Finishing Maple Fre...
 
Share:
Notifications
Clear all

Finishing Maple Fretboards

23 Posts
7 Users
202 Reactions
3,410 Views
mikeyrjiom
(@mikeyrjiom)
Reputable Member
Semi Professional
Rep Points: 401
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 70
Topic starter  

Hi Guys

@MarkBailey recently showed us, via streams, that he prefers to lacquer the maple fretboard before fitting the frets. Hope I understood that correctly.

I am currently building an Electric set neck from flamed maple which will have the neck and a separate fretboard made from the same billet (the wood came from Bosnia and I made the acoustic (Phil Series) from the same pieces) The PRS I have does not have a lacquered fretboard and feels as if it's just buffed or polished.

Whats the thought on lacquered/ un-lacquered are there any advantages or disadvantages to either of these?

Thanks

Trying to make a living out of a hobby doesn't work 🙂


   
Boo, Deej, mattbeels and 9 people reacted
Quote
tv1
 tv1
(@tv101)
Illustrious Member Customer Registered
Luthier
Rep Points: 28066
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 3037
 

I think the main issue with an unlacquered - or unfinished in any way - maple board is that it'll get visibly dirty quite quickly.

Not just from your fingers, but the strings as well!

Also, a bit of finish on a flamed maple board can really make it "wow".

The only disadvantage that springs to mind is the hassle of applying the finish to the fretboard.

Online guitar making courses – guitarmaking.co.uk


   
Boo, Deej, Peebee and 7 people reacted
ReplyQuote
Deej
 Deej
(@deej)
Famed Member
Luthier
Rep Points: 10929
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 877
 

Personally I prefer oiled fretboards to work on and definitely to play on. Most bolt ones gave lacquered and do not play well until a number of hours of use...only my opinion.

A lot more work to built too?

I have too many guitars...said no one in the world..ever!


   
tv1, Boo, mattbeels and 5 people reacted
ReplyQuote
mikeyrjiom
(@mikeyrjiom)
Reputable Member
Semi Professional
Rep Points: 401
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 70
Topic starter  

Thanks for the replies @TV1 and @Deej. Was hoping Mark would have a take on this.

I have been looking through interweb and it seems people are suggesting a few coats of TRU-OIL on maple fretboards.

This as well as being very expensive seems to be mainly sold for guns, so not sure if there is anything else that is specifically for guitars / wood.

Axeminster are selling a "Liberon Finishing Oil" that is resistant to water, alcohol and food acid etc so this sounds as if it would fit the bill.

Anyone tried anything like this?

Trying to make a living out of a hobby doesn't work 🙂


   
Deej, mattbeels, Boo and 7 people reacted
ReplyQuote
tv1
 tv1
(@tv101)
Illustrious Member Customer Registered
Luthier
Rep Points: 28066
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 3037
 

This as well as being very expensive seems to be mainly sold for guns, so not sure if there is anything else that is specifically for guitars / wood.

I've used Tru-Oil on guitar woods - it's not *just* for gun stocks, though it is very popular for those too.

A maple fretboard won't absorb much oil (of any kind).  The smallest bottle of it is about £12, and will be way more than you'll need for one neck.  So, not hugely expensive really.

But, oil (of any kind) won't give you the same amount of protection as a lacquered finish.  The oil will wear more easily and faster and so your protection from moisture/dirt (which is why you're applying it) will not be as long-lasting.  Sure, you can then re-apply it, but you'd have to make sure that you remove all traces of dirt from the fretboard before applying new coats of oil.  Which will be a pita!

How much that's a problem will depend on how much you play the guitar.  If you're going to be playing pro-level amounts, then the oil finish will wear through in weeks/months.  If you're going to pick up the guitar for an hour every week or so, then it's obviously going to last a lot longer.

If oiling was the cheaper/easier/better option, then Fender would use it on their maple-necked Teles & Strats.  They don't.

I generally avoid maple fretboards on my builds because it's easier to finish other types of wood.

Online guitar making courses – guitarmaking.co.uk


   
Russ, Deej, mattbeels and 5 people reacted
ReplyQuote
mikeyrjiom
(@mikeyrjiom)
Reputable Member
Semi Professional
Rep Points: 401
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 70
Topic starter  

Thanks Again @tv1

Looks like its lacquering then 😀. I prefer a satin type finish on the necks, so I think that should still work on the fretboard

I presume you would still need a sanding sealer coat underneath to start the spraying process off. I don't know if there is the need for the grain filler on maple though

 

Trying to make a living out of a hobby doesn't work 🙂


   
mattbeels, Russ, Deej and 5 people reacted
ReplyQuote
Boo
 Boo
(@boo)
Illustrious Member
Luthier
Rep Points: 34920
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 3838
 

@mikeyrjiom Here is my contribution to this conversation about finishes on maple fretboards. Hope it helps and saves you some time and effort. 👍

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


   
Russ, Deej, tv1 and 5 people reacted
ReplyQuote
Boo
 Boo
(@boo)
Illustrious Member
Luthier
Rep Points: 34920
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 3838
 

I presume you would still need a sanding sealer coat underneath to start the spraying process off. I don't know if there is the need for the grain filler on maple though

@mikeyrjiom This is covered in the finishing course, check out the whole thing, it’s a good overview of paint/lacquer/clear finishing. 👍

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


   
Koendb, mattbeels, Russ and 5 people reacted
ReplyQuote
tv1
 tv1
(@tv101)
Illustrious Member Customer Registered
Luthier
Rep Points: 28066
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 3037
 

Here is my contribution to this conversation about finishes on maple fretboards

That is brilliant @boo.  

