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Fretless wear problem [pics]

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by kipsus, Dec 21, 2006.


  1. kipsus

    kipsus Physicist

    Sep 18, 2005
    Vilnius, Lithuania
    Yes I did search. I have read everything there is to be read about coating fretless fingerboards. But here is the problem:

    I bought a new fretless a month ago, its rosewood fingerboard looked really dry so I put some raw linseed oil on it. Worked like a charm for a couple of weeks. Now the spots where I tend to put my fingers more often tend to lose color. Is this normal? I do have sweaty hands but hey, rosewood is supposed to be an oily wood!

    Should I put some raw linseed oil again or choose another coating? I won't do any epoxying yet, don't want to take the risk. But I have some fancy floor oil (which is linseed oil and alkyd resin mixture). Tried it on some scrapwood - seems to be okay. And it smells nice too :)

    Also, I would like to stain the thing a bit. I know potassium permanganate can be used for this purpose. Has anyone tried it?

    And no, I cannot order anything from StewMac cause they don't ship overseas.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. bryanjnkns

    bryanjnkns

    Oct 18, 2006
    Tulsa
    Are you using rounds? If you are....its only natural that its eating up your finger board. I don't have any experience with the oil your are speaking of, but if i were you i would either use CP or epoxy. Try searching the luthier forum. or at least ask someone there, they have a lot of experience with these kinds of things.
     
  3. I have heard of using leather die to stain rosewood, but have never done it myself. The stuff I use on rosewood boards is from stew-mac, so I can't really help you there
     
  4. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    If you're playing a bass that has a freshly oiled fingerboard, you're more likely to sustain damage because unpolymerized oil softens the wood. Wet oil will also release the extractives in the rosewood - if you've ever wet-sanded to apply a finish, you've experiences this phenomenon, which becomes immediately observable with some species like padauk.

    If you're using roundwounds, you'll be more likely to see damage than when using flats because of the abrasive quality of the rounds.

    Allowing finishes to cure completely before playing is always a good idea; a slow-drying product like linseed oil extends the curing time and the interval during which your fingerboard is vulnerable to damage and discoloration.
     
  5. kipsus

    kipsus Physicist

    Sep 18, 2005
    Vilnius, Lithuania
    Thank you for useful replies. I'm pretty sure rounds have nothing to do with this problem as the strings don't even touch the wood whereas color loss can be observed in places where my fingers touch it. As for the wet oil - yes, probably that is the cause. I must have started playing too soon :/ raw linseed oil takes weeks and months to cure..

    Very interesting. Never heard of such dies used on rosewood. Definitely gonna check that out.

    Btw I have contacted StewMac about that "Ebony stain..." thing and this is what they replied:

    The problem is that while they have some great stuff, the prices and shipping costs make it worth for me to try any fancy solution on the local market. Have a look at the oil that I have but haven't tried applying yet:
    http://synteko.com.au/products/finishes/solid.pdf

    Seems to be well suited for the purpose :rolleyes:
     
  6. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Don't use raw linseed oil. It doesn't harden. It'll stay gummy for years. Wash all that goo off with lots of mineral spirits like Varsol paint thinner and cotton cloths. If you want to oil the fingerboard and want it to harden, use boiled linseed oil. It has metalic hardeners added. You let it soak in for a few minutes and then wipe off all the excess on the surface. It'll dry hard in about 24 hours, or as hard as a linseed oil finish will dry.

    Nothing is going to stop you from getting wear marks on your fingerboard, unless you sheath the fingervboard with hardened stainless steel. Even that will eventually scratch. You've got hard and abrasive metal strings rubbing against a softer surface. Of course it will wear. Try taking one of your strings and rubbing it hard against some finished wood, like a dining table, at home just to test it out.
     
