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How to repair a dent in maple fretboard?

5/18/2005 2:48 AM
Erik Lion
How to repair a dent in maple fretboard?
During the weekend we shared the stage with another band who managed to tip over a keyboard flightcase onto a strat.  
The result was a 1 inch long dent in the maple fretboard betwen - and parrallel with - the 3th and 4th frets. The lacquer is cracked somewhat, but mostly the wood is pressed in.  
The neck is a very nice V-shape 57 RI MIM - serial no MZ2112839.  
Any advise on how to repair?  
What type of lacquer are we talking about?  
5/18/2005 4:06 AM

Doesn't sound like an easy solution. How do effectively fill in a flat wooden spot that gets rubbed by strings and fingers alot? Wood filler? I doubt it. Shave the entire neck down to match the damaged level? I doubt it. To have the lacquer adhere properly, wouldn't you have to remove the existing lacquer before applying the new? And, how do you get a liquid to spread out flat when theres a dent? It seems it would just keep settling into the dent, unless you applied many, many coats to bring the dented level of lacquer up to the point of the rest of the fretboard, then sanded it all down. And you'd still have a spot where it will probably wear faster.  
How about billing the dunderhead who destroyed it, for a new neck and costs of repair? What if YOU had destroyed one of THEIR guitars?  
I wouldn't feel guilty asking for payment. A musician, especially, should be aware that there is expensive, fragile equipment around them, and should be responsible enough to not bumble around other people's equipment, and damage it. They should know part of that responsibility involves paying for damage they caused to other people's gear, whether intentional or not. If they can't be careful in those situations, they shouldn't be allowed on stage. At the very least, I'd bill them for the repair services of a very good luthier, if the fretboard can, indeed, be repaired.  
Any "musician" who feels no responsibility if they damage another's gear deserves what terrible fate that will eventually come around to haunt them.  
That's my take on it.  
5/18/2005 4:39 AM
Erik Lion

Hi Brad1 - thanks for the reply.  
Re responsability - paying for damage - ect.  
I totally agree, but in the real world it's often not that simple - for several reasons. For instance, in my situation nobody actually saw what happened - when/how/why/who tipped the f****** flightcase.  
Apart from that - you've summed up all my concerns re the repair pretty good - that' s the reason I was hopping for some advise here. Anyone?  
This particular guitar is used for rythmplaying only - so no stringbending ect. - I guess that means a little less wear/stress an a possibly repair.  
5/18/2005 9:11 AM
Patrick Smith

wow that sucks :( As mentioned, kind of a tough nut to crack as far as filling it. How deep it the dent? If it's not too deep you may get away with filling it with polyeurethane or something similar, putting coat after coat into the dent until it comes up to the level of the surrounding finish. Then you could wet sand the whole area down flat so it matches what's around it. It would be slow going and take a lot but i think it could be done. once you have it level/filled then you could rough up the area a bit and shoot a couple coats of lacquer on it to make it now match the rest of the fretboard.  
Obviously i'm guessing here and doing some handwaving but i don't really see any other way. Just a thought.  
PS-sorry they did that to your axe :( The other alternative would be to continue the beating up process and turn it into a relic :)
5/18/2005 11:09 AM
Erik Lion

The dent isn't that deep. Without actually measuring it - I would say aprox in metric < 1 mm, which must be something like 1/32 inch.  
I was considering something like the suggested procedure, but I have a few doubts:  
Shall I remove the lacquer on the entire pressed in area - when it's cracked, it may be loose?  
What would be the best filler. I thinks there's a 2-component glue that get very hard when dry - would that be an idea?  
Would the filled dent need any laquer at all?  
If laquer is needed what should I use - what type is used on MIM RI's?  
5/18/2005 12:43 PM
Mark Lavelle

Is it actually unplayable? If so, exactly why? If not, why not just let it be?
5/18/2005 1:09 PM

some steam like from a tea kettle might help. I've used it to bring up dents on cabinets with some success. Its an old capenter's trick. no gauantees but a cheap and easy try.
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