Cherry fingerboards, yay or nay?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by klocwerk, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    For a few reasons, cherry is a very sentimental wood for me, and I found a nice piece of figured cherry 1/4" thick and big enough for a fretboard/fingerboard.
    It's a pretty dense wood I think, not ebony of course, but do you think it'd be dense enough to stand up as a fretless?

    If not it should still be stiff enough for a fretted bass, correct?
  2. vintager


    Jan 29, 2005
    For me it has always been mostly about domestic woods like alder, maple, walnut and cherry.. comes more 'natural' for me.
    I've seen fretterd and epoxy-coated fretless bass with cherry fingerboards, both looking gorgeous but unfortunately i cant compare it acoustically to other woods since i havent played them amplified. But if i had piece like you mentioned there would be no doubt.....

    all the best,

  3. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    damn, got outbid at the last second on the ebay auction, so it's a moot point for that piece of wood.

    Question still stands though, as I'm continuing my search for a nice piece of cherry!
  4. vintager


    Jan 29, 2005
    I'm sorry for you.. but keep your eyes open, at least because i wanna see some cherry on a nice bass ! Good luck
  5. tjclem

    tjclem Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I like Cherry and Have used a lot of it but I wouldn't think it would be stiff enough to use as a fingerboard. You could use a substrate like Wenge or Bubinga then put on a thin layer of cherry and Mirror coat over that.

    This is a cherry top. pics/bass19/19-body front.jpg

    Good luck on your hunt! Tom
  6. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    You want high stiffness, high janka for a fingerboard. Janka is a measure of hardness which gives you wear resistance and ability to hold a fret tang.

    I see black cherry listed at 950 psi. That's not very high. I would think it would wear very quickly and not hold frets very well. Hard maple is 1450 and wenge is 1630 for comparison.

    Stiffness I am seeing numbers around 1.5 x10^6 lbf/in^2. Hard maple is 1.8 and wenge into the low 2.0 range. It's on the low side for stiffness, too.

    If you want cherry maybe see if Larry Davis can do an acrylized cherry fingerboard for you.
  7. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    Yeah, I was afraid it might be a bit soft.
    Ah well. Top only then.

    Thanks for the info!
  8. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Cherry, as any other species, is very depending on the growth place. Just consider maple, or ash! Maple have many variants, but the same vaiant from the Appalacheans will have different properties from the same variant from New Brunswick. And I guess we all know that hard ash and swamp ash is the same species.

    Anyway, if you can find a log grown in the north, it will probably be OK for fingerboard. Normally, Swedish wild grown cherry is even pretty good for that application!

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