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Spalted Fingerboards?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by bingoguitars, Dec 23, 2005.


  1. bingoguitars

    bingoguitars

    Dec 23, 2005
    I am looking to buy some spalted fingerboard, does anyone know where I could find em? Like a web site or other?
    Thanks
    Bingo :bassist:
     
  2. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
  3. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
    send a PM to Larry Davis at Gallery Hardwoods, and take a visit to the Gallery forum then search on spalted fingerboards to find a couple of threads on them there.

    http://www.galleryhardwoods.com
     
  4. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Spalted fingerboard??!?
    Normally, spalted means uneven hardness, which is about the worst scenario for a fingerboard.
    One of those 'acrylized' boards may work, but natural spalted? Forget it and be happy.
     
  5. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I am going to mirror coat mine.t
     
  6. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Mirror coat won't improve stiffness or bending strength.
     
  7. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Counting on the neck, not the fingerboard, for stiffness.
     
  8. Fasoldt Basses

    Fasoldt Basses

    Mar 22, 2005
    Stevens Point, WI
    Karl Thompson, Builder (Formerly Fat Karl)
    Don't! The fingerboard is a considerable factor in the thickness of a neck. Besides strengthening the neck, the fingerboard also contributes a lot to the tone of the instrument. An acrylized spalted board might be alright, but a mirror coat isn't going to do as a substitute.:meh:
     
  9. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Exactly.
    Just keep off using degraded/damaged wood except for body tops. Spalted=fungus damage.
     
  10. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    If a fingerboard is epoxy coated it is the coating you are hearing not the wood underneath. It doesn't matter if it is balsa or wenge. The stiffness is another factor though.......t
     
  11. Personally I would prefer a consistent, solid-grained piece of wood vs. a varied, essentially diseased /rotting wood as a fingerboard when it comes to the rigors of holding up to the tension of a trussrod constantly pushing the underside.

    perhaps, you could use a robust, close grained wood as the fingerboard, and top that with a spalted veneer (is such a thing available / possible?) and then topcoat that? You'd get the look while maintaining structural integrity...and an end result of more predictable, consistent tone?

    Mon
     
  12. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    perhaps, you could use a robust, close grained wood as the fingerboard, and top that with a spalted veneer (is such a thing available / possible?) and then topcoat that? You'd get the look while maintaining structural integrity...and an end result of more predictable, consistent tone?

    Mon

    Not a bad idea I might try using a 1/8" slice of Ipe under it.....t
     
  13. tribal3140

    tribal3140 Banned

    Nov 9, 2004
    near detroit...uh
    its hard to lump all spalted woods into one basket.

    spalted maple is far different that spalted harwoods like
    ebonies and rosewoods. like brazilian rosewood with spalted sapwood , roscoe and his spalted purpleheart and spalted cocbolo is very dense and wouldnt require any acrylic stabilization.
    maybe if gards around he can enlighten us about how the spalted purpleheart holds up over time.
    I have seen older roscoes and the spalted purpleheart has held up very well.
    and rosewoods and ebonies are even more dense than that.

    I would be so brave as to say any spalted maple fingerbaord should be vacuum stabilized with acrylic.

    Todd
     
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
  15. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
  16. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    The spalted purpleheart and rosewoods are a little different than spalted maple. These woods get a little bit of blackline in the sapwood, but they are very decay resistant and so the wood does not degrade as readily nor does the decay become as extensive since it is generally limited to the sapwood. Maple is very susceptible to spalt and decay and the spalted maple offered for sale is as often badly degraded as it is not.

    It's all interesting to look at and as always it comes down to the individual piece and how it is treated. The fingerboard is very important structurally and if it's fretted has the additional role of holding on to the frets. You owe it to yourself to put your fingerboards under heavy scrutiny before pressing them into service.

    I do like the idea of laminating a thin layer of spalted maple onto ipe, then hitting it with Mirror Coat if you have your heart set on a non-stabilized, spalted maple fingerboard.
     
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Thanks, tjclem. Happy to tell you that what you described is what Kevin Brubaker did… and it works very well. He built a one piece Maple neck, put an ~1/8” layer of Ebony on it and then about then same thickness of Spalted Maple. The entire bass has a gloss finish. The pictured bass is now over three years old and has been extremely stable. I keep the action very low low and it rarely requires a truss rod tweak and the fretwork has been free of any issues.

    The bass is constructed with a very piece of Ash and overall has a super Ash/Maple vibe.
     
  18. patrickj

    patrickj

    Aug 13, 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    I've got a spalted maple fb bass (no pics unfortunately yet) - wenge/bubinga neck, black korina body, thumbish clone. No stabilty or functional problems at all with the FB, but I gave it about 2 years to make sure the wood was ready (spalted,dried,treated,dried,finished,cured,etc).
     
  19. Fasoldt Basses

    Fasoldt Basses

    Mar 22, 2005
    Stevens Point, WI
    Karl Thompson, Builder (Formerly Fat Karl)
    Oh, so then it makes no difference what wood you use, as long as it's coated with something? So a bass made of balsa will sound just like a bass made of mahogany as long as they both have a laquer finish?:rolleyes: just a minor point.
     
  20. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    "fingerboard is epoxy coated"
    :D