Can I darken my fingerboard?

Discussion in 'Epiphone Les Pauls' started by vindibona1, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. vindibona1

    vindibona1 Member

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    Below are pictures of my newly acquired (just today)LP (red one on the left) and my old one that I traded in (brown burst on the right).

    I like everything about the new one except the color of the fingerboard. I think it is too light and the guitar could really use some contrast.

    Is there as (good) way I can darken my fingerboard on the new guitar to get closer to the old fingerboard?

    Thanks in advance.
     

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  2. LowThudd

    LowThudd Senior Member

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    I use Dr. Ducks Ax wax on my rosewood. Works great at cleaning and conditioning. It will also darken rosewood. I'd give that(or similar) a try first. Rosewood is often dry on new guitars.
     
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  3. MrKensei

    MrKensei Senior Member

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    If i have a fretboard that is too light i use black t-cut. As a cutting compound its great at polishing frets and the plack stained wax darkens the fretboard.
     
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  4. Spookytooth67

    Spookytooth67 Senior Member

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    I use Dunlop 65 after dressing the frets on my trad pro. It worked very well.
     
  5. Brians Evil Twin

    Brians Evil Twin Poophoria Sōtō Zen V.I.P. Member

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    If you want to stain it, you can use black dye, the type you can get at a shoe repair shop. Be careful with that stuff though, it permanently stains binding, nut, finish, your hands, the bench, the cat, anything that it comes in contact with. It's better to do if you're doing a complete restoration and you have everything removed and taped off.

    Otherwise, any fretboard conditioner will darken the wood. Personally, I've switched to this from lemon oil: Fingerboard Serum | FretFactor
     
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  6. vindibona1

    vindibona1 Member

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    Thanks for the replies. Until now I have been using linseed oil for my fretboards. But all the options sound good. The only one I know I can get is the Dunlop 65. The fretboard serum sounds good because the photo from the link shows what the result I'm looking for. Never heard of Dr. Ducks axe wax or the black t-cut.

    Shoe dye sounds like a great idea, but I'm afraid it will stain the inlays and binding. If I was doing a restoration I would probably look into this. Thanks.

    Other than the Dunlop 65 where can I buy the other stuff? I'll probably take a drive down to where I know there are two guitar shops and a luthier within 10 minutes of each other. I opened the guitar last night and found mini pots. This thing needs a rewire ASAP. Hope to find some PIO caps locally.

    Thanks again everyone!
     
  7. Brians Evil Twin

    Brians Evil Twin Poophoria Sōtō Zen V.I.P. Member

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  8. Alty

    Alty Senior Member

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    We use Boiled Linseed Oil but a 50/50 mix with Turpentine on all our Acoustics and never looked better....at the end of the day though it's only a piece of dead wood, you can dye/stain it any colour you like, paint it if you want to or varnish it....you don't really need any special guitar juice, just a bit of research into wood and how to use/treat/care for it.

    T-Cut is a car product:

    T-Cut - Car Care Products

    So you'll have to look for your countries alternative name....

    I do like it when products are used for things outside of their intended use.
     
  9. LowThudd

    LowThudd Senior Member

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  10. jaysmall

    jaysmall Senior Member

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    Mineral oil, pure as you can find from your local pharmacy. It's inexpensive and a bottle will last years.

    When you take off old strings for a change, just wipe a bit on the board using a clean cotton rag. Let sit a few minutes, then wipe off excess. Over time, the board darkens. Good for the fretboard wood and relatively inert vs. other surfaces/finishes on the guitar.

    Mineral oil is also a base ingredient in a lot of string conditioners (Fast Fret etc.).
     
  11. rabidhamster

    rabidhamster Senior Member

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    You could rub it with Brazilian rosewood oil. It's surprisingly easy to find

    You can also wipe the oil from your brow and nose after a hard days work and rub it in - that'll darken up quick.
     
  12. kysrsoze

    kysrsoze Senior Member

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    I'll echo Dunlop 65 lemon oil works very well on Rosewood and Baked Maple. Nice and dark, and it seems to last a long time.
     
  13. edselman

    edselman Senior Member

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    I have been a woodworker for many years, primarily building custom flintlock rifles. Wood contains no oil and to add oil, especially an oil that does not harden or dry can have negative results. I have seen gunstocks that were turned almost to pulp by applying non-drying oil excessively and repeatedly. Raw linseed oil and lemon oil are two offenders. If either of these is used only on occasion and wiped off immediately to clean and lubricate the board, then there is no harm. But allowing these oils to soak in repeatedly is not so good. Drying oils like boiled linseed oil acts as a varnish. If used repeatedly, you will end up with a varnished fretboard. My practice is to use lemon oil very sparingly. Actually, lighter fluid is a better cleaner, followed by a very small amount of oil.

    One thing I see for sale is bore oil to be applied to the bore of a clarinet that is made of Grenadilla wood. I used to play the clarinet and picked up a nice vintage one made of wood. I spoke to a repair tech about getting some bore oil. He said that he could never recommend oiling a fine clarinet and that the instrument could be damaged.

    As far as using a stain on the board, it is a huge crap shoot as it may stain everything else too, especially your inlays. A friend used stain on his fretboard. It looked great until he used lemon oil on the fretboard a few months later. The oil softened the stain and it dyed the inlays and fingertips.

    Anyway, this is just a thought. Please take it with a grain of salt (whatever that means).
     
  14. RavenMadd

    RavenMadd Senior Member

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    I used minwax stain marker ...ebony ...when all else failed.....have tissue paper by you ....let it dry then wipe off excess......might take 4 coats......look on youtube someone has a video on this subject.....my epi standard had same problem
     
  15. edselman

    edselman Senior Member

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  16. vindibona1

    vindibona1 Member

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    I've got good news and bad news...

    The good: I used linseed oil and it darkened the fretboard sufficiently.

    The bad: When I took the strings off to clean/oil the fretboard I noticed significant fret wear. As beautiful as it is I'm going to return it today :(. It doesn't make sense to pay for a fret job and have to put pickups in it.

    Thanks for the advice. Wish I had better news.
     
  17. Colquhoun

    Colquhoun Senior Member

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    Check out fingerboard dye from Stew Mac:
    STEWMAC.COM - Black Fingerboard Stain

    Good reviews for this product. NOTE: it seems the product that is sold is actually Fiebings leather dye. If you can find it local or cheaper, go for it.
    Read the reviews for tips on the pluses and minuses of using dye.

    That said, since leather dyes come in many shades, if black isn't what you are after, a dark brown leather dye might be a better match for what you are trying to accomplish.
     
  18. ben.jammin

    ben.jammin Senior Member

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    Sorry to hear about the fret wear! Hopefully you're able to get your old guitar back and enjoy it until you find something else you like.

    Just in case you need to darken a fretboard in the future, I agree with the post above that says Dunlop 65 works very well.
     
  19. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon Senior Member

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    I once saw a youtube guitar care vid by a guy who works for Martin. He recommended 3-in-1 oil. I can't imagine................:wow:
     
  20. Alty

    Alty Senior Member

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    I've seen and read about all sorts of oil being used....Olive, Walnut amongst the many and 3-in-1 is Mineral based with a 'cleaning' agent (Citronella) and a 'corrosion inhibitor' so no reason it wouldn't work really but to each his own.
     

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