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Is there not a way they could darken the Pau Ferro fretboards???

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by E5RSY, May 16, 2018.

  1. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 5, 2009
    Georgetown, TX
    I'm sorry, I just can't warm up to its color on the Classic series instruments. :confused:

    Dr Improbable likes this.
  2. drf64

    drf64 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Jul 24, 2009
    Ada, MI
    I think then it looks like you are trying to pass it off as RW. I like PF personally.
    Totally_Tod likes this.
  3. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

    Jul 5, 2017
    Honolulu, HI
    Most of the pics I see look like the PF boards are too dry and in need of oiling. And, I have no doubt that after that's done, they'll look like a nice chocolately rosewood board, instead of like a grungy, dry toothpick. At least that's been my experience with the guitars I've owned with lighter colored rosewood boards. Fender could mislead people and dye them, but I respect them for not doing that, in the same way that Taylor doesn't dye their Ebony boards that have some light streaks.
    beninma, AAT65, LocoTex and 2 others like this.
  4. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 22, 2009
    New York
    PF is super nice. Try some mineral oil to darken, otherwise you could full on stain. But why? The natural streaking looks really nice, IMO. Once you get used to the PF you'll probably realize all the RW boards are boring and ugly, like me ;)
  5. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    I don't like the light-colored fret boards either. Kinda ugly in my view.

    I'm sure that the wood itself, Pau Ferro, works just fine from a performance standpoint - it's the light-colored looks that some people (many people?) don't like.

    Fretboards, for the most part, have been very dark to black on instruments for a very long time. Some of us are accustomed to that dark look and strongly prefer it.

    Different strokes for different folks, as they say.

    There are wood tints that you can use; you might try adding some tint to some mineral oil and applying it that way? I have no qualms at all in tinting a fret board darker. It's just a personal preference situation, that's all.

    I don't consider that "trying to pass it off as RW" - all you're doing is trying to make it appeal more to you visually. And there's nothing wrong with that.
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
    rjtwangs and rze99 like this.
  6. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 26, 2014
    South London UK
    Nothing wrong with Pau Ferro but I have seen a lot of streaky reddish fretboards on guitars that would look better with a darker boards, especially the vintage style instruments with classic colours.

    Custom Shop and Fender dye some of their fretboards to make them look in keeping or as part of the ageing process. There's no reason not to do that with a PF board if you prefer the look
    DHart likes this.
  7. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  8. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Holic

    May 28, 2008
    rze99 likes this.
  9. rooboo

    rooboo Tele-Meister

    Aug 18, 2017
    Sure there is! There's some different types of stains for this. I've seen it done with stain oil with good results. Fiebing's Oil Dye was the brand, but there's lots of others too. And non-oil stains as well.
  10. Lupo

    Lupo Tele-Holic

    May 19, 2014
    I would just use some "restoration oil"... i.e. mineral oil with some stain inside... It can be easilly found in hardware stores and it can be "tuned" bay repeating the application with time.
  11. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 31, 2016
    Aww, you're not boring ;-)

    Re: Fretboards. With the right colour body, the Pau Ferro can look quite nice. The few I've seen in shops though have all been drier than a witches tit.
    5ofeight likes this.
  12. AndrewG

    AndrewG Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2007
    Exeter, England
    My American Special (rosewood), has reddish, purple and brown streaks. I like it.
  13. Boarsrock

    Boarsrock TDPRI Member

    Jan 19, 2018
    I love my PF coloration
  14. William Shaw

    William Shaw NEW MEMBER!

    Jul 23, 2018
    Recently purchased a Baja Tele neck with a Pau Ferro fingerboard. Very light and reddish. Simple fix actually.

    *The process is most effective doing two or three frets at a time.

    -remove neck.
    -mask or remove nut.

    -apply India ink with a Q-tip, against the grain.
    -using a microfiber cloth against the grain, rub vigorously (I used my fingernails to get close to the frets).
    -finish with 0000 steel wool. Again, against the grain.

    12088.jpg 12089.jpeg
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
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  15. Backbeat8

    Backbeat8 Tele-Holic

    Jun 21, 2018
    Yea, when I first saw Fender was doing this on their lower end lines, I was a bit horrified. It seemed very unappealing, I still don't think it is the same as rosewood, if it is interchangeable, then why are all the MIA not Pau Ferro also? I prefer the Dark look of the Rosewood, although I have seen on some new LesPauls, a "Rosewood" there that looks incredibly light and dry. I don't know how much the "dryness" contributes to the "Lightness" of the shade....

    All I know is that a very rich dark Rosewood looks fantastic on the right body. I don't know how much of that is the Rosewood itself or the fact that it retains moisture much better than PF. That could be it. There are some PF boards that look indistinguishable from RW, but then there are others looks like that "light" "dry" RW on the LesPauls, then there is the way they are cutting the wood, Idk if it's quartersawn or what, but this one board of PF it looks like incredibly wavy....And there doesn't seem to be alot of perforations in the PF, whereas the RW, when you look close, you see all those little perforarations.
    Yes, the problem I have is, the ubiquity with which Fender applied the PF to all their lower end lines as a complete "replacement" of the RW.... Either it is a "replacement"? or is it a "boutique higher end exotic option like Ebony. Clearly if you read this on Fender's own site,
    they say they can basically get the PF for cheap from Sout America and then manufacture in the Mexico plant, so that could either mean one of three things:

    1. The PF from SA is actually REALLY REALLY good, and Fender is just able to get it for much cheaper than paying to ship Indian/Indonesian RW from there to Mexico?
    2. The PF from SA is just, it is what it is, could be good bad, normal, and they don't care, because it's just cheaper to import, vs the added Permits you need and cost of CITES
    3. The PF is really BAD, but Fender don't care:lol:, because they can get it cheaper than the alternative stated in #2!

    So that is before and after? I am on the fence about this PF, on one hand I think it's like its own "thing", its own boutique wood, like Ebony, so I wouldn't want to alter it, then otoh, I see it as just Fender doing cost-cutting, which cheapens the entire material to me....

    then I think, well, I don't even oil my own RW boards, so maybe I am not even doing that any way, but I don't know how I feel about oiling the PF just to make it look like RW or darker than it naturally is.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  16. Backbeat8

    Backbeat8 Tele-Holic

    Jun 21, 2018
    So yea, I think in actuality, PF is a species of Iron Wood, not Rose wood, the name Pau Ferro literally means Iron Wood. And there are other types of it in Africa etc.
    Apparently you can get it in a darker shade, but it's not as abundant.
  17. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA

    The board will look darker if you put a finish on it. I would try “boiled linseed oil,” which is readily available and which cures: that is, stops being oily. Mineral oil doesn’t cure.

    But there is absolutely no reason why you could not stain a pao ferro board. I like the transtint dyes, which are soluble in water or alcohol. I’d use transtint “reddish brown” in alcohol so as to not raise the grain.

    You could use a commercial wood stain as well. I would do some experimenting on scrap first. Maybe find a lumber yard and get a piece of pao ferro. Of you try it on some dark wood.

    I’m building a guitar with a walnut fingerboard right now and just used that transtint stain to get a really nice....reddish brown.
  18. Finck

    Finck Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 11, 2017
    São Paulo - Brazil
    It's possible to stain woods with Potassium Permanganate (aka Condy’s Crystals and permanganate of potash).
    Piece of cake.
    I'm just not sure if the method will really darken pau ferro a lot or not.
  19. William Shaw

    William Shaw NEW MEMBER!

    Jul 23, 2018

    Yes, that's before and after. I went with the India ink to avoid "oil"/stain. All of my Rosewood and Ebony boards are treated with lemon oil.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
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