Sooooo rough

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Wrighty, Feb 23, 2020.

  1. Wrighty

    Wrighty Friend of Leo's

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    I posted on the other channel a while back about twelve or so year old Affinity Strat I’d picked up to leave around the house for me or anyone to just grab in idle moments. It’s been a hit, especially with some of the grandchildren. Anything that encourages a six year old to pick up a guitar has to be a good thing.

    I reckoned it’d be a good idea to get another one, often someone grabs the Strat and someone else wants to join in.

    Anyways, to the point of this post. I just collected a new Affinity Tele as that second guitar. Restrung it, set it up and it’s a good £140 worth except.............the PF board is just so damn rough. It was very dry so I lubed it and hadn’t actually played it at all until the set up was done. I’m telling you guys, you could grate cheese on this thing! The Strat is great, probably rosewood and, yes, it’s worn in but I reckon this thing will never get there through playing.

    Any ideas please? I was wondering about fine wire wool? Such a shame, neck is comfortable, frets good, action great but you can hear string bends scraping the surface!
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
  2. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Afflicted

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    More oil. Maybe paraffin oil. Or a linseed oil if you don't mind the smell (find good extra virgin linseed oil from arts supply). Linseed oil hardens and darkens. Apply, wipe the excess, and let it dry a few days. Then scrape the wood with a razor blade, very gently, it's not that difficult once you get the grip. Then rub the wood with the edge of a plastic card (like credit card) using more pressure to burnish it. Buff with a piece of wool cloth. Repeat in any order until you get it right.

    Steel wool works to some extent but you have to take extra care to protect the pickups. They will attract steel dust... That's not good.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
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  3. Wrighty

    Wrighty Friend of Leo's

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    Sounds like a lot of work but I’ve no problem with that. Art supply shop here I come! Don’t remember linseed oil having too offensive a smell! Thanks LC, appreciate the advice.
     
  4. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I recently checked out a bunch of the latest squire and fender offerings with pao ferro boards and thought the boards were very rough and extremely dry looking too.
    There wasn't a nice one amongst the 7 or so I checked out. The grain was very deep and the boards almost looked unsanded.

    To remedy that would need something extreme like wet sanding with coarse grade micromesh pad and tru oil to smooth them out and grain fill at the same time.
    Not ideal on a new guitar and would be a hassle to do.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
  5. Dirty Dave

    Dirty Dave TDPRI Member

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    I built a guitar with a company a few years ago, and wire wool was exactly what we used to take down any sharp spots on fret ends, and generally age them in a little bit more, so they sat comfortably under your fingers.
    It de-burred rough spots on the fretboard too.
    I was a bit worried about using it, but the boss put me right, and said 'it's a working surface. It's going to wear in as time goes on' which was absolutely correct.
    Obviously don't use anything crazy heavy.
    Just a light / fine gauge and go very easy.
    Maybe trial a test spot.
     
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  6. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I rub all my new necks over with worn 400 grit and then up the grade of paper to get rind of any scratches. Compress and burnish the sides of the board with a screwdriver shaft. I don't start with rough pau ferro though, I do it on mint rosewood board Allparts neck edges etc. That's the difference in feel between custom shop and standard right there. A couple bucks worth of sandpaper.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
  7. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Afflicted

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    Take your time, but it should be done in less than half an hour. Steel wool is faster to use but has some drawbacks.

    Practice scraping first.

    Here is a video demonstrating this:



    He uses « teak oil » which is a mixture of oils and varnish (including linseed oil or tung oil) and could be compared to « tru oil » which is another more radical option.

    (Edit:) And he is cleaning the fretboard, so he scrape first and then oil. But your dry fretboard should be oiled first in my opinion.
     
  8. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    I understand what you meant - but what the heck does "PF" board stand for? I have never seen those initials used, ever.

    And you didn't say whether it's maple or whatever they use that is supposed to approximate rosewood. Some maple board are very rough - but you NEVER use oil or wax on them.

    I've been doing tech work since 1971 and I respectfully disagree with both of these recommendations.

    1. Wax has NO place on a guitar except when cutting nut slots (or on a Martin Backpacker body as recommended by Martin, as they only use a light sealer on them). It never goes on a finish or fretboard - it's a dirt magnet , sticky, and the only ting that cleans it safely is naphtha - which removes it and dries out the board. Same problem on finishes - terrible stuff.

    2. RAW (virgin) linseed oil is not a drying oil and is used with Japan drier in artwork - because alone it NEVER dries! It's the same kind of "dirt magnet" as wax and even stickier when it combines with finger or fretboard oils. Because it soaks into wood grain and fret slots it's almost impossible to remove completely. There are times it can be used, but only in restoration work of antique, dried-out instruments by experienced techs.

    3. Boiled linseed oil is a drying oil, but it dries very slowly and is sticky and another dirt magnet. It must be used VERY sparingly. Over time, unless the board is cleaned with naphtha (again, the only safe solvent) it will build up, become dirty looking and feel very greasy/sticky. Use it IF you know what you're doing.

