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Oil for Wenge / Ebony Neck?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bass, May 9, 2004.


  1. Bass

    Bass

    Nov 10, 2003
    Canada
    I have a very nice Warmoth neck made of wenge with an ebony fingerboard. Does this neck require oil? Or will these woods be fine over time with no finish?

    What are the implications of applying oil? I suppose the neck will feel a little different. I notice from my search that some people think it affects tone.

    If oil is required / recommended, what type of oil? I did a quick search and found that many people use linseed or tung oil. In the past, I've used lemon oil on rosewood (because I have some in the cupboard) but it seems this isn't recommend.

    Sorry if these questions seems foolish, but I'm not a luthier, just a guy who plays bass.
     
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Most hardware stores sell Formsby's tung oil varnish. Buy the low gloss kind (less sticky). Oil penetrates into the wood and hardens. It gives you some protection from moisture and it will bring out some luster in the wood.
     
  3. Warmoth states there is no finish requirements for this wood, and that also pertains to their warranty, as I asked directly.

    But, as posted in a recent Warwick thread, some people have been experiencing warped/twisted necks, and theirs are primarily (ealrier ones anyway) wenge. Multiple piece wenge infact. You would think this would help stability.

    Maybe their woods were not cured correctly, maybe their truss rod design / application is to blame. Maybe there are just some bad necks out there. One person intimated that it is precisely why Warwik switched from Wenge to Ovankol. I had heard it was because wenge is a regulated wood, and Warwick was using more than they were allotted or some other hub bub.

    As for oil, it can affect tone in some way by dampenning higher resonances, if you use too much that it would penetrate really deep, but I doubt anything that substantial.

    Either way, you're warranteed for x amount of time thu Warmoth. I JUST got the same exact neck as you, in P form a month or so ago. Have yet to install it, as the body I'm making isn't ready... I have the same concerns, but Warmoth makes a very sound, stable design. Their techs are very knowledgeable. give them a call.
     
  4. ubersam

    ubersam

    Oct 12, 2000
    L.A.
    I've read elsewhere that wenge is an oily enough wood that may have difficulty accepting oil/oil-based finishes. I think it was some woodworking/furniture making website, or maybe a wood flooring supplier.

    Anyway, my Ibanez SR3005 has a wenge/bubinga-stripe neck. It's so smooth that it makes me think it's finished, but the grains make me doubt it. I just wiped it down with some orange oil and buffed off the excess. Smooth.
     
  5. bwbass

    bwbass

    May 6, 2002
    WA
    For some unknown reason, we've seen more than one wenge neck twist after an oil finish is applied... it might be anecdotal, but we're advising against oil finish on these necks. We haven't seen similar issues with unfinished wenge necks.
     
  6. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Brian,

    I use oil finish and a lot of wenge necks. No problem at all.

    Peace,
    JP
     
  7. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    I put tung oil on my all-wenge warmoth fretless neck... no problems either
     
  8. bwbass

    bwbass

    May 6, 2002
    WA
    Glad to hear it! Our experience is that these necks very seldom have problems, which is why it stuck out that the few we've gotten back had oil finishes. Pretty small statistical sample, I suppose, so it could easily just be a coincidence.