How to fix dry looking Pau Ferro?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Nephilymbass, Jun 22, 2019.

  1. Title pretty much explains it but if you’d like some backstory I picked up a Mexican fender jazz V with a Pau Ferro board to have a inexpensive but respectable backup for gigs. A93E8150-1C17-4737-921C-27D511C1CDDA.jpeg

    I enjoy the bass and the value I feel I get out of it. So I’ve started giving it some love. Have a new tort pick gaurd for it on the way already. 5986F0A3-7CD6-4B55-88DB-39AE24B3E676.jpeg
    Im shopping pickups as well. but what I’m here to ask is actually about the fingerboard. It looks kind of dry and I guess untreated or unfinished. What would y’all recommend I use on the fingerboard to improve how it looks? A specific fingerboard treatment? An oil? Had a lot of basses over the years but this is actually my first with a pau ferro board. Most of my basses have had maple or ebony boards.
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  2. thewildest


    May 25, 2011
    Florida, USA
    Without having the experience doing this, I would dye the fretboard black. If you end doing this, I would be interested about the process. I have a Warwick with with a Wenge fretboard I’ve been considering dyeing.

    Best of luck
    Nephilymbass likes this.
  3. Supadope

    Supadope Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2015
    My goal is to leave the world a cooler place than when I arrived.
    This may get some gasps and shrieking, but Pledge works good on dry woods.
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  4. TruOil or StewMac fretboard finishing oil. Use a few drops, rub it in good, wipe off any extra.
    Beej and Nephilymbass like this.
  5. tbrannon


    Jun 11, 2006
    I've always used lemon oil (pure aromatherapy lemon oil) with good success. Not lemon scented furniture polish, which is mostly petroleum distillates w a tiny bit of lemon scent. Any commercial fretboard cleaner/conditioner will work though.

    When using lemon oil, i wipe a bit on, let the wood soak it up and then wipe it clean. I apply once a year to my fretboards.
    Luigir, s_wood, scottm and 1 other person like this.
  6. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Formby’s Tung Oil. Two or three coats should do it. Dead easy and gorgeous.
  7. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Another vote for stewmac fretboard oil.

    @Supadope check your pledge for silicone, trust me you dont want silicone anywhere near your instrument... :D
    ChasBass likes this.
  8. guts


    Aug 13, 2018
    The problem is not the moisture content. The problem looks like the oil has been leeched out of that wood somehow. Like an old cutting board, or an old fencepost.

    That looks like an actual problem. It looks dusty and grey like the lignin is going to start to deteriorate.
  9. Needs a couple of applications of oil. Let it soak in a for few hours each time for deeper penetration, but don’t let it pool around the frets (prevents them lifting). Definitely no silicones.
    Nephilymbass likes this.
  10. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    I think that stuff leaves silicon wherever it goes, so might not be the most future-proof solution. Agreed that it makes wood look good though!

    My Mustang has a Pau Ferro board. As you can see here I've got the neck looking pretty dark and happy:


    I scraped the factory lacquer mist coat off the fretboard when I first got the bass. I then applied a sort of witches' brew of mineral spirits, danish oil and boiled linseed oil (for colour). I finished off the fretboard with wood wax and buffed it out with a wool pad on an electric buffer. I did all of this with the neck off the bass!
    Drienvyftigcent and sgtpepper like this.
  11. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician - Retired
    The problem isn't "pooling around the frets", it's that the oil wicks into the fret slot. That's going to happen if you leave the oil sitting on there for a "few hours". The best practice is to wipe the oil onto the board, then immediately wipe it off. Then burnish it - the process helps the oil to dry and puts a nice sheen on things.
    Rilence, Tad, wraub and 5 others like this.
  12. Wow...Pau wood is crazy light!! I read using brown leather dye works great for dying the fretboard. Just be careful because it will stain anything it comes in contact with. If that’s not the route you prefer then tung or boiled linseed oil. Just appy a light coat or two. It might take a few days to totally dry. Do this once a year. It will gradually darken over years. Yes
    fhm555 likes this.
  13. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Not always. I have some Pau Ferro boards that have nice chocolatey stripes, and a couple that are a deep brown.
    Rallypoint_1 likes this.
  14. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician - Retired
    Like this?

    Pau Ferro2.jpg
  15. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) mmm Woody! DHDIK? Sweet Treets. Supporting Member

    Don't use lemon oil, orange oil wood products they are just mineral oil with SOLVENTS and scented.
    Regular mineral oil does the trick.
    A little goes a long way.
  16. Yeah, don't do this. You don't want to introduce any water to the wood. It's dried and treated for a reason. The wood is dehydrated and then treated with oil to give it protection and a good finish. If the factory oiling of the fretboard is poor or nonexistent, you'll need to oil it yourself. The idea there is to gently drive oil into the pores of the wood to create a lasting sheen and prevent ingress or egress of water from that point.

    A gentle and careful application of a proper oil treatment will give you what you need (I have heard that the Stewmac oil is great). It's may take a few coats over several months. Don't saturate the wood, be sparing in each application.
  17. Thanks guys. I see Dunlop and Daddario both make lemon oil fingerboard products for $5 or less. I’m gonna give one of those a shot.
  18. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    You do if you want to moisturize it.
    If you just want it to look good, then oil away, but oil isn't adding any moisture.
  19. dxb


    Dec 25, 2016
    I use Music Nomad F-One Oil on all my (non-maple) fretboards. It worked great on my Pau-Ferro Mustang which was looking a bit dry.
    soflbass and Nephilymbass like this.
  20. Under two bucks at WalMart. 16oz. More than you'll use in a lifetime on guitars...
    THIS is what you are actually buying with 99% of any "lemon oil" out there... Mineral oil with a drop of lemon scent. It is food grade (pure) since it is for constipation....

    I cut a section of handkerchief, dosed with a few drops of mineral oil, roll it up between hands for a couple minutes to distribute oil evenly, then it is good for months to wipe boards down... Like Brylcreem, a little dab'll do ya...

    If you'll just plain feel better paying 20-40-100 times cost per oz because it has a nice fancy name on the label, knock yourself out. It is STILL mineral oil with a scent... May as well throw money out the window on the way to WalMart....