    Please post either a picture or description of what fretboard is on your guitar. To repeat, what you use on it depends on what it is. As far as fretboard treatments for rosewood-type and ebony board I use either F-One fretboard oil (on clean boards), Lizard Spit on mildly dirty boards, and naphtha cleaning followed by F-One or really raunchy ones.

    On maple types and finished boards (i.e. Rickenbacker) I only use various roughness of 3m abrasive pads and/or Micromesh pads (very fine abrasive pad sets available through Rockler and other woodworking supply shops) I finish things off with very fine white 3M pads or the blue or purple Micromesh pads, which put a mirror-like shine on the frets and do final smoothing on all types of fretboards without scratches.

    Steel wood can collect on pickup poles, and if it gets into pots or switches it destroys them - so if you use it be sure to mask the entire body off. I see no reason to use it at all when the synthetic and Micromesh pads will do the same job without potential issues.

    However, to repeat - please post details on what board YOU have so we can point you to the right thing(and explain that "PD" abbreviation/initials). If you already applied raw linseed oil, but some naphtha (or Ronson lighter fluid in the squeeze bottle - it's naphtha with a deodorizer) and remove it right away!
     
  9. Allan Allan

    Allan Allan Tele-Holic

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    PF is pau farro.
     
  10. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    I think the OP (original poster) is talking about Pau Ferro (PF) :)

    Pau Ferro or Bolivian Rosewood is a hard and dense wood and I think it makes a great fret board.

    I should clarify that by saying that the two guitars with PF fret boards I've played were very nice.

    I don't mind using steel wool on a neck when it's off the guitar, but those steel wool fragments end up everywhere (including stuck to the pickups), unless the neck is pulled off the body when you're working on it.

    The synthetic pads like the "Scotch Bright" type work just about as well, and although they create their own mess, at least it's not attracted to magnets ;).
     
  11. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Afflicted

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    Paraffin oil or liquid paraffin is not wax, it is what you may also call « mineral oil ». Liquid, transparent, colorless, odorless. It is the main componant of « lemon oil » and many other kinds of snake oils, sorry « fretboard oils », except F-one which is made from mysterious tree and seed oils.

    I won’t argue that linseed oil dries very slowly without drier or without the boiling process, but it dries, it is its nature. However I don’t take your words lightly, thanks for sharing your experience. It is true that linseed oil can get gummy and sticky. Knowing the drawbacks of linseed oil, I am always reluctant to use it on fretboards, but it seem to me that a very dry and dull fretboard on a cheap and new guitar is a very good use for it. It will sink into the wood but not too much, and scraping and polishing will leave very little on the surface. That’s what I experienced.

    Many people recommend the use of non drying fretboard oils like « lemon oil » ( paraffin oil if lucky ) to saturate the wood, they call it « conditioning » the wood, and it strikes me as a really strange idea.
     
  12. Wrighty

    Wrighty Friend of Leo's

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    Merci mon ami, tres utile
     
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  13. Wrighty

    Wrighty Friend of Leo's

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    Sorry, Pau Ferro. All my other Fenders have maple and, no, never used anything on them at all.
     
  14. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    I was going to suggest exactly what the video by Lowcaster posted above shows.
     
  15. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Yeah, I figured that out - since it's all Fender uses on their production guitars that don't have maple boards. "PF" just isn't a common abbreviation, as virtually all the other techs around here use the generic term "rosewood" for it and everything else except ebony and the odd mahogany board.

    Sorry, but I respectfully disagree - not with the other name for it - but whether you call it paraffin oil, mineral oil, petrolatum or whatever in dried form it is a type of wax and has the same issues as other waxes. I don't use mineral oil on fretboards or anything guitar-related except some types of wet-sanding processes. But it must be completely removed as it attracts and holds dust, dirt, and turns greasy when in contact with other petroleum, plant and finger oils.

    As far as RAW linseed oil goes it never fully dries unless it's in contact with Japans or a drying oil. There's absolutely NO reason to use it, while boiled linseed oil is a good fretboard oil IF you use it sparingly. Too much and you'll have dirt/dust issues, finger oil reactions (greasy film) and discoloration.

    For most non-tech, though, commercial fretboard oils are safer to use as they are more forgiving.
     
  16. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Afflicted

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    You are talking about « dried form », that’s wax, like candle wax. Sure, it is the same chemical family, but I am talking about liquid paraffin, it is... liquid. It does not dry, ever. It does not evaporate at room temperature.
     
  17. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Sure it does, and I have it in my shop right now.. We've worked with it for years mixed with pumice in rubbing out classic varnishes in violin family instrument restorations. It *is* a wax and adds moisture resistance to the final process.

    Not something I would use on guitars, though - except the aforementioned Martin backpackers and 1030's Gypsy jazz guitars, which often have a varnish type finish.
     
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