Online guitar making courses – guitarmaking.co.uk


   
mattbeels, Russ, Boo and 5 people reacted
ReplyQuote
Deej
 Deej
(@deej)
Famed Member
Luthier
Rep Points: 10929
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 877
 

Nice vid @boo. Got to agree with you on that...it’s why I prefer ebony, rosewood or other dark boards.

I have too many guitars...said no one in the world..ever!


   
mattbeels, tv1, Russ and 5 people reacted
ReplyQuote
Boo
 Boo
(@boo)
Illustrious Member
Luthier
Rep Points: 34920
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 3838
 

@tv101 and @deej Thanks. I experimented and it didn’t work so it’s only right that I pass that knowledge on so others won’t (maybe 🤣) make the same mistake. 
I have avoided spraying maple fretboards because of the frets, I was unsure of what to do. Now I’ve watched Mark’s finishing course, I will now take on spraying them. It means my scope of materials (wood) has now increased, I am not limiting myself any more. 
Like I said, taking note of what the bigger boys have done before us (Fender, Gibson etc) is a good start, they figured it all out so we don’t have to. 

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


   
Peebee, mattbeels, Deej and 7 people reacted
ReplyQuote
mattbeels
(@mattbeels)
Illustrious Member
Luthier
Rep Points: 19074
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 1040
 

Good job @boo, thanks for the vid. 👍

Practice on scrap...


   
Deej, Russ, tv1 and 5 people reacted
ReplyQuote
mikeyrjiom
(@mikeyrjiom)
Reputable Member
Semi Professional
Rep Points: 401
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 70
Topic starter  

Thanks  @boo 

The video was very useful.

Just need to find the part on the finishing course that talks about how Lewis sprayed @rashdown_online (Roland's) guitar neck.

Trying to make a living out of a hobby doesn't work 🙂


   
tv1, Deej, Russ and 7 people reacted
ReplyQuote
Boo
 Boo
(@boo)
Illustrious Member
Luthier
Rep Points: 34920
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 3838
 

Thanks  @boo 

The video was very useful.

No problem 👍

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


   
tv1, Deej, Russ and 5 people reacted
ReplyQuote
Roland
(@rashdown_online)
Reputable Member
Semi Professional
Rep Points: 311
Joined: 2026 years ago
Posts: 41
 

how Lewis sprayed @rashdown_online (Roland's) guitar neck

Not sure if that'll be on there (likely not professional enough). The reason I say that is that the only way I can think that a mortal completed that job was when Carol told Lewis the "difference between a Buffalo and a Bison" joke whilst Lewis had a mouthful of Irn-Bru, and sprayed the Irn-Bru over the neck/fingerboard at the punchline.

Irn-Bru, you see, is the beverage/liquid of Champions.

HOW OLD AM I??? (See: Joined...)
Signed: (legit grumpy) OLD bloke... 😛


   
tv1, Deej, Russ and 7 people reacted
ReplyQuote
Deej
 Deej
(@deej)
Famed Member
Luthier
Rep Points: 10929
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 877
 

Irn-Bru, you see, is the beverage/liquid of Champions.

It is in Scotland @rashdown_online loved having some of that sat on a bench in Ayr at my last Bailey workshop with Bones (aka David Young) having fish and chips looking out to see in the sun with a can of Irn-Bru.

quite a treat for a “southerner”..! 

I have too many guitars...said no one in the world..ever!


   
Boo, mattbeels, Robin and 7 people reacted
ReplyQuote
Boo
 Boo
(@boo)
Illustrious Member
Luthier
Rep Points: 34920
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 3838
 

sat on a bench in Ayr at my last Bailey workshop with Bones (aka David Young) having fish and chips looking out to see in the sun with a can of Irn-Bru.

@deej That sound pretty idyllic to me. Tis but a dream for me atm. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


   
mattbeels, Deej, Robin and 7 people reacted
ReplyQuote
tv1
 tv1
(@tv101)
Illustrious Member Customer Registered
Luthier
Rep Points: 28066
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 3037
 

looking out to see in the sun

@Deej ... like this?

IMG 0820

Online guitar making courses – guitarmaking.co.uk


   
mattbeels, Russ, Deej and 7 people reacted
ReplyQuote
Boo
 Boo
(@boo)
Illustrious Member
Luthier
Rep Points: 34920
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 3838
 

like this?

@tv101 Stop it, your making me cry. 🥲😢😭🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸


   
mattbeels, Russ, Deej and 3 people reacted
ReplyQuote
Deej
 Deej
(@deej)
Famed Member
Luthier
Rep Points: 10929
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 877
 

 

@Deej ... like this?

Exactly like that...

I have too many guitars...said no one in the world..ever!


   
Boo, mattbeels, Russ and 3 people reacted
ReplyQuote
Page 1 / 2
Share: