Darken Fretboard

Discussion in 'Historics & Reissues' started by clutchcargo, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Bionic Member Premium Member

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    Has anyone had any dramatic success with making their fretboard very dark. I'm looking to get mine like my old HM, which was like playing on a smooth piece of volcanic glass. Black as night. I tried using Minwax ebony and it got a shade darker, but not the dramatic degree I'm looking for.
     
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  2. Natural1

    Natural1 Premium Member

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    I haven't really tried anything to specifically darken, but I do like the MusicNomad F-One oil. Been using that for about a year and a half and it does seem to do the job nicely, and I think it might darken a little too.

    As far as the smoothness goes, you might want to try the last few grits in the "micro mesh" pad set. I've done that on my R0 and it made a world of difference. Although I had to work more-or-less in the direction of the frets, those pads are so fine you really can't see any evidence of it. Clean the board with naptha first, hit it lightly with small pieces of those pads, clean it again with naptha, and then finish with the oil.
     
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  3. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Bionic Member Premium Member

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    I can give that a try. Better than going with a sharpie.
     
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  4. Natural1

    Natural1 Premium Member

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    definitely don't use a sharpie. I'd be shocked if anyone ever had success with that.
     
  5. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Bionic Member Premium Member

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    Does the rosewood fretboards come with any kind of sealent from the factory? It just seems like the stain sits on top and doesn't absorb. The only reason I'm experimenting so liberally is because I plan on eventually swapping out this board for Brazilian.
     
  6. Natural1

    Natural1 Premium Member

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    To my knowledge there is no sealant, but it's fairly dense and most boards won't exactly soak up oil. You can leave it on there for a few minutes before wiping down. It may also help to use a q-tip or similar to apply rather than spraying the board. That's what I do simply because spraying the board is going to make a bit of a mess.

    From all the other info I've seen on this over the years, I wouldn't leave it sitting for more than 5 minutes. There are stories of frets coming loose due to too much oil over time.
     
  7. rockinlespaul

    rockinlespaul Recovering Oxblood Addict V.I.P. Member

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    I've used Fiebings black oil dye with great success on a historic or two in the past.
     
  8. BBD

    BBD Senior Member

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    Fret Doctor works about the best of the oil treatments, but it won't turn the board super-dark. Several applications over the course of a year, with constant play, and the board will darken nicely but you can't really make a light board into a dark one without resort to HM magick (whatver it is they do).
     
  9. jkes01

    jkes01 Senior Member

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  10. BBD

    BBD Senior Member

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    Okay, never tried that, but I would be very cautious of actually dyeing the wood as opposed to simply oiling.
     
  11. rockinlespaul

    rockinlespaul Recovering Oxblood Addict V.I.P. Member

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    Why? It's not going to hurt anything. If you want it darker, this is the way to go imho. Never had any issues with using it.
     
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  12. BBD

    BBD Senior Member

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    Because wood dyes that make more than subtle changes to the colour can look off, artificial. And it's much harder to get them out than it is to apply them.
     
  13. rockinlespaul

    rockinlespaul Recovering Oxblood Addict V.I.P. Member

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    If you check out the link above to the Stew Mac stuff and read it you will see the recommended procedure for use.

    You do it a little at a time until you've reached the desired darkness.

    Most people like a very dark, almost black board so I don't see how it would look "off" or artificial anyways.
     
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  14. Wailing

    Wailing Senior Member

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    How often do you folks oil your rosewood fretboards ?
     
  15. BBD

    BBD Senior Member

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    Under bright interior light or sunlight, you see an artificial-looking tint, especially when very dark dyes are used. Dye pigmentation just doesn't look like natural wood pigmentation.
     
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  16. RAG7890

    RAG7890 Premium Member

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    I would not overdo the Board Oiling. Once a year is more than enough IMHO.

    As for dying, if I had to, I'd go find a gun furniture restorer in my local area who's been working with furniture for years &7 looks like he has been around for ages.

    Then I'd ask him what he thinks & what he'd do to achieve whatever it is I was after............& do it with a natural dye so you don't come in to contact with something potentially hazardous.

    I know one of these guys because we had him restore two pieces of really old furniture when my Mother in Law passed away. If I remember I might ask him what he thinks. Can't hurt.

    I'll also ask my good mate who is a gun Luthier.

    My 2x FWIW. :)

    :cheers2:
     
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  17. jkes01

    jkes01 Senior Member

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    The big guitar companies have been dying real ebony boards for year because it’s a lot harder than it used to be to get true black ebony. In reality, what they use today was tossed away back then.

    A note about the StewMac finishing oil is that it has dryers in it so there is no oily residew left behind.

    I condition once maybe twice a year.
     
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  18. Left Paw

    Left Paw Senior Member

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    I do roughly once a year, or so. On all my guitars,
     
  19. rockinlespaul

    rockinlespaul Recovering Oxblood Addict V.I.P. Member

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    I've never noticed anything like that and have been very happy with the results.
     
  20. Sct13

    Sct13 Premium Member

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    I use bore oil (Fret Doctor)...It darkens but you need to play it and the wood will oxidize naturally. My light boarded R8 is darkening nicely...

    I will oil once every six or seven string changes, as soon as it looks like it needs to be cleaned, just to wipe it down so its very thin application... But I change strings often....

    I also hear ....that Boiled Linseed oil will darken a fret board...in fact Its what Gibson uses or used in the past....but I cant be sure what Gibson does. And I have not tried Boiled Linseed Oil....
     

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