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Thread: First build TL-1 Here we go!

  1. #31
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    I'd personally steer clear of a Dremel for this job. I just use sandpaper (P240, P400, P800) and then up through the micromesh grits. A Dremel runs far too fast for this type of task. Even the slower speed (which doesn't have much torque so the buffing wheel keeps slowing down) it is rotating very quickly and you can build up a lot of heat in milliseconds. This can loosen the frets in their slots (especially if they've been glued in) and it's so easy to slip with the Dremel, hit the fretboard and wear a scorched dent in the board. As a minimum you'd need to use a metal fret protector.

    But now is not the time to polish frets. You'll be applying Tru-Oil to the neck and board, which will get on the frets, so you'll need to scrape or sand that off which will mean re-polishing them.

    The amount of Tru-Oil used will depend on the finish you want. If you want a Fender-style full gloss, then you'll be looking at maybe 30 coats (with intermediate sanding). Or you can go with a more basic finish and keeping the wood feel and just use 3 or 4. The latter will wear through with use, so it will need maybe a yearly application of more Tru-Oil, but it's not an onerous task.

    Yes, I'd sand the neck first, just to make sure that there are no dents and to remove loose fibres. Actually, I'd probably apply one coat of Tru-Oil first, let that dry for a couple of days, and then sand, as the Tru-Oil should then show up any low spots by remaining shiny. The maple neck should be pretty smooth already, so no need to start with anything rough unless you discover and deep pits that you want to sand down to. I'd probably use P180 and then, if I was happy with the overall neck, maybe P240, but nothing finer. And sand with the grain. It's obviously easier to sand across the fretboard between the frets, but you will make scratch marks that are hard to remove. You are almost certain to scratch the frets doing this, so another reason to wait until the last moment before fret polishing.

    My one attempt to use a Dremel for fret polishing was on a maple board neck, and despite masking off the board, the Dremel moved slightly, tore off the masking tape and melted the finish in a fraction of a second. It took far longer to repair the damage than I would have saved by using the Dremel. If it can go wrong, it will.

  2. #32
    Thanks Simon,
    You've sold me on the non-use of my Dremel, I just watched a You Tube Vid of a Luthier endorsing it's use for polishing but I guess he forgets his level of expertise eclipses a novice!
    I probably do want a Fender like finish, so how long do I need to wait between each of the 30 coats of oil?

  3. #33
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    If you are a commercial luthier, then anything that saves time is a bonus. But using a Dremel to polish frets is always a risk and there is a learning curve. You save about 15 minutes at most.

    You just have to wait for the previous coat of Tru-Oil to dry. The coats don't have to be perfectly dry, just dry enough so that you can apply another coat without wiping off the coat underneath. And drying times will depend on ambient conditions (temperature, humidity, breeze) so there's no set period. You should be able to do at least three coats a day if you can do a morning, noon and evening application, or morning, early evening and late night. Some people have done a coat every hour. But like almost any non-catalysed finish, it will take time to harden properly after application before it's really ready to sand and polish.

    I'm not a Tru-Oil expert though, so others may advise differently.

  4. #34
    Mentor McCreed's Avatar
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    I am not a Tru Oil expert either by any means but have used it on 3 or 4 builds (bodies and/or necks).

    My experience has been 4 coats/day works well and fits into my schedule easy enough.
    I have done a minimum of 20 coats for the finish you describe. I have generally gone 24-28 total (I have lost count before and then go 1 or 2 extra just to be safe). I have seen others do as many as 50, but I don't have the patience for that.

    I will share a few points on my process and you take what you want from it:

    I don't sand between every coat. I don't sand any of the initial coats as at least the first 4 coats tend to just get absorbed into the timber. IF I do any sanding, it's not until the Tru Oil has started to build and there is a slight gloss beginning to appear (6-8 coats?) and even then, just a light knock down for any debris or uneven patches.
    The latter part is how I treat each subsequent coat - only sand if it absolutely needs it.

    Lastly, after my final coat, I let the Tru Oil cure for 14 days minimum before wet sanding & polishing.

    I should clarify when I use the word "sand" I actually don't use sandpaper (at least in this application) I use synthetic sanding pads (aka synthetic steel wool). They're available in varying coarseness and I just prefer using them in the finishing process.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  5. #35
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    Once I've sanded the neck and fretboard, I have discovered that a slot where the fret was inserted is open.
    Should I use wood filler here?
    It is obviously a very small opening
    There is also an even smaller slit where the fretboard joins the neck further down

  6. #36
    Mentor McCreed's Avatar
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    I use Timbermate for fret slot ends. (the "natural" colour for maple)
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  7. #37
    So after I began the spraying of my body, Pit Bull advised me that they wanted to replace my neck due to a fret issue.
    I've just removed the tape from the neck pocket and the new neck is a little big for the pocket
    Do I sand the pocket or the neck to get it to fit?
    Worried that if I sand the pocket I may do some paint damage around the edge
    Last edited by Andrew Maizels; 25-10-2020 at 07:06 AM.

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