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Advice Needed, Refinishing A Maple Neck/fretboard.

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Hi folks. First post in a long time, so I hope it's in the right spot. :D

I'm currently refurbing a 1990 RG550 that I've had since it was new. She was in rough shape, and as a kid I took VERY poor care of it. I decided to undergo bringing it back to life so to speak. The original body was lit on fire, and after a few hours of sanding I decided it was just too far gone to salvage (dents, dings, etc), so I picked up a rear-routed 570 body and got it ready for paint.

I'm posting all my progress here:


That said, I'm currently working on the neck until the weather gets a little nicer up here so that I can swirl the body. It's a maple neck/board. The back and headstock are coming along great - tons of sanding but the results are worth it, and it's kind of my penance for neglecting it so much as a kid. The problem I'm at now is that the fretboard itself is just really, really worn and full of black wear marks. I've sanded them a ton, and I'm nervous about taking off too much and ruining the inlays.

Here's the original pic after a steel-wooling:


And here's where I'm at now after an hour or so going at it with 200-300 grit:


I just can't seem to get rid of the black, and since it's a maple fretboard I'm really, really hoping that I can avoid having to dye it, otherwise my freshly painted body, headstock and neck will be matched with a perpetually dirty fretboard.

Any advice as to where to go from here would really be appreciated. I'm afraid to keep sanding because it hasn't done much so far, and as I said I don't want to redo the inlays. I really don't want to replace the board either, since it's got some serious sentimental value - I used to play air guitar to Number of the Beast and Too Fast for Love on this sucker before I could even play power chords. :D


- Chris

Edited by Seventh
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I have personally never tested acetone on maple, but I would see if that would pull the black marks out of it.

I seem to remember that acetone can melt some plastic inlays. You might want to test on a piece of scrap.

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By the time you've removed all the dark spots you'll end up with a scalloped neck. The proper way to do it is to yank all the frets and use a sanding block of the proper fretboard radius, then refret. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother.

Unfortunately, that's beyond the scope of my abilities. :D I'm a man who knows his limits, and since this is my first time trying something like this, I've no doubt that I'd hose the neck quite royally. :D It plays too well right not for me to do anything drastic.

Looks like dye it is, eh?

Thanks for the replies folks. B)

Edit: Would something like StewMac's Naptha Solvent be worth a shot at this point?

Edited by Seventh
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Edit: Would something like StewMac's Naptha Solvent be worth a shot at this point?

Yes, or even the Naptha in lighter fluid or rubbing alcohol to try and break up the oil that is causing the spots.

Right on, I'll give it a shot. I assume that if anything, since I've already removed all the clear/varnish from the board itself, the stuff should be more prone to breaking up the oil. Hopefully, anyhow. :D

Cheers. :D

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