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Walnut Fretboard


wohzah
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Would a walnut fretboard work as a fretboard? It is pretty dark wood and I have some really nice pieces lying around.

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Would a walnut fretboard work as a fretboard? It is pretty dark wood and I have some really nice pieces lying around.
Never seen it done, other than on a Lap steel where no actual contact is made with the fretboard. It's almost as hard as Maple so??? larger pores and would most likely need a finish, but maple requires one as well. Hopefully someone else will chime in if they have had experience with it?

MK

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I was actually thinking the exact same thing yesterday, as I've a huge cutoff of walnut sitting down in my basement. I checked Warmoth and, not that their opinion is the be-all-end-all, but their website explicitly says they don't use walnut for fretboards. Makes me wonder why, because everything MiKro says is true, it's nearly as hard as maple, and would need to be finished, and there are certainly softer woods that we use for fretboards...

I'd say go for it, and let the rest of us know what the results are :D

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I've used it twice, works fine, not the easiest thing to refret(chipping wise), but that was probably more because it was flatsawn.

Honestly though, I doubt I'd use it again, I just think there are better options. It was a tad on the soft side, I used it on a mandolin once, and I was pounding those tiny frets right into the board, even with a plastic hammer. "regular" fretwire was fine though.

Have seen it on some commercial instruments too. I think an ovation was one of them.

BTW, I'm talking about "American black walnut", I know nothing about english walnut.

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Would a walnut fretboard work as a fretboard? It is pretty dark wood and I have some really nice pieces lying around.

Black walnut should work just fine. I have some stock here and it looks dense and hard enough for a fretboard. I've used Shedua (Janka Hardness of 710) and that worked out great. Black Walnut is listed as a hardness of 1010 (Harder than shedua)

Edited by guitar2005
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I've ripped 3 fretboard blanks from walnut, I slotted and radiused one and it came out nice. I enjoy working on walnut, a friend gave me a bunch. It carves and sands easily, a bit chippy as noted above. Where maple would take a dent the walnut could chip out. I asked whether it would make a good fingerboard over at the 'other' forum and most said no but a couple have used it with no problems. I say go for it. -Vinny

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I was going to use Walnut on my current 7-string baritone project to make it an all Walnut guitar. However, I had heard that it just wasn't a good choice for a fretboard and I didn't want to put a finish on it so I went another direction. I believe I heard that at the MIMF and here, not completely sure though. Some hardwoods are available in a stabilized format from Larry Davis of Gallery Hardwoods. Whether Walnut is one of the possibilities I can't say.

Jeff

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