I have dyed some necks black in the past with good results, now I have a poplar fretboard that I want to change to black to match a build in progress, then clear coat.
See any reason why this wouldn't work aside from the obvious fret wire to wipe down?

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It'll work fine. Just keep in mind that softer woods like Pine, Cedar and Poplar will absorb a lot of stain/dye and have a darker appearance than a harder wood like Oak, Maple or Mahogany.

I did a build with Red Oak neck and fretboard, but had a body of Cedar. I used Ebony stain on the Red Oak, but had to use some water mixed Acrylic Black Paint for the Cedar to get the same color as the neck/fretboard.  Fretboard and bridge piece was stained Minwax Providential. Covered it all with Truoil as the final finish.

I have used fabric dye on wood in the past. Works fairly well. Also the vinegar and steel wool trick is great for achieving black. As always do a test piece first. 

Vinegar and steel wool?

Milt - on woods like  poplar and pine  , i find  you can get from  a grey-ish barn board    to  a coffee colored result from  the vinegar and steel wool process .  but oak  etc  . will  turn black easier . (depending on  # of coats  / soaking time  etc) .  


You are the master of this method and are absolutely correct. Guess I should have mentioned oak works best. I believe this is due to the tannic acid content. It also works pretty well on walnut and mahogany.

If anybody doesn't know the process. Pour some vinegar into a container. I use glass. Throw in a chunk of steel wool, let it sit for awhile (overnight?) then wipe or brush it on.    

You're too kind Milt  . lol.  it  is  a really cool process to watch and try the first time  . as  it is more of a "chemical reaction" than a  "stain  " and you can actually  see it getting darker before your eyes   after applied  .  

i don't actually use  it anymore ,  too many variables effect  the  outcome  and  you get inconsistent results  . which is ok  ,, but  maybe not for a line of the same style  guitars.

i use instant coffee for the most part  now  . 

Haven't tried the coffee. Do you mix it thick or like regular for drinking?

i do 3 heaping spoonfulls in a  half a cup of water   . (or  less) . nuke for 30 secs  .. scoop  out any creamy crap  .. and apply  .  usually a recoat  in about a half hour . even again sometimes .. 

treating woods with a  tea wash before the vinegar and steel wool is said to increase tannins and give better results on woods like pine and poplar.

I'd add another step - pour the mixture thru a coffee filter into a second jar to get rid of any little pieces of steel.  With some of the oak pieces I did it raised the grain quite a bit giving a rougher feel, others only darkened and stayed pretty smooth.  Also a test piece I never finished developed rust spots over time so be sure to put a finish over it (pieces with tru-oil never have shown rust spots). 

I have had great success using cheap black spray paint as wood stain... hose the board down, grab a rag dampened with mineral spirits and wipe most of the paint away... it works great... let dry and add 2-3 coats of poly, it looks awesome...

I've had good results with liquid shoe polish that comes with the foam applicator, same method as yours John, many colours available


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