Anybody else noticed how the Asian glues seem to be getting stronger and stronger?

I started a job today on a Jackson: The client wanted to upgrade to an ebony fretboard from rosewood, and fretted with jumbo frets instead of the narrow wire that the old fretboard had. 

So: I get out my trusty LMI heat blanket, clamp it up, plug it in, and wait. Tried to get a start on the joint with the thinnest spatula that I chance. More chance. Not even the remotest sign of the joint starting to give. So..time to get out the big guns.

Using a heat gun, and measuring 140°C on the surface of the 'board, it took me two sweaty hours to remove the fretboard, using the spatula you can see in the pictures, with wooden grips to protect my hands when pulling it towards me with all my strength. At one point I was contemplating obtaining plastic explosive to get the job done :-)

The best bit is, as I finally had it apart, there was so little visible glue in the joint that I can't begin to even hazard a guess as to what they could've used, the only thing I can say for sure is: it sure does bond :-)

Thoughts anybody? 

Views: 619


Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Grahame;having absolutly no experience with what you described my only thought is they didn't want it to come apart.At least your still alive and got your project started.Good luck Lonnie

When it turns out like this, I remove the frets and sandbelt/plane the fretboard out. Less time consuming ad easier than a two hour sweating hell of a time.

Yep, Yamaha Bass rosewood on maple fretboard removal (removal was the original plan) - it was a surplus shop neck with a broken truss rod and it remained so after the first hour of sweating and swearing (both ineffective).  Some kind of epoxy maybe, but it sure is heat and muscle resistant.  Pierre is on the money and I've put a few necks over the jointer since.  Rusty.

G'day Rusty

Yeah, I did think about getting the Wagner mean safety planer out, but the Jackson has a setneck, and one of those extreme flying vee bodies where the upper bout is very long and unwieldy, and then, you know how it is: You get stuck into a job, and lose sight of the alternatives. And then, of course, the thought of having to turn a perfectly good piece of rosewood into sawdust, somehow it always hurts a bit: Good wood is hard to find here in Germany, and expensive too: The pre-slotted ebony blank for the replacement 'board cost nearly € 70, I'd only save about €10 if I slotted it myself, so it isn't worth the trouble. And the guy I order it from has a CNC fret slot cutter, so it turns out more accurately slotted than me doing it with my mitre box and StuMac saw. And now the old 'board is off, and in one piece: nice old rosewood for doing small repairs etc. Next time I'll save time by using the heat gun from the start :-)

After everything is said and done and this thread is long forgotten, I will be wondering what glue was actually used for this.... 

Wood isn't that expensive in Germany... ever checked Ebony fingerboard blank for only 10-15 Euros.

I am in Taiwan and I use them because they are actually cheaper than LMI for some species (like Euro spruce and maple)

I ran into this same problem. I had the fingerboard smoking and it still would not budge. I believe it ended being cyanoacrylate because out of frustration I put some super glue debonder on my spatula and it ate right through the glue. I didn't have much scraping to do to get the shaft clean for regluing. I guess when you have jigs like they do at these factories this isn't such a bad idea for production work. It evidently is extremely strong!


I've taken many fingerboards off in the past even on imported guitars and my method is to use a heat lamp and a very simply, useful tool from Stewmac which is called a Seam Separation Knife for $8.67. It seemed effortless. Just a thought.


Thanks Michael,  yep, that's one of the tried and true methods and we all have similar rigs for the normal work - what bother us in this thread is that there is a variety of glues used these days that do not respond to normal ranges of heat and mechanical separation procedures and these are causing problems with what has traditionally been a straight forward heat and separate gig.


© 2022   Created by Frank Ford.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service