Dye a Jatoba fretboard ?

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by TheUnknownOne, May 15, 2018.

  1. TheUnknownOne

    TheUnknownOne SS.org Regular

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    Hi fellow sevenstringers !

    I saw a really nice deal on a LTD MH Razorblack nearby. Seems like a good workhorse for the money but the clear jatoba fretboard turns me off somehow.

    Do you think it would be possible (and not too expensive) to dye it ?

    ltd-by-esp-2171767.jpg
     
  2. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    Yes.
     
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  3. TheUnknownOne

    TheUnknownOne SS.org Regular

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    Great ! And what would be the right, proper way to do it ?
     
  4. Sogradde

    Sogradde SS.org Regular

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    I dyed a cheapo rosewood fretboard with black stain before, worked pretty good. Just clean it with some rubbing alcohol before you stain it
    Also, people tend to say you should sand it lightly before you apply the stain but I found that the stain tends to stick to the scratched surface on the binding and fret markers and it's quite a pita to clean it off again. Just try it out.
     
  5. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire ERG hoarder

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    3 options:
    1. aniline leather dye
    2.india ink/
    3. iron acetate solution https://www.wwgoa.com/article/ebonizing-wood/
    As far as cleaning the leather dye off of the inlays/binding, use some denatured alcohol. The india ink is far more difficult to gett off of the inlays, so just be careful and use a small brush to apply or something.
    The iron acetate is cool because it really only affects the wood (it will raise the grain a bit since there's water in it, so use it sparingly).
     
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  6. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    India ink is a bitch to work with just a warning. I dyed a fretboard with it and not only does it dry fast, so you don't have time to clean the inlays. By the time you get to endeof the fretboard the first frets have already dried. It doesn't clean of the frets easily either. The only way to get it of then is with paint thinner it will affect the dyed wood. If you also put a thick coat and don't wipe it off relatively quickly then it looks like a plastic coating over the wood. It is supposed though to be UV resistant so there's that a positive.

    In the end I went through the fret board twice with the paint thinner sparingly applied and got a good result and cleaned off the inlays and frets. I managed to give a natural darker color but not pitch black like I wanted. So I bought a leather dye for the next project :D.
     
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  7. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD Bass Player in Exile

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    Fiebings leather dye is probably the ebonizing dye out there.
     
  8. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Here's what I do on 90% of guitars that I want the board black:

    Clean the fretboard really good with some naphtha. Even if they guitar is new or looks like new. You want to dry out the board so it's more likely to absorb the dye as deeply and evenly as possible.

    Prep the wood surface with micromesh, anything between 2000 and 4000 grit will work. You want to run it with the grain of the wood. Avoid the binding and inlays the best you can. This is really best for the wide open spots.

    Now for the dye, I use Fiebings Black, it's nice and forgiving as far as inlays and binding...and hands. :lol:

    I brush it on with a foam brush, let it sit for about 10 minutes and wipe away. I'll do this a few times for a nice even dye job.

    Lastly, I'll then oil the board with mineral oil. This will pull some of the dye out, but if you dyed the board it'll still be uniformly black.

    If I'm working on guitars with minimal/no inlay or binding I'll use India Ink. Alternatively, if I need to use it, I'll go back and clean up the inlays with mixed down paint thinner and some micromesh. In all honesty, India Ink will give you the blackest most uniform look, it's just a pain to work with and I wouldn't recommend it unless you know what the inlays and binding are made of and how to get the dye out of/off of them.
     
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  9. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    I don't know if it's relevant to you or not, but I've had luck with pre-treating areas you DON'T want to get a finish with wax, then finishing the area you want to stain up to the wax, then removing the wax. Not saying it would specifically work with india ink, but it's something to think about..
     
  10. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Wax can work pretty good, but it's not impervious to India Ink and certain alcohol based dyes. It's pretty much your best option when working with porous inlay material like real abalone, vintage style clay or wood, not to mention purfling.

    It doesn't do much for many plastics because it typically doesn't adhere as well.

    I've actually found regular Elmer's White Glue to work well for sealing plastic parts. It adheres well but still peels off easily.
     
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  11. Wolfos

    Wolfos Guitarded

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    I know this doesnt help with your question but I love the Jatoba board on the ibanez I just got. It has a pretty decent pattern and bold grain to it. It reminds me of a slightly milder Snakewood fretboard.
     
  12. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    Jatoba is super nice as-is, but I get wanting to dye it black for a fretboard.
     
  13. Ordacleaphobia

    Ordacleaphobia Can only power chord

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    This. I used india ink when I dyed my RG8. It worked okay, nothing special; but it was a major pain in the ass getting it done.
    I taped off the neck / shoulders / binding of my guitar and a drop or two must have found it's way under that tape, because when I finished with the board and removed the tape there were ink smears alllll over the neck of the guitar. I'm not exactly a careless person either, I'm ridiculously attentive to my guitars. It cleaned up fine with some mineral spirits, but still. The OCD-like level of attention I was paying to that dye job was still not enough.

    Aside from the shenanigans with the neck, the inlays were also an issue as mentioned here. I kind of like how they turned out, kind of ghostly-grey looking, but the point is that I was not intending to alter my inlays and I wound up altering my inlays.

    I'll post a shot of the board in my RG8 when I get off work if you want to see what the ink job looks like. My board was Rosewood, but it was about the same level of brown as in that picture when I started.
     
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  14. electriceye

    electriceye SS.org Regular

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    LMII has a specific stain they recommend for staining boards black. I believe it's an aniline dye as well. I have it, but only tested it for use on figured tops, so can't say how well it stains boards just yet.
     
  15. Omzig

    Omzig SS.org Regular

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    As above with using the leather dye but if its really light or inconsistent across the board i'll do the iron acetate solution (i also add a black tea solution to the FB to add more tannin to get more reaction)

    [​IMG]

    Above is a Indian rose wood board from a maverick F1 i cleaned up,the board was a mess 15 years of caked on finger juice...ugh

    Left cleaned - Right Black tea iron acetate only

    I did later leather dye it and seal it with Osmo black polyx oil,came out pretty nice i think

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. pondman

    pondman Build Whore. Contributor

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    Whatever method you use to dye it, the dye will eventually fade and wear away. It'll be an ongoing project.
     
  17. Sogradde

    Sogradde SS.org Regular

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    Shameless off topic but those pots are rad.
     
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