Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Dried-out old fretboard

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by permagrin, Aug 15, 2003.


  1. permagrin

    permagrin

    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    I've searched and found volumes of opinions on oiling fretboards for maintenance, and don't want to rehash any of that

    I just bought a '78-'81 (not sure from serial# but 20+ yrs old) Fender P with a rosewood board that looks like it's never been oiled. There was some gunk buildup and I cleaned it off with naptha. About 90% of the wood sufrace looks grey and very dried out.

    I'm worried that this neglected wood will drink up anything I put on it, possibly pushing the frets out.

    I suspect this may require a slow process with several steps... any advice on how should I approach restoring this fretboard? TIA.
     
  2. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan

    Feb 1, 2003
    New York
    I've heard really good things about raw (unboiled) linseed oil. but don't use too much, don't let it sit for more than a few minutes and be sure to carefully dispose of any rages soaked in the oil as they may spontaneoulsy combust)

    my question is: do you need to use any kind of treatment for a composite board? heiko of basslab, you'd probably be well suited to answer that question...?
     
  3. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Most sites I have seen (myself included) recommend the boiled linseed oil. Natural oils can take a very long time to cure.
     
  4. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan

    Feb 1, 2003
    New York
    as a huge fan of Dan Erlewine and an even more avid fan of collecting repair/restoration books, videos, and articles...I'm positive that the non-boiled, raw linseed oil is what is recommended (at least by repair guru Dan Erlewine). I double checked my books and he writes:

    "My preferred fretboard treatment is pure raw linseed oil (not the "boild" variety)."

    I'd check your sourced that mention the boiled kind. It is also mentioned to not let the oil sit on the board for more than a few minutes before whiping the residue off.
     
  5. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan

    Feb 1, 2003
    New York
    WOW! I can't believe it! I wonder if it was a typo in Dan's book? Perhaps they are both acceptable? There is a specific passage in his books that state, the raw kind, NOT the boiled kind.

    He does tend to look at things from a more old world approach, but he knows what he is doing (he works on BB's Lucille and I'm sure that he does everything necessary to keep that beauty from being damaged!)

    I'm very confused now...
     
  6. permagrin

    permagrin

    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    My original question was more along the lines of:

    Is there anything special I need to do since this fingerboard appears to not have been oiled for a long time?

    Apparently I'll be fine with a normal procedure. Thanks folks.
     
  7. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    They will both work. The key with fingerboards is that you don't want to dry them out. Furniture polishes will do this, oils and finishing products won't. Many people like the boiled stuff because it cures quicker.

    As for permagrin -- naptha is a solvent and will clean the oils from the board but in the process will dry it out. So, take your pick -- boiled linseed, raw linseed, or lemon oil, and rub the fingerboard down with it. Wait a few minutes, and wipe up the tack. You shouldn't need to worry about the frets getting spit back out.
     
  8. permagrin

    permagrin

    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    Thanks again.

    FWIW, I lightly rubbed down the fretboard with a 3M nylon pad, brushed off dust, cleaned off with naptha again, then rubbed down with lemon oil. Looks like new.
     
  9. Heiko

    Heiko BassLab

    Apr 24, 2001
    Kassel, Germany
    Cosmiceven,

    sorry for the delay. I just came across your question about composite fretboards:
    Yes, they need a cotton cloth from time to time to wipe the sweat off! It just looks better.
    That´s it!

    Best,

    Heiko