  7. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    The Synteko finish just seems like a typical long oil varnish sold as "danish oil" and "teak oil" or gunstock oil". It contains a drying oil, an alkyd resin (to make it harder) and a solvent (some form of mineral spirits) and some metallic driers. You should be able to find similar products cheaper at local hardware or home repair stores. They claim it cures by "oxygenation" In other words, they harden by reacting with oxygen. Well, all these finishes do-alkyd varnish, polyurethane varnish, gunstock oil, danish oil, teak oil, linseed and various others. Some are a bit harder than others. None of them stand up to much abrasion though. They will make the wood more resistant to moisture though, possibly protecting it from staining from perspiration. No finish is completely waterproof however. Even epoxy resin will eventually allow water to work through it into the wood. It will take a lot longer than varnishes, nitro lacquer, oil finishes, catalyzed polyurethane, etc. though. That's why my wife uses a tablecloth or place mat on the dining room table. It's not just to prevent wear.
     
  8. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
     
  9. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Use a good aniline dye. It's easier to work with and to guage the effect it will produce and it's a lot safer too. You can also belend colours to get just the right shade. The alcohol solvent aniline powders are good and seem pretty permanent based on my experience with them. There are some oil based penetrating stains available but they're harder to find for me around here. The water soluble ones are very good too, but I'd be concerned about how well they'd soak into the wood if there's any oily spots on the fingerboard that can't be removed. i'd wash the fingerboard down with acetone or a similar solvent and give it a light sanding. The pigmented wiping stains aren't useful in this application because they sit in the surface and will wear off.

    I know a guitar player who refinished a guitar using a liquid shoe dye he got from a shoe repair shop. It was a bright purple (he was a guitar player) and he coated it with spray on nitro. It turned out good and the colour didn't fade after a couple years.
     
  10. kipsus

    kipsus Physicist

    Sep 18, 2005
    Vilnius, Lithuania
    Well I will definitely check that aniline thing out but potassium permanganate afaik doesn't act as a dye itself, it just interacts with some chemicals in the wood itself by oxidizing them. So the effect should be pretty permanent as long as I don't sand the affected layer of wood, right? Especially if coated with some protective oil or epoxy.

    My main concern is not changing the color or preventing scratches (I'd simply use epoxy then) but to prevent the wood from loosing its beautiful shiny dark brownish appearance. The fingerboard looked sooooo nice a week or two after oiling it with linseed oil.
     
  11. SBassman

    SBassman

    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Forget the oils. If the wear marks are bugging you, stain the whole board.

    Even without getting exotic materials, you can do this with great results with - a simple Minwax stain.
     
  12. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    If that's what you're after, use the boiled linseed oil. Renew as needed. Just make sure you wipe up all the excess and don't let it pool on the surface. The linseed oil will, over time darken and produce a nice patina. Nobody but you will notice it of course.
     
  13. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    You are right - potassium permanganate is not a stain or a dye. It is an oxidant. When you first apply it the effect is quite dramatic - the wood can be darkened quite a lot. But I found that the effect fades fairly quickly on many woods. I wouldn't choose to use it myself.
     
  14. kipsus

    kipsus Physicist

    Sep 18, 2005
    Vilnius, Lithuania
    I ended up not staining anything. Rinsed fingerboard thoroughly with white spirit and acetone to get rid of old linseed oil.
    Then I used Synteko oil finish to wet sand the thing 4 times folowing article:
    http://members.aol.com/woodinfo1/smothoil.htm
    And well it worked great! All marks left by roundwounds are now gone. The surface is very smooth and looks good too.
    I put flats on it and wow it feels great now, it's like a new bass to me.
    I couldn't find any flats locally though. The salesman was like "they sound bad anyway, so why bother?". Luckily, my father went to Germany and got me a set of Fender Stainless Steels.

    End of happy story :)
     
  15. kipsus

    kipsus Physicist

    Sep 18, 2005
    Vilnius, Lithuania
    Some pics! I know I know, a bit late, but better later than never. The colors are a bit off but looks nice nevertheless :bassist:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now after playing it for some time I definitely want a ramp. High tension and relative lack of sustain means light touch playing technique, and I seem to have problems with that without a ramp.
     

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