strat, it seems that there is no finish on the frets at all, which leads me to believe that they finished the fretboard BEFORE it was fretted. Is that the case? It seems like placing the fret on top of the finish is asking for trouble.

What is everyone's take on this?
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:24 AM   #2
sytharnia1560
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I always spray after frets are installed mainly because all the little finishing touches are done to the frets after instillation so if the lacquer is already on the board it might get damaged when filing the frets. Obviously you can tape up the board etc but it just seems like a lot more work. I don't even "sand" off the lacquer from the frets because after 2hrs playing it has all flaked off anyway
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:27 AM   #3
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If you fret after spraying then you'd probably have to use a press. I'd imagine hammering would crack the lacquer.

I haven't done it yet, but I'd fret and spray, then I'd take a sharp scalpel blade down either side of the frets. Angle the blade about 30 degrees from the fretboard. That way, any visible 'cuts' will actually be slightly under the fret.

I'm fairly certain I cleared the lacquer off of my MIA fretboard that way.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:37 AM   #4
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can you mask the frets? put masking tape on it then use an Xacto knife? you'd be able to polish the fretboard and the frets with the same buffing compounds.
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:56 AM   #5
Jason Jillard
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i install and level/dress the frets, then spray the lacquer, wet sand the lacquer, then scrape/ sand the frets to a high grit, buff the whole thing, then polish the frets.
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Old 10-12-2012, 02:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Jillard
i install and level/dress the frets, then spray the lacquer, wet sand the lacquer, then scrape/ sand the frets to a high grit, buff the whole thing, then polish the frets.


This is your best bet. It doesn't really matter if the lacquer gets on the frets, it would just get rubbed off through playing anyways.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:57 PM   #7
LexiconDevil
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^ yes it does but thats only the tops really.
a fret crowning file will make short work of any lacquer left on frets after spraying and leave them looking neat & tidy.

so yeah spray first then fretwork

Last edited by LexiconDevil : 10-12-2012 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 10-13-2012, 02:33 AM   #8
W4RP1G
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Thanks for the input everyone. I'm probably just going to spray it and then level the frets. Seems like that makes the most sense.
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