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Fingerboard moved during glue-up - can it be rescued?

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jamesbisset
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I glued and clamped the fingerboard to the neck yesterday. This morning, after taking the clamps and caul off, I find the fingerboard has twisted off axis by about 1.5mm. 

I reckon it happened like this:

I have a little home made glue spreader (credit card with slots cut). It is (or I am) a little too generous with the glue.

The neck was in the vice, fingerboard positioned with pins and caul in place. I clamped up with 5 F clamps and then realised that, because the neck was in the bench vice, I’d put all the vices on the same side. So I quickly took the assembly off the vice and moved a couple of clamps around the other side to distribute the pressure.

There was quite a lot of squeeze-out, so I ended up wrestling this ungainly thing of clamps and wood around on the bench trying to get excess glue out.

I suspect one of the clamps took a knock and the fingerboard just slid a little.

I was very, very close to gluing the fingerboard caul to the fingerboard too. Again, this wouldn’t have been an issue if I’d kept the assembly in the vice.

It’s very difficult to take illustrative photos because of the wide-angle lens distortion. But that hasn’t stopped me.

IMG 9009
IMG 9010
IMG 9012
IMG 9011

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Boo
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Posted by: @jamesbisset

I glued and clamped the fingerboard to the neck yesterday. This morning, after taking the clamps and caul off, I find the fingerboard has twisted off axis by about 1.5mm. 

I reckon it happened like this:

I have a little home made glue spreader (credit card with slots cut). It is (or I am) a little too generous with the glue.

The neck was in the vice, fingerboard positioned with pins and caul in place. I clamped up with 5 F clamps and then realised that, because the neck was in the bench vice, I’d put all the vices on the same side. So I quickly took the assembly off the vice and moved a couple of clamps around the other side to distribute the pressure.

There was quite a lot of squeeze-out, so I ended up wrestling this ungainly thing of clamps and wood around on the bench trying to get excess glue out.

I suspect one of the clamps took a knock and the fingerboard just slid a little.

I was very, very close to gluing the fingerboard caul to the fingerboard too. Again, this wouldn’t have been an issue if I’d kept the assembly in the vice.

It’s very difficult to take illustrative photos because of the wide-angle lens distortion. But that hasn’t stopped me.

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I would be tempted to heat up the board and remove it, 1.5mm is a lot I think. You could redraw your centre line but it will throw the nut out as well and may cause a problem with the strings leaving the nut and into the tuners. Your pickup cavities and bridge would be out of line too and cause a lot of intonation problems. The amount of things you would have to adjust completely outweighs the benefit of taking the board off, cleaning everything up and regluing it. Whatever you do to fix this, it’s going to be a hassle but redoing the board is less hassle in the long run, in my opinion. It’s a setback and a pain in the arse but worth doing, and it’s the experience of redoing a board. 👍 

Good luck. 👍

 

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jamesbisset
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I asked GPTChat too:

 
If you've glued your guitar fingerboard to the neck, and it's misaligned, there are a few things you can try to fix the issue:
  1. Remove the fingerboard: This is a drastic solution, but if the misalignment is severe, it may be necessary. To remove the fingerboard, use a thin blade or a chisel to carefully separate it from the neck. Be careful not to damage the neck or the fingerboard.

  2. Adjust the fret slots: If the misalignment is minor, you may be able to adjust the fret slots to compensate for the misalignment. Use a small file or a saw to widen the slots on one side of the fingerboard and narrow them on the other side until the fingerboard is aligned properly.

  3. Use a heat gun: If the fingerboard is glued on with hide glue, you may be able to loosen the glue by applying heat with a heat gun. Be careful not to overheat the wood or damage the finish on the neck.

  4. Use a damp cloth: If the fingerboard is glued on with water-soluble glue, you may be able to loosen the glue by applying a damp cloth to the joint. Be careful not to over-saturate the wood, which could cause swelling or other damage.

Regardless of which method you choose, it's important to take your time and be careful not to damage the neck or the fingerboard. If you're unsure about how to proceed, it may be best to seek the help of a professional guitar repair person.

Now, that’s scary.

 

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Rocknroller912
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@jamesbisset 

I know I’m a smart ass being wise after the event but I use water based glue for anything I might want to remove.

Some people call me a tool, others are less complimentary. Tools being useful things.


   
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Boo
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@rocknroller912 Smart arse! 😂

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Rocknroller912
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@boo 

Ive learned the hard way

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jamesbisset
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Posted by: @rocknroller912

I use water based glue for anything I might want to remove.

I used Titebond Original. 

Thing is, technically, the only thing that’s going to be squint is the tuner holes. The neck hasn’t been profiled and the body hasn’t been built yet, so everything with the exception of the headstock can be finished to conform to the fingerboard centreline rather than the neck centreline.

IMG 9014

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NSJ
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Posted by: @jamesbisset

I glued and clamped the fingerboard to the neck yesterday. This morning, after taking the clamps and caul off, I find the fingerboard has twisted off axis by about 1.5mm. 

I reckon it happened like this:

I have a little home made glue spreader (credit card with slots cut). It is (or I am) a little too generous with the glue.

The neck was in the vice, fingerboard positioned with pins and caul in place. I clamped up with 5 F clamps and then realised that, because the neck was in the bench vice, I’d put all the vices on the same side. So I quickly took the assembly off the vice and moved a couple of clamps around the other side to distribute the pressure.

