With the neck glued in place, it’s time to finish the fingerboard and tailpiece. Fish or cut bait as far as finish goes. The fingerboard wood is rather soft (easily indented with a fingernail) and I worry about it wearing quickly. What to do?Maestronet has the answers! Baroque instruments generally have light hardwood fingerboards so I went looking for information about what type of finish they use and came upon this thread. Minwax Wood Hardener. NOT traditional, but probably useful for my project. Another thread over at Fiddle Hangout confirms that other builders have successfully used this product with good results. The only downside seems to be that the finish can be somewhat shiny and the builders don’t like that.

Here are the fingerboard and tailpiece Before:

And here they are after two coats of hardener:

The hardener accentuates the grain on the fingerboard, and despite what the picture seems to show, there’s very little shine. The product was easy to use (just rub on with a paper towel – wear gloves!) and dried very quickly, even here on the wet Oregon Coast. Time will tell how well it wears, but since the application was so quick and easy, I doubt it will be too much of a chore to renew.

And on we go!