Re-fretting a Phenolic fretboard

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by deoreo, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. deoreo

    deoreo Member

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    I have an early 80's Washburn G-23V solidbody electric with a 24 fret, set neck. The fretboard is some kind of phenolic resin, or plastic. I believe, that in Washburn catalogs it was referred to as "carbonite."
    Anyways, I LOVE the guitar, but the middle frets are pretty flat, and measure about 0.032" and the first few frets have some pretty good divots in them.

    I am thinking about having it refretted with jumbos - like 6100 or 6105.

    Does this kind of board present any kind of special problems? Should I look for someone with experience on this type of board, or does it fret like a normal maple or rosewood one?
    Also, at the fret height above, can I get maybe one more level and crown?

    Ideally, I like to ship it to someone like Phil at Philtone for the royal treatment - stainless frets, PLEK job, the masters touch, etc....:cool:
    But want to get some info about it first.
     
  2. saltfuture

    saltfuture Member

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    Does the fretboard look anything like this?
    [​IMG]

    :D
     
  3. deoreo

    deoreo Member

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    Spike - HAHAHAHAHA - you know it kinda does!! :BEER
     
  4. pinner

    pinner Silver Supporting Member

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    I know that Peekamoose in NYC has lots of experience with steinberger necks which also have the same type of board. I would make sure who ever you send it to has at least some experience with it.
    Good Luck
    http://www.peekamoose.com/
     
  5. Bill Brasky

    Bill Brasky Senior Member

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    I've read that is a bowling ball material. Fretlight guitars use that or something similar they call their polymer fretboard. They say "Want different size frets? No problem, the polymer hold frets and allows repeated fret removal and installation without any degradation." You should be able to work on it without fear of it chipping.
     
  6. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    Phenolics don't pose any real obstacles to refrets. Actually they can be easier and less troublesome than many ebony and rosewood boards. They are certainly less comfortable with high heat than a wood board is, but this won't effect a refret. So no, they don't need any particular special attention in terms of a refret.
     
  7. deoreo

    deoreo Member

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    Thanks for the info everyone.

    pinner - thanks for the info on Peekamoose - since they have worked with this material before, and are relatively close (I'm in Ohio) I may look into sending it there.
     
  8. Soapbarstrat

    Soapbarstrat Senior Member

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    The only experience you need to be concerned with is just fret-work in general. Like Mr. Collins said, there's nothing out of the ordinary with doing a fret-job on this kind of material. Philtone can do it with both hands tied behind his back.
     
  9. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    This material can be prone to chipping .In fact Status basses replace the fretboard every time they do a re-fret but this dose seem a little OTT.
     
  10. khromo231

    khromo231 Guest

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    I know that the graphite/composite material used by many boutique bass makers chips like mad. The manufacturers will deny this in their ad copy, so beware. A lot of them use oversized kerfs and glue the frets in, so heat is usually necessary to get them out without destroying anything. The good news is that they are usually black, and very easy to touch up.
     

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