how to darken rosewood fingerboard?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by stevekim, Aug 16, 2002.


  1. stevekim

    stevekim

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2000
    Location:
    los angeles, ca
    is there something i can apply to my rosewood fingerboard to darken it up a bit? something that won't harm the wood, obviously.

    thanks,

    steve
  2. bassplayajew

    bassplayajew

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    Bethesda, MD
  3. ChaosGwar

    ChaosGwar

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    In a never ending spiral of despair
    In another thread Hambone mentioned a type of oil dye. I'm gonna get some for my P bass to darken the rosewood board.
  4. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio, USA
    I bought some of the fingerboard dye offered by Stew-Mac, and it made my rosewood board look a lot like ebony; at least in color, because it still has the open-pore look of rosewood. The little bottle I bought will last a long time.
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  6. ChaosGwar

    ChaosGwar

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  7. stevekim

    stevekim

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    Feb 11, 2000
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    thanks! i'll look into that. i hope having block inlays won't complicate things.

    -steve
  8. ChaosGwar

    ChaosGwar

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    What color is the inlay? If they are black, it shouldn't make any difference. If they are white, and you want to keep them white, cover them with masking tape beofre you apply the oil.
  9. stevekim

    stevekim

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    the inlays are white. thanks for the tip.

    -steve
  10. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

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    ChaosGwar, sorry I didn't get back to you. That is exactly what I got. Don't get it in your hands, though... I looked like I had a skin disease for a few days when I was a little sloppy.
  11. pkr2

    pkr2

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    Does Stew- Mac still have a $25.00 minimum order?

    Pkr2
  12. ChaosGwar

    ChaosGwar

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    Last time I ordered something from them (which was recently) they did. But it is sooooo easy to spend more than $25 at Stew Mac. I spent over $200 just a couple weeks ago. :eek: :D

    Cool. Thanks for the tip. I'll be getting some here soon then. Hmmm.... what else should I get to round out the minimum order?? :D
  13. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio, USA
    Unfortunately, I never have any problem staying above the minimum! If I inherited a bunch of money, I would go crazy there. I recently bought a nut file and a bunch of Micarta nut and saddle blanks and made new nuts for two bassesm, a guitar and an oud. I've never tried making my own neck, but I have the ebony fingerboard from an old upright, and I'm itching to use it, so I might be buying some neck blanks and truss rods soon. No problem going over the minimum there!
  14. Tactician

    Tactician

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    Err....arn't we supposed to apply lemon oil for this sort of thing? Using a dye has got to be significanly iffy? On a $100 bass OK - but...

    I have applied lemon oil to both my Fender Strat USA and Bass and it's fine - no mess, no smell, great darkening of the rosewood - and it's made for guitars.
  15. old_skool

    old_skool

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    Milwaukee, WI
    Is this black oil temporary? How did you go about applying it, Monkey? Would the dye work on Pau Ferro?
  16. stevekim

    stevekim

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    no, i think it's fairly permanent. i ordered a bottle of the stuff but i'm kind of afraid to use it. somebody in the fender forum recommended minwax ebony wood stain which i have been using. it seems much less extreme than the fiebings dye.

    -s
  17. Hambone

    Hambone

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    Tactician, this dye is designed for and is used by professional luthiers worldwide. This is one of the perfect situations for the dye and it works well. Remember, this is a DYE not an oil - it IS oil based but that is one of the best compounds for soaking in and creating a deep, black finish. If you still don't think that it should be used on fretboards then don't use it but you might want to take issue with the Gibson company who has, for years, used this type of dye to "ebonize" their fretboards.

    By the way, unless you are using pure Lemon Oil and it says so on the label, your "lemon oil" is mostly petroleum distillates with a lemon scent. In essence, you ARE using this dye but it hasn't got the color in it.

    To answer the other question, Yes, it is permanent in that it doesn't fade with light and it doesn't come off on your hands. It also won't come OFF your hands if you get some on. Be prepared to wear it for awhile. My fretless Jazz has had this applied to it's fingerboard and after 3 years it is still just as black as the day it was applied.
  18. stevekim

    stevekim

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    hambone,

    is there a trick to using this stuff so that it doesn't dye it completely black? could you apply it and them immediately wipe it off to tint the fingerboard just a few shades darker?

    -steve
  19. Hambone

    Hambone

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    Location:
    Atlanta/Loganville
    I suppose any dye like this could be thinned if you could determine the best liquid for it. I would certainly take it easy and do some experimenting on scrap for sure. I don't think you could get it right just by putting it on and taking it off immediately because where you overlap applications would be darker. By thinning, you could apply the dye in wet coats until you got the depth you wanted. This stuff is so dark that it would be best to add drops of the dye to your thinning liquid rather than the other way around.
  20. slick519

    slick519

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    Salem, Or
    hmm, would this work on a maple fretboard as well? i love the sound that maple gets, but hate the color!

    =w=slicks=w=
  21. Tactician

    Tactician

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    Jul 31, 2002
    Location:
    Devizes, Wiltshire, UK
    Thanks Hambone I feel appropriately admonished - I just get concerned that in these threads some guys take the info a little literally and there are plenty of horror story threads about what to do....and oh my god...it didn't work out the way I though....anyone know a good technician to put my classic '59 Precision back that way it was - well something like that anyway. I just think that most of these tune-ups are better done by a pro in minutes rather than a player in hours. Dying a fretboard seems like a job for a pro to me because it's dye.

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