Building a neck/reclaiming a fretboard and truss rod

While waiting for parts to arrive in order to complete some guitars, I decided to remove an ebony fretboard and truss rod from a neck that I built (but will not use) and use them to complete a neck blank. Recycling is good! The neck blank was ready for headstock binding as well, so I decided to get out the ol' clothing iron and have a old time fretboard removal/headstock binding party. Here's how it went:

 Set the iron on its highest setting and start at the end of the fretboard. I used a t-shirt rag between the iron and the fretboard. If you're going to do this, leave the frets in; it'll help transfer the heat from the iron and get the glue softened up. This task isn't particularly difficult, but it does take time to heat the glue up enough so that you can separate the fretboard from the neck. 

While the iron does its job, I got to work on binding the headstock. I'd add a strip, then go back to the iron and work on the fretboard removal, and then repeat.

Just about done!

Now the fretboard is off; next step is getting the truss rod out (pretty simple, it mostly just lifts out).


I clamped the fretboard to a flat surface to keep it nice and flat and prevent any curling that may occur, and you can see how the neck should look when complete. 

The next evening, I scraped the binding flush with the ebony and pulled the frets. The fretboard will need to be trimmed so that it can be bound, and you definitely don't want to rout a fretboard with stainless steel frets in it; be nice to your router bits!


Starting to look more like a neck!


Scraping binding

Hi Sully,

I just watched your video on scraping binding.  I understand that there are two ways to deal with binding and the color coats.  First, you can spray the color on the binding and then scrape it off, or second, completely tape off the binding.  Is this right?

What about the clear?  Do you do the same or do you completely cover the binding with clear and not scrape it off?  Thanks.


As far as I'm concerned, you should always tape off binding. The issue that you can run into is that the top of the binding (that you see when looking at the face of the guitar) can be challenging to mask off because it’s such a small strip. The general idea is to mask the binding off, shoot your color, then scrape the binding on the face of the guitar. Binding is not scraped after clear coats; it should be covered just like the color.