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Staining Fretboards?

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For my second build the neck is almost complete, and I think I should stain the fretboard. I tested out multiple stains today on some scrap, and I found one that would work well. Boiled linseed oil also gave me decent results.

If I stain the walnut, do I have to add a layer of poly? Likewise for the linseed oil? Or can I leave it as is afterward?

Very excited about the way this build is turning out, and I would like to bring this build to its fullest potential without screwing it up. :D

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I'm not much of an expert, or even familiar with staining fretboards, however it seems like a safe idea to test out each idea on your test scraps and rub them with your fingers after they completely set.

we use Dye on fretboards not stain. Not sure why you would need to darken a walnut FB? The only stuff I have seen sold is black which does not need a finish. The brand name escapes me at the moment but Stumac sells it.

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fiebing''s leather dye. Stew-mac sell the black which is used pretty widely in the industry to ebonize wood, but fiebings do make many colours.

These things do wear through with use, that not a problem when its used to darken a streaky or grey looking piece of ebony as the wood will darken with use too.

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I've used the tanin staining method with walnut to great effect in the past. It chemically changes the color of the wood, and can set in quite deep, so wear and sanding doesn't have the rub off effect you can get with stains and dyes.

I use white vinegar in a jar, put some steel wool in it, and cap it off (it's stinky). Let it sit for a week or so, until the steel wool is gone, and the mixture has a dark amber/light rust color. Rub or pour on the walnut, and let sit for a bit before wiping off. The rusty mixture will react with the tanins in the walnut, and oxidize it almost completely black. Wipe some oil on it to seal the wood from dirt and grime, and it pushes it right to black.

Good luck!

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