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Dying Rosewood


farren
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Has anyone dyed their (fretted) rosewood fingerboard black? I'm not going for a paint look obviously, more of a perfectly uniform ebony look without the grain being completely obscured. The guitar is already fretted, but assuming I do a good tape job, I didn't think that would be an issue (and even then it'd probably wipe off the actual frets). Would the abalone inlays pose a problem? Dye sinking between the pieces of abalone, or can I assume they're sealed? I see most fingerboard dyes are marketed towards making ebony darker/more uniform, but I'd assume they work on other woods... It seems there are a couple dyes possible. Black shoe polish, the oil-based dye StewMac sells (same thing?), alcohol-based dye, and potassium permanganate. I'm not sure what would work best for rosewood, though I'm leaning toward Fiebings alcohol-based dye, but I'm not sure if it'd affect the fret glue.

Thanks!

Edited by farren
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Someone else will chime in too...

I used the stu-mac black dye on ebony and rosewood and it works great. It gives you a uniform black and penetrates deep on raw wood. You don't have to worry about the frets, just wipe it on, and when you are wiping off the excess it will wipe off the metal.

If your fretboard is sealed with anything, you are out of luck. It won't stick and it will come off on your fingers every time you play. You need raw wood.

Wear gloves. This stuff is very very persistant.

-john

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Thanks, guys. I think I have the process down (I'm going to wipe the board down with naptha to get out all the oil I can beforehand). I'm basically just wondering about oil-based versus alcohol-based dye. Due to the high oil content in the wood, I read somewhere that an alcohol-based dye may stick hold better... The oil-based dye seems a safer bet, though.

Edit: I went ahead and ordered the oil-based dye. If it doesn't last long enough, I can always try an alcohol-based in the future. Thanks again.

Edited by farren
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One more little thing, it doesn't take much. You get a little bottle and think you need to pour it on. Not the case. A little goes a LONG way.

-John

Yeah, I'll probably apply a couple layers at that... I saw someone recommend wiping down the board with naptha or mineral spirits in order to remove oils prior to coating... I plan to clean the board really well, degrease, then apply a couple coats of oil-based dye over the course of a few hours, clean, and then apply a bit of lemon oil.

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Speaking of wiping the board with solvents, you can use rosewood to dye maple. I sanded my board to 2000 grit and wiped it with alcohol and while marveling at the grain, I accidentally wiped the maple. It actually looks better than the dye I was going to use. I don't know it this was the oil or the dust.

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