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Making a Maple Fretboard brighter in color

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Rapisme, Mar 1, 2018.


  1. Rapisme

    Rapisme Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2007
    RAPISME
    Hey Folks!

    So I recently acquire a Geddy Lee Neck MIJ circa 1994 and the bass neck came with the fretboard stripped of the finish on the board. So I searched YouTube, used 0000 steel wool got the board nice and clean. But I was wondering if use naphtha or some other solvent to make the board brighter before applying the Tung oil finish to coat the neck again.
    Any real life applications or stories or actual methods used would be appreciated as I'm really feeling this neck. It's on an all alder one piece warmoth jazz body. ( might be a 2 piece cause the grain was matched up perfectly!) OK thank you Talkbass!
    Rap
     

    Attached Files:

    kennettsq likes this.
  2. Abner

    Abner

    Jan 2, 2011
    Mississauga
    I am no expert woodworker by any means, but I refinished a fretless maple neck that had a similar problem; previous owner had worn through the poly finish, sanded the remainder off, and then kept playing with roundwounds. Not only worn grooves in the board, but nasty dark gray stains you get with unfinished maple.

    After sanding the grooves away, the dark stains were still visible, so I used a bleach solution to lighten the board. I do remember reading about that somewhere years ago. And it did a fairly good job of it, too.
     
    Rapisme likes this.
  3. saabfender

    saabfender Inactive

    Jan 10, 2018
    Indianapolis
    I would be loathe to use any kind of solvent on the bare wood. My vote is for scrubbing it clean with the steel wool then using whatever finish you want. I just did my fretless fingerboard with tung oil. Took a minute to get used to the smell. The neck will always smell a little like that. If I had the neck shown, my choice would be a clean spray lacquer. Over the years, I've sprayed dozens of unfinished drumsticks with lacquer and it holds up really well and does a lovely job of maintain the unfinished color.
     
  4. EpicSoundtracks

    EpicSoundtracks

    Mar 10, 2006
    Oakland, CA
    Lollar Pickups, Dunlop Strings
    0d7fb415299d328d191ded3d99b95478.jpg

    sounds unconventional, but you've piqued my interest
     
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  5. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    It looks like string lines on your neck. Stains created by skin oils and such over many years.

    Look up some wood working links on bleaching. Probably apply with a cotton tip to just the areas dark stains.
     
  6. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    What?
    Nitro finish, lacquers, etc are heavily cut with solvents. Solvent is routinely used to clean wood before application of finish to remove oils, sap and other gunk that interferes with the finish bonding.

    Chlorine bleach? Maybe not or professional wood restores would use it but they don’t. They must have good reasons. Probably because it doesn’t actually BREAK DOWN the imbedded soil.

    Professionals in wood restoration use oxalic acid. It eats the soil but apparently doesn’t eat cellulose (wood cells). It friggin works great. I know, my luthier used it on my heavily stained 1962 jazz neck. Here’s the result. Reasearch it as an option 0F62B381-14CF-4408-BF40-6B0F82485B8E.jpeg 607BD896-22D1-4EA7-A024-8F9996989856.jpeg
    Commonly used in outdoor wood deck cleaners, but that’s very dilute. Anyway, look it up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
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  7. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    It's bare wood? Then treat it like bare wood. Clean it if it can be cleaned. Naphtha first followed by water and detergent. If that does not bring it to the desired level then abrasives and scraping are the next level.

    Finish with a hard finish. Oil is not a good choice for a fingerboard finish. It offers little protection. Oil is easily stripped off with common solvents. It will darken the wood. It will need to be reapplied periodically.

    Bleach is not recommended for this task. Since it is not selective it will remove the color from everything. That includes the grain.
     
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  8. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Usually the greyness that appears on maple necks and fingerboards is a combination of dirt and the natural oxidation of the wood. Do you know why unpainted barns are grey? It's because the wood is "weathered", which means that the wood has oxidized. Oxidation does not "clean" - it's not dirty. You can use bleach, but chlorine bleach really does nothing to wood. You need to use oxalic acid to remove the greyness. It usually makes the wood look really anemic.
     
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  9. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    You're right. Oxalic acid is the chemical used to bleach wood. Anemic is a good description of the results of using it. I blew it on bleach.

    A beekeeper should know better.
     
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  10. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    What do you call an apiarist who has a pager on his key chain?

    A beekeeper with a keybeeper.
     
    Rapisme likes this.
  11. Rapisme

    Rapisme Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2007
    RAPISME
    Did the naphtha along with the 0000 steel wool. Idk to me it looks cleaner.. Now comes the part as to what to coat the fretboard with as its a tad cold up in the northern parts a I don't like spraying if its not 75* degrees outside.:cool:
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Abner

    Abner

    Jan 2, 2011
    Mississauga
    Looking good (and the strings hide the worst of it anyway, right?) ;)

    I used a wipe-on polyurethane on mine. Lots of coats, lots of sanding. But mine was fretless. Not much fun sanding between the frets. Spray would be the way to go in this case, and spring is not that far off. :)
     
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  13. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    You owe me for screen spewage.
     
  14. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Feb 28, 2021

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