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Removing stains from fingerboard?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by rojo412, Jun 2, 2005.


  1. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    So I'm overhauling this bass and this is like the last, stupid thing, but how can I get the finger staining out of this fingerboard? I have a pic below.

    I have already lemon oiled, alcoholed, steel wooled, fine sanded... but to no avail.

    What can I do?
     
  2. So which back porch delta blues player is sittin' there without his axe tonight? :eyebrow: :D Those two or three frets have more mojo than all of my instruments put together.

    Adam, I bet you didn't consider that the first two items on that list could have driven any soluble components of that stain further into the wood? That's one of the pitfalls of trying to remove discolorations from something as porous as wood. When I bought a killer piece of wood for some tops and it arrived to me with a coating of Atlas wax, I asked over on the MIMF what to do about it. That's where I got the info about dissolving materials in solvents and carrying them further into the grain - they called it "migration". But out of that discussion came the idea that using a surfactant - essentially soap - will help lift it out and keep it from getting into the wood. Surfactants are designed to get under stains and stuff and between them and the surface and it breaks the surface tension of the water around the material and that helps float the stuff off.

    But seeing your photo, I don't think there's any help for that case. I think it would require total removal of the frets and a complete resurfacing of the fretboard and then, I bet, you'll still see the "core" of the stains. They look pretty doggone deep and established.
     
  3. andvari7

    andvari7

    Aug 28, 2004
    Ennui
    I wouldn't do anything about removing those stains. I think they give the bass character. Those frets, on the other hand, have to go.
     
  4. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Yes, the frets do need to go. Can repair dudes do a fretjob with the neck off the bass or does it need to be on, under some tension for leveling? Ham, do you have a list of what I need for doing a fretjob or is that more intense than most of the other stuff?

    No, it didn't occur to me that the stuff I tried was messing it up worse. But it makes sense to me now. So should I just get nice and greasy and massage the rest of the board with my bare hands, staining it with my mojo, or can I stain the board? I'd hate to pull the frets, start sanding the board and not stop until I hit maple.
     
  5. Isn't this a maple board? That's what I assumed it was from the light coloring on the right side. At any rate, yes, you could change it's color but it would be a hit and miss proposition. If someone were to say to me "This is what I got, what can I do to make it better?" After I determined it wasn't worth a couple of thousand bucks, I would say to resurface the fretboard to the point that you can still see most of the slots for frets and recut what you have to, then attempt to change it's color with oil dye but keep a final solution in reserve. That would be to go black like ebony if you can't match away the stains in a pleasing manner.
    It will take an eye, some testing and some patience but you might pull it off in one or two try's with a couple of shades of dye.
     
  6. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    No, it's rosewood or pau ferro. Sheesh! If that was a maple board that looked like that, I'd have never bought it for fear of leprocy.
     
  7. do you still want the figure of the wood showing? I'm affraid this is not comming out without removing a significant part of the wood's surface (might affect action and setup). If it were me, I'd just stain it black.
     
  8. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I think that is the only option, besides grin and bear it.

    Guess it's not like a deck, where I could just powerwash it.
     
  9. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    "De Boy tryin' to wash the mojo offn the neck Wass up wit dat" :eyebrow: I like it it adds major character to the neck. I'll build you a fretless neck and trade you for it. :hyper:

    Enjoy it....t
     
  10. yuck! you don't know where those hands have been!
     
  11. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    what kind of bass is it?