There was quite a lot of squeeze-out, so I ended up wrestling this ungainly thing of clamps and wood around on the bench trying to get excess glue out.

I suspect one of the clamps took a knock and the fingerboard just slid a little.

I was very, very close to gluing the fingerboard caul to the fingerboard too. Again, this wouldn’t have been an issue if I’d kept the assembly in the vice.

It’s very difficult to take illustrative photos because of the wide-angle lens distortion. But that hasn’t stopped me.

 

I would see how things line up as in can you still make the neck to the shape you intended.

 

I haven't had much luck separating titebond glued things. Tend to cause more harm than good.

 


   
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jamesbisset
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Posted by: @nsj

I haven't had much luck separating titebond glued things. Tend to cause more harm than good.

If I could rescue the neck and get a replacement fingerboard that might be the way forward. If I don’t, I still have to clean up the fingerboard edge where it almost got stuck to the caul. But of course, the longer I leave it while I think about it, the worse it’s going to be. 

*sighs*

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tv1
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I agree with @Boo.

Firstly because it'd mean more work for James, but secondly (and, TBH, the main reason) because you want to do the job right if possible, and this isn't too hard to fix.

I'd remove the fretboard and re-attach it (if it's salvageable) or use another one (if it's not).  If you can't melt it off, then get the planer out and remove it piece by (little) piece. 

Looks like you cut a couple of the fret slots in the wrong places anyway.

😉

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Posted by: @rocknroller912

@jamesbisset 

I know I’m a smart ass being wise after the event 

And - before you make your next mistake - check with Bill first.

 

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NSJ
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@jamesbisset if a replacement fretboard isn't a problem then yeh, I'd go with getting it off even if it got ruined.

 

With factory fretboards I've managed to remove a couple but titebond seems proper tight! Lol


   
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Rocknroller912
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@jamesbisset 

I once removed a bridge that was glued with Titebond type glue from a factory guitar using a domestic iron and some brown paper. Heat does soften the glue but you have to be patient and go slowly to allow the heat to penetrate.

This post was modified 8 months ago by Rocknroller912

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darrenking
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Hi James, take it off and start again. You’ll spend more time trying to compensate all the other parts than if you just strip the fretboard off and glue another one on in the right place. Going with a compromised build is always going to be at the front of your mind every time you look at it and it will never be an instrument you pick up first. It’ll just bug you too much!

Good luck

Darren


   
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jamesbisset
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Thanks for the recommendations and encouragement folks. I’ve decided to go on with the neck as it is. This is my first ever full build and it’s effectively a prototype. I’d rather keep going and accumulate all the f**k ups and then the next one will be the good one! 

I’ve started the neck carve, and already I’m thinking about how I would modify Mark’s instructions if I want an asymmetric neck profile. 

The heel won’t extend beyond the 21st fret so the centreline is still defined only by the fingerboard. The tuners will be around 1mm out of alignment. The body isn’t even built yet.

So, I’m thinking this is going to be my equivalent of Les Paul’s log. It’s a proof of concept, and it’s also a training exercise. If I can play it afterwards, that’s a bonus. 😉 

IMG 9025

Finally got a name for this model though - the Bisset Bodge! 😆 

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Robin
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@jamesbisset 

Thanks for the recommendations and encouragement folks. I’ve decided to go on with the neck as it is. This is my first ever full build and it’s effectively a prototype. I’d rather keep going and accumulate all the f**k ups and then the next one will be the good one! 

I think you're right to carry with this build as it is, I'm sure we all learn more from getting things wrong. My first build was purely intended to see If I had the skills needed, so I used whatever wood I could find, I never imagined that it would become a playable guitar. As it happens, it became my favourite guitar, well, until I built my second one.

 


   
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NSJ
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@jamesbisset That initial carve, instead of a 1/3 in on both sides, go in a 1/4 on one side and a 1/3 on the other. Or do a 1/3 in on each side at the nut then alter it further up. Is it musicman who do that?

I'm going to try more of a V on my latest build.


   
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jamesbisset
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@nsj Because my sides aren’t profiled yet (and squint after the fingerboard mishap) I measured the facets 14.66mm out from the new centerline and then nudged them a couple of mm to the thumb side. But by the time I’ve straightened up all the facets I’ll probably have lost it and I’ll end up tweaking it by feel.

I might plane the neck sides now to take them down to the fingerboard before I go much further with the neck profile. 

But yes, I’m very interested to find out what kind of profile the Bailey facets technique is going to give me, and how and when you should manipulate it to get C, D, U or V style necks.

(No jokes about v-necks please @tv101)

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NSJ
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@jamesbisset He said on the live he did on carving the neck. Initial facets are about a 3rd in at the heel then run the line down the neck with your finger aginst the side. Then about the fretboard thickness up from the fret board. That initial carve gives you the general shape. He said that's for a C shape but you can move those lines on the back of the neck to make more of a V or D.

 

But, you could also just move them off to one side and that will put you off centre, asymetric.

 

You could just move the heel end starting points but leave the nut end at a 3rd. That way the carve will go asymetric as you go up the neck and so on.

 

Here's the video

 

https://www.youtube.com/live/7rSiFbEZao8?feature=share


   
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jamesbisset
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Posted by: @nsj

Here's the video

I never thought I’d say this, but - Happy Days 🙂

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