fingerboard finish

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by stigg, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. stigg


    Mar 16, 2009
    sw washington st.
    Hey e'budy
    I'm almost ready to put finish on a scratch built 34" scale upright neck for a cello bass project I've been working on for a few months.
    The neck, headstock and heel are a lamination of 3 lengths of common maple.
    I couldn't afford rosewood or ebony for the fingerboard so I used a real tight grained mahogany piece and will have to fill and finish.
    What would be the best for the fingerboard finish, polyurethane (easier to work with) or try to use an epoxy type, and if epoxy what kind?
  2. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    You should request that this be moved to the setup and repair board. You'll get much more educated answers there.

    I think that using Maple for the fingerboard would be better than Mahogany, which is really soft.

    Either way, I think a lot of people use boat epoxy on their fretless electric fingerboards ( á la Jaco) and i'm sure that would work just as well with an upright. I don't know if it's strictly necessary to do this, but it might lend some more life to the board. before you have to plane it.
  3. stigg


    Mar 16, 2009
    sw washington st.
    Thanks, I'll move to s & r.
  4. misterbadger

    misterbadger Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    Northern California
    For all of its beauty and other wonderful qualities, most true mahoganies are dead-soft and will wear very rapidly. As mentioned above, maple would be a better bet, as would a relatively inexpensive tropical hardwood like jatoba.

    If you're committed to the mahogany board at this point, hit it with as much penetrating epoxy (WEST system probably the most well-known) as it'll soak up in hopes of getting decent life from it
  5. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Intuitively, I agree with this statement...but.....I've seen old Kays that have factory original Honduras mahogany fingerboards (the old heavy cinnamon colored very dense stuff) that don't have a single groove or rut or sign of wear in them after 70 years of use.

  6. stigg


    Mar 16, 2009
    sw washington st.
    Thanks a bunch:)