Will aluminum discolor wood?

stubhead

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At some point in time (LONG way off), I'm going to have to inlay some side dots on the fretless, 30.5" scale bass that I'm building. I had Warmoth make a neck with no dots. Placing the dots is easy enough, there are calculators online. I am considering using slices cut off of a 3/32" aluminum TIG welding rod to make the dots, and I am just wondering if there is any possible interaction that I should be aware of - maple turning green or something. I can always use boring old mother of pearl  or plastic dots, but this bass is going to be plenty weird already...
 

stubhead

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A standard fretless bass neck has side dots calculated for a 34" scale. I am going to be using a shorter scale - the bridge closer to the neck - so the dots will be closer together and there'll be more of 'em (29 "frets", to be exact). It's lining up fine, I just need to know if there's any discoloration of raw maple from raw aluminum.
 

dbw

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Cool idea... copper will turn green and iron will rust, but I don't know what aluminum will do.  Silver will tarnish but if you really want something inert, use platinum.  BLING!  :laughing7:
 
R

RLW

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Aluminum will discolor your hands. Side dots would probably not be a big deal, other than being a really weird idea.
 

DangerousR6

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RLW said:
Aluminum will discolor your hands. Side dots would probably not be a big deal, other than being a really weird idea.
RLW is correct over time aluminum will discolor you hands, but with the size of the dots being so small there's not enough surface area that it's going to matter. Also with the neck being maple aren't you putting a finish on it?  :dontknow:
 

dbw

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Presumably he will.  Come to think of it, that should stop any metal from oxidizing and discoloring the wood... after all you need oxygen to oxidize.
 

DangerousR6

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dbw said:
Presumably he will.  Come to think of it, that should stop any metal from oxidizing and discoloring the wood... after all you need oxygen to oxidize.
This is true.......Also Kramer use have the old metal necks that were primarily aluminum with wood inserts, although they mostly used walnut and koa I believe. May have been some with maple inserts...
 

Alfang

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I agree with CB, go stainless, you know it's called stainless for a reason, but I don't remember why
 

stubhead

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There's three ways to do dots that I know of. One, is to get some pre-cut, .050" thick dots and drill holes to the exact depth needed, or shim/fill them to the proper depth after drilling; two, get some sort of rod (plastic, wood, metal), drill the holes, cut pieces of rod slightly longer than each hole, glue them, then file them flat - stainless would be hardest, but not impossible. Three, use some sort of epoxy/resin/paint to fill the holes with a liquid that hardens. I'm leaning toward option three, just cause I don't have any way to regulate drilling depth that precisely.

It's going to be harder to get really consistently-placed holes than it will be to fill them, I think. If a pickup is a few thousandths of an inch crooked you'd never see it, but I'll be staring at those dots every day... :eek: I just finished the poly on the neck last night, cause I'm not about to wait for six weeks to even get started while I agonize over stupid little dots. I can always re-seal the tops with something. I have one friend, a studio player in L.A. who tells me that fretless basses should all have fret lines as well as dots, and another friend who owns a studio in Minneapolis and has played on hundreds of projects who says any markers would be wimpy and I should play by ear.  :toothy12: Surely I'll give that a try first, but almost as surely, I'll end up going dotty. :binkybaby:
 
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