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Tru-oil on rosewood fretboard?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by philthygeezer, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. philthygeezer


    May 22, 2002
    I'm still working on my franken-P and just picked up a MIM neck with a nice rosewood board.

    What kind of finish is on the rosewood from the Fender factory? Will sanding it off destabilize the neck?

    I've got a yen to refinish the fretboard with Tru-Oil, but I'm worried that the differential finish between front and back may cause problems.

    Thanks for any comment.
  2. I don't think you'll like the TO on the fretboard. Since the oil builds up, it wll have a nice film on the top but that film isn't tremendously tough. Eventually, and not very long after, it will begin to wear through and you'll have to do it again just to make it look better. Personally, I wouldn't.

    But I have used an oil that works a little differently. It's Watco "Teak" Oil. I don't know about the name and it's real relation to teak but Watco says it's for dense woods like teak and rosewoods. It's made to penetrate the dense stuff and then harden. I used it on an ebony blank and it worked great. It deepened the color, brought up the sheen and made the wood impervious to anything else. I know this because I later went back and tried to wipe on some black Feibhings Oil Dye and it wouldn't even leave a gray streak. It also buffed up nice on the ebony. I would try this over anything else.
  3. philthygeezer


    May 22, 2002
    Thanks again! Do you prefer the look of the maple or rosewood on this one? The maple is a mighty mite that needs fitting work and the rosewood is a Fender MIM that fits nice and tight. I'm kind of partial to the rosewood board.


    Detail of the body (going to do a few more coats of Tru Oil):

  4. I like the contrast of the dark fretboard against that body, but I like rosewood's tone as well, so I'm probably biased. Pretty bass, so far. Go with what sounds best to you, though- you don't want a sweet looker that doesn't sound right, right?
  5. JTGale


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA

    The contrast between the rosewood fingerboard and the body plays well together. But like Bassteban said, go with what sounds right to you. You can't go wrong! :D
  6. No doubt IMHO Rosewood is the way to go, especially with that sweet top. :) You want the body to be the attraction, I never cared for maple fretboards anyway.
  7. Noaita


    Jun 6, 2003
    Shameless booster guy.
    In regards to the Tru-Oil, I would recommend using the Watco Teak oil, as mentioned above. Because Rosewood has a higher oil content naturally, the Tru-Oil does not penetrate the grain as well as the Teak oil which can lead to a gummy mess. The Teak oil is made for the more oily woods (Rosewood, Cocobolo, etc.) There are clear instructions on the can but basically you will wipe on the Teak oil, wait 20 minutes and then wipe off the excess. It is really good stuff.

    Just my 2 cents
  8. rdhbass


    Jun 28, 2003
    Springfield, mo
    Does this stuff change the sound of the rosewood fretboard then. You would think it would if it penetrates and then hardens in the pores.
  9. adolganov


    Jan 15, 2004
    I like the contrast rosewoot fretboard did. Should be very nice with the tortoise pickquard.
  10. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Pickguard :eek: NOOOOOOOOOOO
  11. philthygeezer


    May 22, 2002
    No pickguard on this bass. Thanks.
  12. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    What Noaita and Hambone said. In my book, exactly correct.
  13. -to some extent, I think. My guess is that a treated rosewood fretboard would sound a bit brighter/treblier, like (IMO) ebony, but not quite as bright.
  14. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I've used it on 2 fretless rosewood boards and didn't have any problems. It dried hard and lasted long. One of them I still have and 5 years after using TO on it it is still in great condition.
  15. With Lime

    With Lime

    Feb 8, 2009
    I'm bumping this old dinosaur thread because nobody actually answered this question and I can't find it anywhere else in the forum. I'm specifically trying to match what Fender (and Squire if it's different) use. Doing a custom inlay on one of the frets and don't want to refinish the entire fretboard. Thanks in advance for your help!
  16. musicelectronix


    Jul 8, 2007
    Hüstın, TX
    Lead Designer, Zeibek Boutique Pedals
    There is no finish on the rosewood on any instrument that comes with rosewood fretboard and yes, that includes fender. Rosewood is not to be finished or at least it is not usually how it is treated.
  17. With Lime

    With Lime

    Feb 8, 2009
    That.... would make my life so much easier! So I should just buff with a really high grit sandpaper? Anybody else? Thank you Musicelectronix!
  18. Just a quick note about the inlay... Rosewood is naturally oily to begin with. Before you glue/epoxy the inlay, wipe the pocket down with denatured alcohol or lacquer thinner to get the oil off the surface to make sure the inlay sticks well.
  19. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    Yes, rosewood is never coated as far as I've ever heard.

    Once a year I put some lemon oil on mine to keep it from drying out. Ernie Ball recommends their Wonder Wipes only for their basses. And I recall reading where Roger Sadowsky is recommending something from Planet Waves called Hydrate for the fretboard but these are all for maintenance purposes.

    Oh and Os is your signature correct?
  20. pbd

    pbd Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2003
    Metro Detroit
    owner Procables N Sound
    after a good scrubbing with 0000 steel wool, I use equal part linseed and Lemon oil. Rub on a coat, let it sit over night and then give it a good rub down before I restring. Make my rosewood look and feel wonderful!

    Todd :)