For me, epoxy is nearly obsolete for guitar making use. How about you?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Terry McInturff, Nov 6, 2017.


  1. Laurent Brondel

    Laurent Brondel Supporting Member

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    Yes, a lot of builders use epoxy as a pore filler. You apply it with a squeegee, or a razor blade. It's a pain to sand and level though…
    To imitate the Fullerplast I prefer to use a phenolic or poly oil varnish.

    Epoxy has a lot of uses in luthiery, like HHG its main advantage is lack of cold creep, which makes it handy for gluing fretboard, especially on basses. On top of the fact that it doesn't introduce moisture in the joint and that unlike all other glues it has integrity (for structural epoxy), which can be useful for desperate repairs.

    That being said I rarely use it, sometimes for inlays as epoxy can be easily coloured with Transtint type dyes, unlike CA.

    For fretwork CA is way more practical, just wax the fretboard prior to fretting and the squeeze out will clean up easily.
     
  2. pickdropper

    pickdropper Supporting Member

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    As probably the only non-luthier in this thread, I can't help but be curious: do you run into issues with epoxy yellowing over time? I know some formulas are UV stabilized to prevent that, but even those seem to yellow to some degree. I've used optically clear epoxies (for other applications) that still slightly (or not so slightly) and the samples I retained all yellowed to varying degrees over the years.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
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  3. hogy

    hogy Member

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    What would you use to glue a titanium rod into a neck? Asking for a friend.
     
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  4. Laurent Brondel

    Laurent Brondel Supporting Member

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    If it's a non-adjustable rod, HHG, medium or thick CA or… epoxy.
     
  5. Grez

    Grez Gold Supporting Member

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    CA in more places than you'ed think. Epoxy seems to get used randomly in making fixtures or other one off needs but not part of any of my build schedules any longer.
     
  6. hogy

    hogy Member

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    You guys sure do like superglue.
     
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  7. murkat

    murkat I like sea otters Silver Supporting Member

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    I use epoxy, but it is usually not just epoxy alone. It is just part of the cocktail recipe.
     
  8. s2y

    s2y Member

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    Coating the fingerboards of fretless basses.
     
  9. Jonny Hotnuts

    Jonny Hotnuts Member

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    I use an epoxy safe roller and a chip brush to get into tight spots. As long as you have enough build it doesnt matter how it looks because after it cures you will level it down with a DA or random orbital. Sure it could be shot but I am not willing to run it through any of my rigs.

    The epoxy I use allows for recoating after 'x' amount of time to get additional build without any 'after cure' prep. If it goes beyond its 'flash time' (Ok, not really flashing) wiping down with acetone breaks the wax and allows for additional coats to stick without delam; no need to sand to recoat after cure as long as you dewax. Most of the time I put a few coats on bare wood and allow it to cure. Some woods keeps trying to eat up the epoxy until it cures. After it cures additional coats are pure build because nothing is going to soak through the first coat after it cures.

    -Back in the day at Peavey we used a high build polyester base coat we would shoot to seal and provide enough build that we could level sand and begin to shoot color and clear. I have tried a few similar products but they are not opaque. I started using epoxy and found it was almost identical to fullerplast in end result. They dont build as fast as the polyester but I am also not trying to crank out a few hundred guitars a day.

    After it cures it seals and protects the body. It also fills any dings, dents or scratch imperfections in the body. It provides the perfect base to accept ANY paint going on it. Also....epoxy is clear. So is Fullerplast. If a person wanted to do a vintage PRE CBS paint reproduction one would only need to dye the body yellow, apply 4-5 coats of epoxy, level sand and then do a solid or sunburst.
    Its funny because its for all the above reasons is exactly why Fender used Fullerplast back in the day.


    Someone mentioned that epoxy yellows. This is true but so will any clear coat applied over it if exposed to sunlight. I have had guitars for 15 years that had epoxy base coats they look as good as they did the day they were finished....but I keep 'em out of the sunshine for very long. (*as I do ALL my guitars).


    I know what I am saying might sound crazy but I have found it works absolutely perfect.

    Here is a guitar I just finished that used the above technique:

    [​IMG]

    Also note that this guitar was not even buffed or polished at this stage. I have developed a technique that eliminates almost 100% of sanding/buffing. I did do some sanding/buffing after finding out the guitar played right (I wasnt going to spend a whole lot of time with it if the neck was not going to play nice [vintage danno].

    ~JH
     
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  10. sfguitarworks

    sfguitarworks Member

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    I ONLY use it on really high-end neck resets. After I fit the dovetail, and get that angle right, I don't want anybody messing with it.
     
  11. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    wait, what?
     
  12. sfguitarworks

    sfguitarworks Member

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    Just kidding. Glad somebody's awake out there!
     
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  13. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    OK, second occasion in a long time.

    regluing a martin bridge made of that richlite stuff ("mother of bowling ball"); google led me to a frank ford post from like '15 recommending epoxy, saying that the bridge material was mostly phenolic resin so wood glue wasn't gonna stick to it.
     
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  14. John Coloccia

    John Coloccia Cold Supporting Member

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    I mainly used epoxy for making jigs and fixtures. Other than that, just occasionally some black epoxy for inlays in ebony or blackwood, though honestly I usually just CA those too. I don't have anything in particular against epoxy, but it just doesn't really have optimal properties. For example, there's no quick, initial tack...that makes some glue ups difficult. It requires a certain bond line thickness or you end up with a weak joint. That's normally the opposite of what we're trying to do (tightest joints possible) so why not use glues that support that? It's practically impossible to make a starved PVA or HHG joint at less than industrial clamping pressures, but it's very easy to squeeze out and starve an epoxy joint with normal woodworking clamps. You really need to wear gloves and other protective gear or you risk developing an allergic reaction. I just spread PVA with my pinky.

    I'm having a really hard time thinking of good reasons to use epoxy if it's not required for material compatibility or gap filling/fillet strength. I use it all the time in other woodworking I do (pool cue building for example) and there are some great epoxies out there but it's really a matter of matching the glue to the application.
     
  15. KSL

    KSL Supporting Member

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    Because of this, I cant find any reputated techs to replace the fretboard on my PRS.
     
  16. Ron Thorn

    Ron Thorn Gold Supporting Member

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    Yep,
    20 years ago I jigged up two PRS guitars in a Bridgeport and milled the fretboards off. Not fun, especially when you unexpectedly hit the 1/4" diameter steel dowel pins that they use to orientate the board to the neck....wham!
     
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  17. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    Haha! Been there too! lol
     
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  18. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    why would you want to replace the fretboard on your PRS?
     
  19. KSL

    KSL Supporting Member

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    I sufficiently somehow worn out the rosewood fretboard to where it feels a bit rough. Luckily there's stainless steel frets on the fretboard! I also perfer the feel and snappiness of ebony which I think will add some clarity when mated with the rosewood neck.
     
  20. Rich b in tempe

    Rich b in tempe Member

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    Well, after waidding thru all the comments about epoxe, NOT ONE OF YOU HAS SAID WHAT KIND OF EPOXE YOU USE??!! Certainly not the home-depot stuff!! Tell me, are you useing WEST SYSTEMS??
     

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