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Soaking up the lemon oil like a sponge...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by TheWoodShed, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. Every 6 months or so I always take a day or so to do a few applications of lemon oil on my fretboard and generally on my basses it is only two or three applications and we are done. However I am showing my 13 year old daughter how to change the strings on her guitars and her acoustic has been soaking up lemon oil on the fretboard lik nobody's business. I would say we are on the 10th or so application. Should I just keep going?
  2. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Dang! I'd have been afraid to keep going well before 10 coats.
  3. Usually you go until you wipe off the excess oil but that takes only two or the applications.
  4. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    If you must oil - because I don't - oil ONCE, LIGHTLY - then stop and wipe it off. The wood doesn't need more.

    All you're doing is increasing the chance your frets will come loose.
  5. Hmm...not sure I understand why people are so hesitant to oil their boards. Alembic says you should at least every six months. The maker of my Acacia also used oil although he used gunstock oil.
  6. MechEngr


    Jun 26, 2007
    I worked as a luthier for several years, and still do as a hobby. Rosewood and ebony are extremely oily woods to begin with, but that oil does dry out over time, which causes the wood to shrink bit, more so across the grain than with the grain. If you ever had the ends of frets stick out from a fretboard when they once weren't, you may have seen the results of this drying process. That said, when you oil the fretboard, you can understand that the frets become more tightly engaged, not less. I'm guessing that the acoustic guitar mentioned by Woodshed has a fretboard made of something other than these two woods, and that's why it's drinking up all the oil. The only downside I see to over-oiling a board is that it will grow slightly (and slowly) in the long direction, causing the neck to bend backwards a bit, in the direction you'd get if you tightened up the truss rod. On a neck that's been dry for some time, then heavily oiled, this usually leads to the player having to loosen the rod to compensate.
  7. It is a rosewood board.
  8. Check out Fret Doctor. It is a completely natural and amazing oil. A search here will get you the story. I use it on all my rosewood fretboards. You won't need to apply nearly as frequently as every 6 months.
  9. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    As i understand it, most stuff sold as "lemon oil" contains little oil. Much is solvent based which i've read actually can dry out wood. Sadowsky says use boiled linseed oil.
  10. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I thought lemon oil was a no no since it tends to dry out the wood?
  11. Taken from the Alembic Owner's Manual on their website:

  12. A lot of threads on TB warn against lemon oil. That is how I found FD, which goes on and off really easily. It's expensive but you use so little it lasts forever. One small dot o oil every other fret. Wipe on with cotton ball. Let sit a few minutes. Wipe excess off with cloth or paper towel. Buff with terry cloth.
  13. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    'Cause most of the stuff out there is only partially lemon oil, the main ingredient is a highly evaporative solvent that does damage.
  14. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
  15. This is the stuff I am talking about. Great stuff.
  16. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Informative site, but I just spent 10 minutes on it searching every page I could find (using Firefox's Edit>Find tool and looking for the character string "oil") and I was unable to find anything about oiling fretboards.
  17. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Hell no. Don't be surprised if her frets start popping out ... fret slots expose end grain, and that's where the lemon oil is going. Personally, in 45 years of playing I have NEVER oiled (or treated in any way) a fretboard. Maintain proper humidity and they need no care, other than normal wipedown with a cloth when changing strings.
  18. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA

    It's a 3 page section. Bit about using oil on the fretboard is on page 2.
  19. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Put me down for never having oiled a fretboard and never had any problems with fretboard shrinkage, loose frets, or any other problem associated with frets or fretboards beyond normal wear from playing.

    I've bought used basses with massive crud buildup on the neck/frets and used warm soapy water and a cloth or toothbrush to remove the mung, but I just wiped them dry and restrung them when I was done.

    One thing to note here. With few exceptions I've only owned Fender and Peavey basses so I can't really speak for any other brand.

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