The more I looked at the goopy black stuff on the fingerboard the more I felt that it had to go. The fingerboard was merely tack glued – a putty knife and a bit of wiggling popped it free –

Oops! Had a bit of tear-out just below the nut which shouldn’t cause any trouble later if I’m lucky.

That black goop was on thick!

Yep, I used paint thinner on it, two applications and it worked like a charm. Followed up with 150 and 220 grit sandpaper, being careful to keep the edges well defined. Here it is after sanding –

The wood is not unattractive, but it certainly isn’t ebony.

Referring to Strobel’s book of standard measurements assured me that the dimensions are still correct, despite losing about 1/2 mm in width with sanding. The neck will need some minor shaping to match the fingerboard at the sides, but it’s just a tad wide at the moment, which works out perfectly.

The question is, how to finish the fingerboard? The wood doesn’t seem hard enough to be left as is and would eventually be stained with fingerprints, wouldn’t it?