what do i use to oil a fretboard?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Rafterman, Jun 12, 2001.

  1. what do i use to oil a fretboard?

    i mean...what kind of oil?
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Pure lemon oil is what everyone I know of uses, including me. NOT that crap they push off as lemon oil at the grocery store. That usually has some alcohol in it and does as much harm as good, (alcohol dries out wood as it evaporates).

    I got some by plugging "lemon oil" into a search engine and bought it online. The natural foods/joe organic places usually charge way more than other suppliers.
  3. I have this in my files, so I'm passing it along---

    From: Roger Sadowsky
    Date: Sat, 10 Feb 1996 08:30:28 -0500 (EST)
    Subject: Re: oiling fingerboards

    I recommend linseed oil and DO NOT recommend soaking.
    Just cover the entire fingerboard with enough oil to just "wet" the board, let it stand no more than 5 minutes, and wipe off all the excess
    with a dry paper towel. If you want to let it "air dry" overnight before you restring--that's OK--but don't "wet-soak" the board for long periods of time.

    Oils that are sold for wood finishing like tung oil preparations get too gummy feeling in my opinion. I have always found lemon oil (as in
    Old English) to make boards dry out faster than if left alone. After 24 years of this, I still like linseed oil the best.

    Roger Sadowsky
  4. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Great info Donne. If it's good enough for Roger Sadowsky, it's good enough for me .

  5. RockFiend


    Aug 23, 2000
    one question,,, if you have a finished or hrrmmm glazed fretboard [I'm not sure of the technical term] such as maple fretboard witha finish on it do you need to oil the fretboard? with my first bass I had sokme sort of darker wood (I'm guessing rosewood or ash?!?) that wasn't finished and the wood was exposed so I oiled it but is that still necessary for a finished fretboard??
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    That's the kind of gook I was warning you about.
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Not on a finished board. But, after a while, it is good to clean it with naptha, (hardware stores carry it). Naptha has a very quick evaporation rate, so it doesn't damage the fretboard if you apply it, let it work and lift off the grunge a little, and wipe it off with a soft, cotton, cloth, (paper towels don't usually soak it all up and aren't all that soft).
  8. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    i use guitar honey. it seems to do the job very well.

  9. Maple boards cannot be oiled. Clean with Naptha.
  10. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Yep i also use guitar honey! We must both own warwicks and went to there sight and seen what they suggested! hehe
  11. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    My local luthier gave me a small bottle that contained a light golden brown liquid. The bottle was marked "oil". It works well, no ill effects after five years. I only wish I knew what it was.
  12. rsautrey

    rsautrey Banned

    Jul 27, 2000
    As far as the linseed oil that Sadowsky was refering to, I think it's BOILED linseed oil. There is a difference between this and linseed oil. Also, boiled linseed oil works very well but if you use it I would recommend letting the fretboard dry overnight before restringing.
  13. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    When i talked to the guys at warwick they said that you shouldnt oil your frett board to often! They said the oil from your fingers should be enough! But i oil mine everytime i wax my warwick!
  14. ok excuse my nieveness, but in response to finished fret boards only need a rub with naptha, would my musicman stingray 4 (fret board is a very light coloured wood) be finished or un finished?
  15. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    If you don't ask you may find out too late, so nothing to excuse, many of are here to learn.

    Unless someone has taken the glossy finish off the board, maple is always, IME, finished.

    It's maple if it looks like this -

    Nice fingerboards, hard sounding and fast.
  16. thanks rb1, thats the one, although my fret board doesn't look super glossy, but i reckon its finished. So just a little naptha to clean up the grime accumulated on the frets and board etc ,... how regularly would you do that?
  17. RockFiend


    Aug 23, 2000
    thanks for the reply about the Naptha,,, now would I pick such a product up at a guitar store,,, or is it more of a household product such as I would find at a hardware store, etc?
  18. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Cigarette lighter fluid is naptha.