Maple Fretboard clear coat help

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JimP
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Maple Fretboard clear coat help

Post by JimP » 12 May 2018, 15:38

Hi guys. I made the mistake of trying to surprise my son yesterday by cleaning the fretboard on his beloved '57 AVRI Stratocaster. After reading at least half a dozen posts on different guitar forums saying that it's safe to clean finger grime off a maple fretboard with denatured alcohol (methylated spirits) I gave it a go. I only got as far as the first fret, where where the meths has dissolved the clear coat and left a patch of bare timber on the fretboard (not sure how clear this is in the pic below). I'm feeling gutted for him and pretty stupid myself.

What's the best way to repair this? I'm happy to have a go myself or take it to a pro, whatever will get the best result. Any guidance much appreciated. Thanks :thumbup:

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Phil
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Re: Maple Fretboard clear coat help

Post by Phil » 12 May 2018, 17:33

It looks to me like you dissolved a spot of tinted lacquer. If that's the case there's no easy fix except to spray a coat of tinted lacquer that exactly matches the colour of the neck over it, after having cleaned the whole 1st fret area and masking off the rest of the neck of course. Definitely not easy and best left to a pro if you really want to get it fixed.

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JimP
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Re: Maple Fretboard clear coat help

Post by JimP » 12 May 2018, 18:55

Thanks for your advice and expertise Phil. I'll track down a local builder as you suggest :thumbup:
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BazzBass
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Re: Maple Fretboard clear coat help

Post by BazzBass » 13 May 2018, 12:45

as far as cleaning the rest of the board, an electric toothbrush with a circular brush motion with just warm water scrubs even the toughest grime, and won't damage the finish.
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Re: Maple Fretboard clear coat help

Post by bassbass » 13 May 2018, 13:17

Wow. I'm surprised by this. If this finish is dissolved with metho, well I guess it could only be either some water-based modern finish, or a shellac finish, which is very old fashioned. Or maybe even just a hard wax finish. I'd expect neither of these on a fender neck. And in such a thin application... :?: Perhaps a re-issue is finished this way so it does patina and "relic" rapidly.

But without seeing this in person, I'd think a little shellac applied with an airbrush would do the trick.

You may be able to tint some carnauba wax furniture polish and apply it locally. Or even a careful application of a liquid furniture polish, that is amber in colour, may get the colour you need.

Whatever you do, though, you must practise on a piece of scrap maple.
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JimP
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Re: Maple Fretboard clear coat help

Post by JimP » 13 May 2018, 15:59

BazzBass wrote:
13 May 2018, 12:45
as far as cleaning the rest of the board, an electric toothbrush with a circular brush motion with just warm water scrubs even the toughest grime, and won't damage the finish.
Good advice thanks Bazz, I'll give that a go.

My son also ordered some Dunlop 65 guitar polish & cleaner on ebay... anyone have experience with that for a maple fretboard? Or is warm water and a toothbrush just as good?

As for repairing the damage I've already done, I think I'll quit while I'm ahead (though I don't think that's quite the right turn of phrase here) and leave it to a pro :/
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JimP
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Re: Maple Fretboard clear coat help

Post by JimP » 24 May 2018, 07:18

bassbass wrote:
13 May 2018, 13:17
Wow. I'm surprised by this. If this finish is dissolved with metho, well I guess it could only be either some water-based modern finish, or a shellac finish, which is very old fashioned. Or maybe even just a hard wax finish. I'd expect neither of these on a fender neck. And in such a thin application... :?: Perhaps a re-issue is finished this way so it does patina and "relic" rapidly.
Turns out it is a thin nitro finish which I think is supposed to be period correct for the '57 strat. Had I bothered to RTFM in the first place instead of turning to the internet, I could have avoided this whole little drama! I found a local guy who's a woodworker and builds some unique & unusual guitars as a sideline/passion. He fixed it up with a few coats of varnish (I think that's what he ended up using). The patch is still visible, now a bit darker than the surrounding finish, but it's a big improvement and the fretboard is sealed and protected again. Plus he cleaned the rest of the fretboard, filed the nut, adjusted the tremolo bridge, changed the strings and adjusted the intonation all for nix! Great guy!
Fender 62 AVRI Jazz, Ampeg V4B, Ampeg SVT 212

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Re: Maple Fretboard clear coat help

Post by basshack » 24 May 2018, 08:29

All's well that ends well and nice that it didn't cost you anything. Did you throw a slab his way? It used to be the currency of choice on a building site for favours.
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JimP
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Re: Maple Fretboard clear coat help

Post by JimP » 24 May 2018, 11:21

Sorry... I did pay for the repair. He might have factored the other adjustments into his price, but it was cool that he went over and above to set the guitar up properly and the price was very reasonable anyway!
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