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Staining a maple fretboard?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by jmanyea, Aug 2, 2002.

  1. jmanyea


    Mar 20, 2002
    St. Louis
    I got an Essex fretless P-bass with a maple neck and fretboard and think the black fretmarkers are hokey, if not somewhat useful (lol!). Anyhow, I'm considering the possibility of staining the fretboard an ebony color and was wondering if this is feasible and if so how I would go about it. This would make the fretmarkers less noticeable and make my sunburst P look better with the tortoise pickguard I've got coming. Of course I will post pics of the finished product.
  2. thats a lot of work most maple boards are sealed fairly well, you would need to get below the sealant to get the finish to really stick. You can do that with sandpaper, soft grits I might start with 400 and if that doesn't bite enough go to 250. You should also be prepared to get a radius block sander to reshape the neck radius after you are done.

    Stew Mac

    They have most of the tools and materials you would need, including some great step by step guides.
  3. jbay


    May 23, 2002
    If the fretboard is hard maple (which it probably is), it's not gonna be accepting much stain at all... A more feasible option would be to coat it with a colored hardcoat...
  4. jmanyea


    Mar 20, 2002
    St. Louis
    The colored hardcoat option sounds interesting, is there a specific product I should use? Would that require any sanding, and what is the best way to appy it, how many coats? Thanks.
  5. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Why won't hard maple accept stain? I think it would dye fine, but remember that the fingerboard will wear as you play on it. If the dye doesn't penetrate deeply, it will wear away as you play the instrument.
  6. jbay


    May 23, 2002
    Ok let me rephrase that... Hard maple (say northern hard maple) tends to stain blotchy. And it doesn't always work well even if u use a pre-conditioner. But hey. he's the pro, so he prolly knows better :)
  7. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    At what stage is it easier (and cheaper) to just get a replacement neck?