Fingerboard Dye/Stain

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by iPlay15151515, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. My CCB has a CMFB (cheap maple fingerboard) that is most likely painted black.

    I plan on lightly sanding the FB to remove some rough areas.

    What is the best dye/stain/paint/coating to use on this type of material?
  2. Does CCB=cheap Chines bass?
  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Yes. And sometimes we call it a BSO (Bass Shaped Object).
  4. rick123


    Oct 20, 2001
    Evanston, Wyoming
    I just removed a couple coats of old, chipped black paint off the fingerboard of an old Kay I have acquired. I believe the wood is maple and it has some interesting grain. I dyed it with Fiebing's Oil Dye as per a suggestion from this or some other bass site. I used two coats which made it dark grey as I wanted the grain to show through. It turned out beautiful so I gave the tailpiece the same treatment. This dye is available many places, one of which is Tandy Leather. Tandy sells many different dyes so make sure you specify the correct one. I believe StewMac sells it also. Too bad you don't have a 28' sailboat to dye; this stuff goes a long way.
  5. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Man, that's almost exactly the same as my first question at TalkBass. That was 900 posts ago...

    Turf the board. Have you stripped it yet? Much ugliness can be hidden under that paint they use. Woodfiller, gouges, metal fasteners, you name it.

    It seems expensive and wrong, but you'll have a bass you like a lot more if you just turf it and get a reasonable ebony board.
  6. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    will this method work on an ebonol fingerboard ?
    what grade of paper did you use to sand the neck ?
  7. rick123


    Oct 20, 2001
    Evanston, Wyoming
    I'm not sure what ebonol is. What I did is salvage a real wreck. The entire bass had been damaged what appears to be a number of times and repaired by an amateur cabinet maker. However, the bass plays and sounds fine. A luthier shaped the bridge and later, I removed the paint on the FB with a chemical paint stripper, very little sanding with some fine grit paper. Thankfully, the bass still plays well and looks alot better. My original plan was to have the luthier do some major repairs including a new fingerboard. He suggested I play it a while after his set-up to make sure I wanted to go that route. He did not suggest "refinishing" the fingerboard. I'm happy with the results and since it is one of three basses I own, I'll probably keep it as-is for a while. I wouldn't hesitate doing it on a CCB: it was a simple job that only had the bass on the bench a couple of days.
  8. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Tandy also sells "Pro Dyes" which will work, too. As an aside, use rubber/vinyl gloves, and put the dye into a paper towel. Use the "loaded" paper towel as a rag, and coat the board. These dyes are alcohol based, and it would be a real mess if you got it onto the finish of the instrument. After you get a coat on, let it dry, then lightly sand with 0000 steel wool. You can do this again if you want to get it blacker. (rinse, lather, repeat) After the dye is on and dry, apply a final coat of Watco Danish Oil to the board. This is a great product, acting as a sealer and giving the fingerboard a more durable finish. It usually dries in 24 hours...
  9. I'm reading this wondering why one couldn't use minwax, or wouldn't use minwax ebony stain, which one can get at most hardware stores? Of course I have no idea what I'm talking about or why the other Tandy stuff works better. I figure if I want something to turn white wood black and soak in so it doesn't come off on my fingers, this stuff would do it. It's oil based and you just wipe off the excess. Is there something that makes it a real bad choice? The ebonized finish on my CCzB (Cheap Czech Bass) FB is just about worn off after two years of playing and while it's just cosmetic, I thought it might be a good idea to re-black it while I'm doing some structural repairs. Is there anything wrong with leaving it white wood after replaning and sanding and sealing with boiled linseed oil?
  10. rick123


    Oct 20, 2001
    Evanston, Wyoming
    I checked out the Minwax stain against the Fiebing's dye on some scraps. The dye got much darker much quicker and of course, is alcohol-base so there is no oil or reducer to deal with. I see no reason why the stain wouldn't work just fine particularly if you finish up with some Watco or similar product. For the record, my fingerboard job was mostly cosmetic.
  11. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    From my former job as a finisher, I recall the dyes we used being more concentrated than the stains, they could be darker and dried alot faster. They also looked alot better under lacquer, but you're not lacquering the board.

    Oh, and DEFINATLY wear gloves when you apply the dye as Nick said.
  12. LOL :)
  13. I don't think you want to sand the NECK Do you?
  14. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Generally speaking, if something is called a stain it is a suspension of finely ground pigment in some vehicle. Dyes are solutions of color-bearing compounds dissolved in solvent, and thus can penetrate much easier than the relatively large chunks of pigments in stains.

  15. Damon:

    I've tried to locate your early posts on this topic without success. Are they still available?
  16. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I dunno. 'Round about October 2003 I asked a question here along the lines of "what is that stuff they use to ebonize fingerboards? I'm interested because I'm trying to patch up a ebonized board" I got some replies but nothing definite. Fuqua wrote me a nice little poem in response.

    The bass I was working on was my rockabilly pal's CCB. Asking that question was the beginning of a very intensive period of learning about DBs, lemme tell ya.

    Anyway, that black ebonizing crap on that Cremona was no dye or stain. It was more like a very tough enamel paint (stain and paint being very similar kinds of things.) Once I started working on the dressing up the chipped and bad spots on that board, thereby exposing the sh*t underneath, I realized how very, very, very bad that board was. They had indeed gouged and patched. It looked to me like they had installed a large metal fastener just north of the octave and then removed it, patching the mess over with chalky filler and the ebonizing crap. Short some clamps in the shop that day, I guess.

    Anyway, given the amount of effort involved and the quality of the results you can expect, I say a new board is worth it.
  17. A new board is definitely in the cards, but I need some practice working in this area so I feel the old pos fingerboard is of some value.

    I'm actually headed toward modifications of the fb beyond light sanding (see my post about FB/Nut Intersection), but small steps are in order for the moment.

    Any suggestions on an inexpensive source of fingerboards? If I'm not careful, my fb will cost more than the BSO. :)
  18. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    You should make one form scratch. I did that with my chinese 'cello. I made the fingerboard & tailpiece from one length of Pau Ferro, similar to Rosewood, so the grain matches. It was actually alot easier than I thought it would be, even with making an 'E bevel' fingerboard and incorpirating the fine tuners right into the tailpiece.



    I have a whole bunch of construction pics if you are interested, just PM me. :)

    EDIT: I guess it would be considered a 'C bevel' on a 'cello. :smug:
  19. Nice looking FB there MATT. I like the family photo also. Have you heard of this guy who has sort of combined a sitar (sympathetic strings) with a 5-string DB ( I'm not kidding. It's wild.
  20. Matt:

    Nice work. The PM with the info you need was just sent.