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The soldering iron is probably not getting hot enough. I spent 10 bucks on a wood burning pencil from the craft store and it works like a charm.
Ooops, wrong spot.
I've always burned the lines before finishing, but that won't help you at this point unless you want to sand the poly all the way off the fingerboard. I'd say you need yourself some more watts.
I use a similar lower wattage iron and a chisel tip rather than the point. I usually have to press the chisel into the wood and hold, then move to the next spot, press, hold, etc. It makes a nice rustic line, but does take awhile.
I use my tri-square as a guide to keep the line roughly straigh, but not too straight.
I don't think it's a problem. A nice rustic look. Which is a nice way to say purposely crappy. But I like it and I think it adds character to the neck. If you want perfect lines then use frets. Just my opinion.
I use a scraper and a blow torch. I built a jig that I lay the fret board in and heat the scraper in the middle till it turns red then I drag it through the jig. I get straight even depth lines every time. You can just hold it in place and press down but you have to get more of the blade hot. I've never been able to get nice even lines with the wood burner. If you try it, use a thicker scraper, the cheap thin ones will warp as soon as it heats up.
You should have done it on bare wood, the finish will keep the wood from burning until it melts the finish away too. I would go get a wood burning tool, I think they work better. All mine are burnt and I have burned them in over finished wood it just takes longer to heat. I would suggest sanding the fretboard some more to make it easier, then put on more urathane. good luck, it will work.
I like that. I will give it a try in the future. Sounds a lot faster than burning. Would be interesting to maybe double score each fret line about .020-.040"[.5-1mm] apart.
I've also used a brown sharpie marker followed by clear poly. I should have let the marker cure for a day or 2 because the wet poly did make the lines feather out a bit.
Cut lines for your fret marks, burn the whole top then sand it back so just the lines show.