Boiled Linseed Oil as a finish??

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by luisnovelo, Oct 27, 2003.

  1. Hi everyone..

    Today I was looking for something to finish a bass and I bought some boiled leensed oil over polyurethane satin laquer by recomendation of a salesman, but the guy looked pretty busy and didn´t seem to be sure..

    I got it anyway because it was cheap and had read it was good for treating fingerboards.. But..
    Is it good as a finisher for bodies?? I would use it maybe on alder, mahogany and maple..

    Do you recommend using it as a finish or should I apply something else in top of it??

  2. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    personally, I'd say you did the right thing - polyurethan is much too tight for wood finishing, in my opinion.

    Linseed oil will work. It does take some time and effort to apply and cure in a good way.

    And it will not be very much of an idea to put something on top of any oil. The extra finish will probably simply fall off!
  3. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Isn't it boiled linseed oil where the rags must be carefully disposed of, because they can self-ignite?
  4. Thanks for your reply, suburban.. I hope most people bend towards that opinion..

    Yup.. that is it.
  5. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Another warning about linseed oil: over time, all linseed oils cure, which basically means they harden and become brittle, and the vibrations from the bass are likely to crack it, although it would probably take years for this to occur. Linseed oil also yellows over time.
  6. Micolao


    Sep 7, 2005

    :eek: :eek: :eek: :eyebrow: :eyebrow:

    please can anyone explain this?
    I did'nt quite understand...
  7. GrooveBass


    Oct 10, 2004
    a second from me on explaining the spontaneous combustion thing......who knew linseed oil would do that? Not me anyway..........
  8. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    This means that either the oil's vapors have a very low flash point. That is the minimum temperature at which, in the presence of air, it will burn. For example, the flash point of gas from your stove is high enough that it requires a hot spark or external flame to get above this temperature and start burning (after which its own heat keeps the reaction going).

    Compost piles, and dry forest mulch can also spontaneously combust.
  9. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Basically, if you apply oil -- almost any oil -- with a rag, the oils will oxidize in the rag, generating heat. If they are stored carelessly (piled) they can heat to the point of spontaneous combustion.

    Toss your used oily rags in a bucket of water. Then dispose of them properly.
  10. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Reggie Jackson didn't either....
  11. Micolao


    Sep 7, 2005

    so the problem is with the rags, not with the the body of a bass with that finiture, right?
    There will be no problems with the body...or not?
  12. It's OK...your bass won't ignite.


    Just dispose of the rags by either laying them out flat to dry before throwing away, or saturating them in water.
  13. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    +1 on leaving the rags to dry outdoors, preferably in a metal tray (coal barbeque basin is great!:eek: ). If they catch fire, it doesn't make any damage, and they are very nice to dispose if not burned.
    Water saturated oil rags is dreaded by the garbage men, since they have to be taken care of quickly. Otherwise the water dries out and the rags can catch fire again! However unnatural that seems, it has happened several times! In Sweden we even have laws and regulations that stipulates 'no water quenced oil rags in the waste management' (or similar).
  14. Greenman


    Dec 17, 2005
    Ontario Canada
    I would not reccomend using a linseed finish on any soft wood. It will show dents and scratches.
    On the other hand. A properly applied hand rubbed oil finish on a harder wood such as maple or walnut etc. can be hard, good looking and easy to repair in the future. Also: boiled linseed oil now adays is only drying agents added to the oil. If you can, get double boiled linseed oil it would be best for final coats.
  15. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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