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Repair fret slot cutted in wrong position


mario
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Hi,

Recently I was cutting frets slots with a jig I made myself, but I made a mistake and cutted a fret slot in a wrong position.

¿ Is there a solution to repair this wrong slot or do I have to use a new fretboard ? (this is ebony).

Thank you


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Boo
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@mario Hey Mario, hope you are well. 

It’s ok, don’t panic, you can fix this mistake. You can fill the slot or slots with some thin veneer, glue them in. You could also fill the slot with wood filler or glue and sawdust. Whichever option you take, sand it all flush and smooth with the rest of the fretboard and then cut the new slot in the right place. 

I think using veneer is the best option. 

Can you show us a picture? 

Hope this helps and let us know if you have any more questions and/or need any more help. 👍

Boo. 

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


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Boo
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@mario Where are you in the world? 

If you are in the UK, maybe @darrenking could suggest a suitable veneer maybe. 👍

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


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mario
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@boo

IMG 20220119 185132

Here is a picture. It was the first time I was testing my jig, and in the slot nº16, I thought I was in the right position but in fact the fretboard was standing upon my guide (a small piece of metal), the result is that the depth of the slot is about 4mm (the thickness of the fretboard is 6mm).

In the picture, in the angle of the fretboard you can appreciate a small line written with a pencil to show where the slot should be.

I like this piece of ebony, and would like to repair it, so I appreciate your comments, where can I find a suitable veener?

I live in Spain. Thanks


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darrenking
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Hi @mario,

If it were me, and I had only just started working on the fretboard, I think I would decide to start again. It will be almost impossible to repair this without it being visible and there is an awful lot of work in the rest of the guitar to compromise it for the sake of a £20 or £30 piece of ebony.

If you do want to repair it then you could try making up an ebony dust (from the same fretboard that you are repairing) and epoxy (not 5 minute) paste using as much dust and as little epoxy as you can get away with. The problem of putting in a piece of veneer is partly one of matching the colour but also that the grain would be running at 90° to the grain of the fretboard and this is likely to show up quite clearly.

Good luck

Darren

@boo I see that I'm still hanging in at No10 but it's slightly uncomfortable not knowing how close No 11 is getting though!! 🤣 🤣 


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Robin
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@mario 

I like this piece of ebony, and would like to repair it, so I appreciate your comments, where can I find a suitable veener?

Do you have any offcuts from your ebony that you can sand a pile of dust from to mix with glue to fill the slot, maybe use black superglue. 


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mario
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Hi @darrenking ,

In the case I buy a new fretboard. Do you recommend me a way to "recycle" the first fretboard. Can I use it for another purpose ?


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Rocknroller912
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@mario

Wlll the fretboard have edge binding. If so and you have spare material in the length then you could cut it through at the 15th fret and make the fretboard in two pieces discarding the mistake. It’s not ideal but it was a standard repair technique at the Martin guitar factory in America at one time for removing necks from acoustic bodies. They did it at the 14th fret where neck joins body. 
If you wanted to do this then put a piece of veneer between the two lengths when gluing which will simulate the 15th fret slot. Mock the whole thing up on thin plastic or veneer with double sided tape to put it in the fret slotting jig. 
Even if you don’t have edge binding it will still work as you will only have a very small gap at the fretboard edge below the fret to fill in with dust and glue. I’ve used this method and it works ok.

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


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mario
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@rocknroller912 

It seems a good idea. When you said :

"put a piece of veneer between the two lengths when gluing which will simulate the 15th fret slot"

Do you mean that I should glue a small piece of veener of the same witdh of the slot width and with a thickness of about 4mm to left 2mm to insert the fret (the fretboard thickness is 6mm) ?

What sort of glue do you recommend me?

Have you tried to glue directly the two pieces of fretboard and then cut the fret slot in the join (without using veener) ?

Many thanks.


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Rocknroller912
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@marion 

I meant to set the veneer in loose but gluing would probably be better, leaving a small gap at the ends to fill with dust and glue. This can be made to look invisible with care. I would make it the same width as a fret so that the fret can be glued in.

Have you tried to glue directly the two pieces of fretboard and then cut the fret slot in the join (without using veener) ?

This looks a better idea if you glued with ordinary wood glue and used plastic or sticky tape as backing. Just be careful in the fret slotting jig.

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


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Boo
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Posted by: @mario

In the case I buy a new fretboard. Do you recommend me a way to "recycle" the first fretboard. Can I use it for another purpose ?

@mario So you are buying a new fretboard, that’s fine. 👍 

 

Definitely save the old fretboard, it can be used for many things in the future, just store it away somewhere for now. 👍

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


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WolframMalukker
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I see two options.

Cut a filler strip from the end of the fretboard that's the right width to fit the slot, (it'll be fragile as heck) and glue it in.

Cut the fingerboard all the way through the misplaced slot, lay it on a sheet of wax paper, and glue the two halves together, then proceed as it were a single piece.

(Or save this for when you've the confidence to fix it and make another fretboard!)


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darrenking
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Posted by: @mario

Do you recommend me a way to "recycle" the first fretboard.

When something similar happened to me I used the damaged fretboard to repair the mistakes I made in the next one! 🤣 🤣 🤣 

Seriously though, you have now got a dedicated stock of ebony that can be used for fretboard markers, headstock logos, neck heel cappings, rosettes etc. There will always be something it can be used for.

Darren


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darrenking
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Posted by: @wolframmalukker

Cut the fingerboard all the way through the misplaced slot, lay it on a sheet of wax paper, and glue the two halves together, then proceed as it were a single piece.

I am not sure that I would recommend doing this as the fretboard is such a key, structural, part of the neck (even though it is in compression once the instrument is strung) that having it made up of two pieces sounds like a bit of a risk. There is so much other time and money that goes into a build I don't see the point in compromising an entire instrument for such a relatively low cost piece piece of material.


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jamesalexandermcmillan
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Or:

cut the next slot where it should be then remove wood between the slots with a router to the depth of the slots and patch the gap with a piece of ebony and epoxy and sand the patch to the shape of the fingerboard. The frets will cover the change of wood. A join will be visible from the sides though. 
I’m not a qualified doctor though!

jim


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Boo
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Posted by: @jamesalexandermcmillan

Or:

cut the next slot where it should be then remove wood between the slots with a router to the depth of the slots and patch the gap with a piece of ebony and epoxy and sand the patch to the shape of the fingerboard. The frets will cover the change of wood. A join will be visible from the sides though. 

Yeah, this is feasible and a reasonable solution to the problem. Any of these solutions are a bit fiddly and time consuming. 

I think in this case, using a new fretboard is certainly the easiest choice. In other cases it may not be the best choice because of things like cost (budget) and if the fretboard was already glued onto the neck. It’s lucky (in this case) that it isn’t already glued to the neck. 

This is a good contribution to the conversation @jamesalexandermcmillan 👍

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


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mario
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Thank you for all the contributions, you have very good ideas.


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