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Thread: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

  1. #1

    Default Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    I am working on a reliced guitar and had to sand into fresh wood on the fingerboard. I am now at the fun stage of trying to match the original finish.

    I have been reading up on relicing, but didn't find any pictures that looked quite like this.

    Does anyone recognize how this was done?

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    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

  2. #2
    Registered User bernabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    Im pretty sure café member Bruce Harvie [Spruce] does a lot of that stuff. If he doesn't chime in, I'd mssg him.

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  4. #3
    Registered User Brett Byers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    Bernabe is spot on- Bruce Harvie is definitely the resident forum expert on all things related to authentic distressing, especially of Fender and Gibson electric guitars. He's perfected the art.

  5. #4
    Registered User sgrexa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    I have had good luck rubbing dirt into the fretboard using my hands and fine steel wool. Just work slowly and check your progress. The cigarette burn is easy. Good luck!

    Sean

  6. #5
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    Thanks for the kudos, folks, but I don't know squat compared to some of the big boys out there...

    Quote Originally Posted by Folkmusician.com View Post
    I am working on a reliced guitar and had to sand into fresh wood on the fingerboard. I am now at the fun stage of trying to match the original finish.

    I have been reading up on relicing, but didn't find any pictures that looked quite like this.

    Does anyone recognize how this was done?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'm not seeing anything all that special or worth replicating??
    Looks like a bad French polish job over the frets, and some of the shellac is left behind??
    Fender did finish over the frets back in the day on maple 'boards...

    The antiqued maple 'board can be a tough thing to get "right"...
    I like to French polish the board, and then string it up.
    Then, find a guitar you like the wear on, and go after it with a Q-tip and alcohol to replicate the wear between the strings...

    If you want that gunk that you so often see on older guitars that collects under the frets, a mixture of fine dirt and brown shoe polish makes good "gunk"...
    Just put in on there and wipe away...very "authentic"...

    Quote Originally Posted by sgrexa View Post
    I have had good luck rubbing dirt into the fretboard....

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  8. #6

    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    Thanks Bruce,

    Re-reading my post, I see that I wasn't real clear....

    The images are of the guitar I am working on, it came in for some fretwork and while I was at it, the customer wanted me to remove this (which is into the bare wood):

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    Here I took the black off the first three positions and started trying to match the original finish... I am getting close, but it isn't really blending. Actually it was looking pretty good under the florescent lights, but I took it into the sun and I am not happy with it.

    I will try mixing up some shellac and giving it a bad French Polishing.


    I wonder if the customer would mind if I tried the mud trick? hehe
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

  9. #7
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    Quote Originally Posted by Folkmusician.com View Post
    ....the customer wanted me to remove this (which is into the bare wood):

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    Oh my...

    What year/model is the Fender (if it is indeed a Fender)...

  10. #8

    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    I knew this was going to be difficult before I started. Why do I take these things on?

    It took a little (ok a lot) of experimenting, but I was finally able to blend the touched up area into the original finish. I went with Bruce's recomendation and used shellac. What do you know, I am quite the natural at doing bad french polishing! Ok, I admit that I have done my share of bad French polishing in the past.

    Just a little setup work and it is out of here. Thanks Bruce!

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    What year/model is the Fender (if it is indeed a Fender)...
    52 Thinskin with a Musikraft neck. A very nice axe.
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

  11. #9

    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    Looks great! Color blending has got to be the toughest thing to do. If you have to do this again, you may find it helps to apply color with water paints, especially if age has caused the finish to become slightly opaque. It's hard enough to get the correct color, and then you have to worry about opacity, so I use transparent artist oils for transparent color and water color paints to build opacity. A light wash of shellac is necessary between layers of color to build layer on layer.

    This one looks great the way you did it!

  12. #10
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    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    Isn't the point that the instrument has been through a hard life and whatever it is you have done is a part of that?

