I have a fretboard finishing question

Chris of Arabia

Senior member
Messages
376
OK, so I've not been around much recently  :toothy11:

I'm wondering how I'd be best going about getting an ebony type finish on the ipe (ironwood) fingerboard of 'Braveheart'. You know, that very smooth, slightly waxy sheen ebony gets. It's been cleaned up with some 0000 grade steel wool recently, and it's sort of getting there, but wondered whether the same approach as is used for ebony would achieve the same effect. Anyone happen to know at all?
 

Wana_make_a_guitar

Senior member
Messages
2,793
I saw something like it on ultimate guitar. Work your way up to through the grits to get to 1000 or 1500 grit paper! Looks like it has a slightly glossy natural almost satin like finish on it, but doesn't feel that way at all.

 

blue313

Senior member
Messages
2,824
That sounds like that 3M abrasive cloth I got from StewMac.  I use it on nuts and saddles mostly, but it put a nice sheen on my Lester's ebony board.
 

Chris of Arabia

Senior member
Messages
376
Think I have some of that somewhere, though I usually use it to polish the frets up. Will go seek it out and do a small test. For those who've never tried it, ipe is the nearest things I can imaging to petrified wood - the stuff is bullet proof
 

blue313

Senior member
Messages
2,824
I found the Micromesh pads to more slightly more aggressive than the 3M cloth.  With 8000 grit Micromesh it still had very small abrasions that needed to be rubbed out with their 15000.  I stopped with 8000 with the 3M stuff and was happy.  IMHO they're both excellent, just different tools.
 

Chris of Arabia

Senior member
Messages
376
Decided to try the micro pads and worked my way through from 6000 up to 12000. It seems to have done the trick - I'd only really used those for polishing frets before.
 

blue313

Senior member
Messages
2,824
Glad to hear it did the job for you.  :icon_thumright:

FYI though, I don't suggest doing an unfinished neck back to that grit.  It tends to take on a light glossy finished feel for little awhile, but goes away quickly enough.  600 is more than plenty.
 

DangerousR6

Senior member
Messages
15,456
Chris of Arabia said:
Think I have some of that somewhere, though I usually use it to polish the frets up. Will go seek it out and do a small test. For those who've never tried it, ipe is the nearest things I can imaging to petrified wood - the stuff is bullet proof
This durable South American hardwood is rated by the US Forest Products Lab for a 25 year life. It is naturally resistant to fire, having a NFPA Class A rating and a UBC Class 1 rating (the same as steel and concrete!)

Ipe wood naturally resists insects, rot and mildew, and it can be used in ground contact without preservatives or additional treatments.

On the Janka scale Ipe is the hardest of hard with a ranking of 3684, Ebony comes in around 3200-3220..
 
Top