Hi, I will be re fretting one of my guitars shortly but also wish to remove the varnish that is covering the fretboard. I plan on oiling the rosewood and prefer the feel of timber under my fingers.I don't believe my fingers slide/glide well over the varnished fretboard

With the frets removed what will be the best way to remove the varnish?



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The treble side certainly seems to indicate prior removal of the fb extension.

Can you get light and a mirror inside? If its dowelled theres a chance the dowels went fully through the neck block. Not a definitive indicator of course, but its worth the minor effort.

I guess Id play a little with the fb extension and determine if it has been removed before. If so, off she comes. If not, I would rather not cut it right off, but rather excavate the fret section above where the dovetail would be. Two thin cuts from fret to fret, and one cut into each fret slot to join those. Afterward, replace the removed section and fill the kerf of the vertical cuts with wood that matches closely, or a wood dust/epoxy or ca mix.

Edit: try this first!

Drill your small hole into the fret slot where a dovetail gap should be and feel around with a guitar string, see what you can determine. Also pay close attention to the drill bit and the wood or whatever else it ejects.

Its a good idear to exhaust the non invasive and minimally invasive approaches first, obviously.

Good advice from Andrew.

Set neck Ibanez instruments from the 60's & 70's OFTEN used doweled neck joints.

Good observation, Andrew. Thanks :)

Which one? Lol

Andrew, I had a look inside at the neck block as you suggested and there is no sign of dowel protruding from the block. I am pretty confident the fb extension has been removed at some stage. The pics I sent are not that clear unfortunately. When I look down the fretboard from the bridge it also looks as though the fb extension "wedge"/packer was not shaped correctly therefore the fb extension seems to sit high in relation to where the extension meets the rest of the fretboard. My thinking is that the fb extension will need to be removed regardless so that the packing or wedge can be  reshaped. Am I making any sense here?

What type of saw do you recommend if the neck needs to be sawn off?.


Well Ive never had to cut a neck off of a guitar to be honest, but I think I MIGHT try one of these, or something similar.,42884

Note that these and many other flush cut saws have no set, so youll need patience. You could also use a different saw with a narrowish kerf and remove the set from one side by drawing it over a fine (600 - 1200) stone. In any case Id use a pull cut type saw to reduce binding, and therefore swearing. Theyre also thinner by nature since, being under tension, they dont require a thick blade for stiffness.

The same saw in Australia is around $70. Will have to buy something similar though. 

  I ended up removing the 15th fret and drilled a 1/16 hole hoping to find a dovetail pocket but no luck. I decided to remove the fb extension because I want to reshape the fb ext packing. I found the joint to be a square dovetail joint (refer to pics). The pocket was between14th and 15th fret so I would have never found it. There are definitely no dowels so with a square joint it looks as though the glue is all that is holding the neck to the body. I was able to fit 2  6" rulers down the pocket to the heel of the neck.

 Have you seen this type of joint before?


Not with such a short tenon and no other reinforcement like bolts or dowels.

Im not sure youll need a saw now. You may be able to get it off by other means. Might be epoxied though. Id probably get a hot knife into the joint a small ways and smell the glue.

What does epoxy smell like? When the term epoxy is used does that refer to a 2 pack type glue i.e Arildite Should I have a go at steaming it off first?

It would smell like... Well, burning epoxy lol. Yes epoxy is the two part stuff, thou Im not familiar with arildite. Epoxy will soften with heat but its still a bastard. It continues to hold on and doesnt fail like typical wood glues. Steam probably wont provide much advantage as it doesnt respond to moisture at all really. Since you have direct access hot knives would be your best bet provided it is in fact epoxy. Wont be an easy removal and youll need to be on your toes. Im not sure how much more I can tell you from here as things are going to get very hands on from this point. Youll want to double check that the heel isnt also glued to the sides of the guitar though.

Thanks Andrew for your advice. Greatly appreciated.




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