I am restoring and aged soprano Ukulele neck and the fingerboard is showing wear marks on the top three frets. Any advice re how to restore these worn points on the fingerboard to match the rest of the neck? It looks like they may be just black stain or paint? Photo should be attached for your delectation.
Also any advice re what to use to restore the finish on the rest of the neck would be appreciated as I intend to sand it down to the bare wood. Usually, I use finishing wax, but I want to restore the finish to something like what it is now. Is it shellac/french polish or varnish?
That finish looks very similar to "old wood" finish. Take steel wool and soak it a couple of days in vinegar. It will form a dark-gray stain that should look very similar to what we see above.
It's probably some type stain, paint or dye on the fingerboard. You can try a black stain, or even spray some black paint on a rag and rub it in. I've don some touchups using shoe polish. On the rest of the neck, I usually finish with Tru-Oil or clear lacquer, but you can use varnish.
It looks like it needs a complete refret. That will make it easier to repaint the fretboard. That was most likely black lacquer.
I am indeed doing a complete refret. The missing fret is one I pulled out so I could take the measurements with a micrometer. New fret wire has arrived, and at the moment all the other frets have been removed and I have stripped the finish off the neck and am presently in the process of giving the bare wood several coats of acrylic varnish. I like acrylic varnish as unlike oi based, it doesn't yellow with age. Just hit anothersnag with the rim, but will post that later (will be asking for advice yet again).
Them old fret jobs were all leveled on a belt sander it seems, best to refret after a board leveling.
Shotty as them old ones are built, its most likley a bone nut so thats a good thing