I'm looking for slotted fret boards in an american wood species - preferably dark. I know I could make my own but I don't want to do that. I bought a blank of hard maple a few years ago to make my own and I still have it but its just plain and unattractive. I've since lost my interest in doing one myself unless I have to do that to get what I want.
At one time a few years ago I compiled a list of possible slotted fret board sources and most of the links no longer work.
Can anyone suggest a place or places?
They may offer shop services
Echoing the two above, I use Luthiers Mercantile to cut fretboard slots for string lengths that I do not have the jigs.
I do not know if they have a dark domestic wood offering.
Originally posted by Helix
They may offer shop services
No native american wood species available there except maple. Or if they have american wood species I don't see them anywhere. They have maple but I already have a maple blank and don't like the boring look.
I have persimmon which grows in the US, but it's only moderately dark. I could slot you a board of that. Kind of a grayish color. I think mesquite is a darker US wood, but I have no personal knowledge of it.
I also suggest Persimmon.
Thoughts on highly figured Maple? You can find as many comments saying its no good due to stability issues as those saying its just fine. Having an actual luthier custom make me something is almost certainly out of my price range. I had a "mass" produced, cnc made, pre-slotted slab in mind. That would be good enough for my project.
Maple is a bit on the soft side for a fretboard but not terrible in that regard. I think it is prone to get dirty looking if the finish is not renewed as it wears off and dirt from the player's fingers gets ground in. I can do a slotted persimmon board for $30, and shipping should be around $5 if it's light enough to go first class, which I think it would be.
Thanks. $35-ish is within my price range but grey-ish persimmon doesn't appeal to me. Walnut is what I origionally had in mind but I understand its a bit too soft (although people use it). My project is a mountain banjo so I would like to use something that would have been available to anyone in the Appalachians that is also attractive. That really seems to narrow the choices to not a lot. I have the skills to do it myself but I don't really want to spend the time or buy the needed tools to do it right since its a one time pursuit.
Edited by - 98v70dad on 12/10/2022 15:17:29
I can't think of anything that would fit all three of your desired categories: authentic, dark in color, and durable. Any two of them would be easy to find a match for.
Osage Orange can be darker. Fresh sanded it's yellowish. After oxidizing it can turn to a light brown. Not real dark though.
Tim Davis and Randall Wyatt both do fingerboards, but no idea as to their alternate wood selections. I can't think of anything that meets your criteria in my area.
I think you might be able to send LMII the wood blank and have them slot it. That said, I can't think of any dark domestic woods that would be hard enough for a fingerboard. Maybe locust, but I'm not sure.
Lumber Liquidators has Hickory @ 3/8". There is no white wood nor backing, just Hickory.
I use Jatoba for fingerboards and I bought 3 nice orange ones from Zach Hoyt. The ones I use are red from 3/8" flooring.
I suppose you could toughen up the surface with epoxy resin. Kevin LeVan has posted on that process. That may allow for some of your dark local woods to make the grade.
Thanks for the suggestions folks. I'll figure something out. Slotting it myself creates some options. Maybe I'll just do that. Finding a piece of wood I'll like and sending it to someone to slot it for me at least doubles the cost in postage alone.
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