  13. #11
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    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    This is a Strat copy I made somewhere around 94 and I think I play it more than any instrument I own. I mean every day. But I can't even wear out the frets, much less get that "relic" look. I think sweat, beer and smokey barrooms are part of the equation.
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  14. #12
    Registered User Mandoborg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    Dan Erlewine has written about the process in the GAL sheets.......I can look up the issues of you'd like.......... if you want some inspiration, check out this guy, the master of the art.

    http://whitfillcustomguitars.com/guitars.html

  15. #13
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    Quote Originally Posted by Folkmusician.com View Post
    What do you know, I am quite the natural at doing bad french polishing!
    You want bad french polishing on a 50's Fender copy--so as to match the original guitars...
    I'm a horrid FP'er, but it winds up looking "right"....

  16. #14

    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    This is a Strat copy I made somewhere around 94 and I think I play it more than any instrument I own. I mean every day. But I can't even wear out the frets, much less get that "relic" look. I think sweat, beer and smokey barrooms are part of the equation.
    Ahh.... the missing ingredient! I do love a good stout and I'll bet that might just match the color!

    Dan Erlewine has written about the process in the GAL sheets.......I can look up the issues of you'd like.......... if you want some inspiration, check out this guy, the master of the art.

    http://whitfillcustomguitars.com/guitars.html
    After this, I am actually inspired to build a reliced something or the other.


    So the final result was clear shellac in a "1.5oz marmalade jar" (apparently important to the process) and Transtint liquid stain (medium brown/vintage amber) applied with a combination of brush and french polish. I followed up with liberal use of steel wool with a hint of whatever dust was near the belt sander. Part of the difficulty I was having, was trying to do clean work. Once I slopped it on without much concern, it started matching much closer. It seemed to be more about the application process than anything. It came out real close to the original.
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

  17. #15
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    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    That worn through the lacquer and turned all brown look is actually quite sought after. People either want totally pristine or the drug through the mud look. I read that after the early Fenders started showing that characteristic Leo decided they had to go to rosewood boards in '59.

  18. #16

    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    [QUOTE=Jim Hilburn;1368972]That worn through the lacquer and turned all brown look is actually quite sought after. People either want totally pristine or the drug through the mud look.

    Yeah, I'd prefer it the way it came in. I just touched up a ~ 15 year old Heritage LP. Had a funky thumb sized burn through to the wood on the neck and some buckle rash on the back, through the double thick clear pickguard he'd stuck on years ago. It had a small amount of finish checking starting to develop on the back of the neck. I told him I could fix/color match the neck woogie, remove the clear pickguard and do a little wet sanding, but I wouldn't try and get every bit of rash out. Just eliminate any ghost from the plastic. I explained the rash was a form of natural relicing that lots of folks would pay extra for. Also didn't want to burn through the color coat, there was some fairly deep rash back there. He seem fine with that, and mentioned he'd hung it from the neck before he realized he shouldn't have with a guitar that heavy and could I fix some of the stuff up there ???. I thought I'd find some mar around either side of the nut. Nope. A few dings of chipped out laquer around the top of the headstk. So I assumed that's what he meant, did a little drop in, color looked great, buffed her up, done, right ?
    He comes to pick it up and tells the store he thought the little cracks on the back of the headstock would be gone. Had to explain how that would require a complete re-fin (much more $ than he budgeted for) and it was a normal thing for lacquer to do. Even if we re-fin the entire neck and back, pretty soon the sides and top would check. Plus it would be sacrilege to someone like me to be forced to do, and I'd have to charge a whole lot more to do that to such a nice guitar. I think he finally got it. Put him in the 'totally pristine' camp I guess !

  19. #17
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    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    Man, if I had the foresight (and $) at the time when I went to my first Arlington vintage guitar show in the early 90's to buy up some of the Strats and Teles that were quite road weary I'd be a rich man. Instead they ended up in Japan.

  20. #18

    Default Re: Reliced Maple Fingerboard

    To be clear, this is a new "reliced" neck. If these were honest wear marks, I would have done my best to convince the owner to leave them be.
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

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