Fret Board Material??

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Gordon Bellerose
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 11:47 pm
Location: Edmonton AB. Canada

Fret Board Material??

Post by Gordon Bellerose »

I did a forum search and found nothing in this area, so I thought I would ask.

1. Have any of you used either Cherry, or Purple Heart, as a fret board material?
2. Is cherry hard enough? (I suspect it is)
3. How would you finish Purple Heart for use on a fret board? (I really don't know if I would do this, but I was asked the question by someone else) Purple Heart tends to become a dark brownish purple after a while without finish.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!

Brian Evans
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Location: Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Re: Fret Board Material??

Post by Brian Evans »

Cherry is around as hard as a lot of maple, to me, and maple is really common. Cherry has the advantage or disadvantage of strongly reacting to sunlight and darkening, and it can be really surprising what colour it ends up after a few years.

Brian

David King
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Re: Fret Board Material??

Post by David King »

Purpleheart benefits from a finish. An oil finish will hold off the browning for a little while but a hard finish could hold it off indefinitely. I did an oil finished purpleheart fingerboard twenty years ago and it became nearly black over time.

Gordon Bellerose
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 11:47 pm
Location: Edmonton AB. Canada

Re: Fret Board Material??

Post by Gordon Bellerose »

Thanks for the replies fellas.
That's kind of what I thought about Purpleheart. It tends to darken pretty severely after a while. I've got a couple of pieces in the shop that have been there for a while, and they are pretty dark.
That is why I asked about a finish. Difficult to put a sealed coat on a fret board. The PolyX Oil may work though.

Cherry also darkens a bit but not as badly, as I understand.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!

Brian Evans
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Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:26 am
Location: Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Re: Fret Board Material??

Post by Brian Evans »

Cherry looks really dirty really fast if it's not well sealed with a tough finish.

Brian

Todd Stock
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: Fret Board Material??

Post by Todd Stock »

Cherry is about 950 to 995 Janka; soft maple is about the same; hard maple is about 1450. By way of comparison, mahogany is around 800, while rosewoods and ebony run about 1800 and ~3200, respectively. I don't mind a finished fretboard, and if the price is a coat or two of lacquer every now and again, that is fine. I prefer stainless or EVO frets, though - easier than the inevitable refret. A finished cherry board might look very nice.
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Chuck Tweedy
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Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Fret Board Material??

Post by Chuck Tweedy »

That is a beauty Todd.
Likes to drink Rosewood Juice

Gordon Bellerose
Posts: 1186
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 11:47 pm
Location: Edmonton AB. Canada

Re: Fret Board Material??

Post by Gordon Bellerose »

Yeah that's a beauty. The fret board looks like a quilted? cherry.

Just so everyone knows, I have decided to go with a cherry board, bound with maple.
I will treat it with PolyX Oil. I have used that product twice now, and it puts a hard, waterproof, UV resistant coat on wood, but doesn't have a lacquer like shine. It leaves the wood feeling more natural.

I'll get back to you with the results in a month or two, when the guitar is finished.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!

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