What kind of oil do you use on the finish of your expensive bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by gfab333, Jun 18, 2000.

  1. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    This is directed at those of you who have Foderas, MTDs, Lawrences, Alembics, etc., which have an oil based natural finishes (non-lacquered type). What do you use on your wood finish, and what is your application technique?

    I have had boiled linseed oil, lemon oil, butcher's wax, and other items recommended.

    I recently noticed that one spot on my bass appears to be getting darker due to the sweat from where the wrist of my right hand contacts the body. I want to use something to futher "seal" the wood against moisture (and water marks).

    [This message has been edited by gfab333 (edited June 18, 2000).]
  2. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Dayton, Ohio, USA
    I have a koa bass and have used lemon oil on it for about 12 years. It looks great, except for a spot on the body below the G string, where the wood has been gouged by my nails when I slap.

    [This message has been edited by Monkey (edited June 18, 2000).]
  3. Saint


    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    Along similar lines, how often do you rub down your bass?
  4. Every time I change strings I oil the finish with lemon oil. Do the finger board before you change strings, this keeps the oil off of your new strings.

  5. I use 100% pure tung oil on my F bass. I apply a coat or two about every 5 to 6 months. The climate you live in and how often you play will also help determine the frequency of applications.
  6. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I've seen some people claim that nothing really works well except linseed oil. But, I use lemon oil on the fretboard of my Spector. The rest of the bass has a laquer finish, but the fretboard isn't.

    I apply the lemon oil on average whenever I change the strings. I try not to be militant about that, though, as its main function is to keep the wood moisturized, and frequent application of lemon oil means that this will never happen.
  7. The reality is nothing is going to stop the wood from oxidizing with an oil finish. The best you can do is slow it some, but it'll continue to darken no matter what. Contact the manufacturer and find out what you can use.


  8. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I just got an email back from Michael Tobias (one of my basses is an MTD 535). He suggests Butchers Wax or lemon oil for the body and back side of neck. Mineral oil is suggested for the fretboard. High quality guitar polish would be for the lacquered finish.
  9. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Actually, for the lacquer finish I use two things...

    1. McGuire's Mirror Glaze (I'm not sure how McGuire's is spelled...)

    2. Martin guitar polish.

    Also, McGuire's makes a grittier polish that I use prior to the mirror glaze if I get a scratch on the guitar. I once lifted the headstock on my bass without paying attention and the headstock hit the ceiling fan in my bedroom. I had this nasty white gouge on it immediately after. I was none too happy! So, I took it to a shop in the Chicago area, where I live, and lo and behold...McGuire's took that thing right out! Then, to polish it up, the store used Mirror Glaze, and the shine came right back! It looks like it had never been hit!!! [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Mineral oil...that's an interesting idea. Where can I find it?
  10. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I going to try to find this stuff this weekend. I've been told to try Home Depot, hardware stores, woodfinishing / crafts shops, and other stores that you'd find paints, finishing oils, wood for making furniture, and the like.
  11. On my Warwicks I use the stuff recommended by Warwick - it's quite smelly (not nasty, but more like pine-tar); it has the consistency of pine-tar, and is very effective.
    For the others, I use a furniture oil available from a company called "The Herb Cottage By The Sea". The address is 2093 Village Wood Rd. Encinitas, CA 92024.They carry herbal furniture oils in Country Rose, Lavenderwood and Rosemary and Roses. The oil is for fine wood surfaces and leaves a scent in the room - hey, it's a nice conversation piece, and often breaks the ice at jam-sessions: "Hey, man - cool smelling bass..." :>

    - Wil

    PS: I have their phone # somewhere, and will post later...
  12. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by RAM:
    ...But, I use lemon oil on the fretboard of my Spector...

    ...I apply the lemon oil on average whenever I change the strings...

    I use lemon-oil to clean the finger-board, but I've heard it said (on another bbs by a well-respected luthier) that lemon-oil will eventually cause the wood to dry out! He recommends boiled linseed-oil.

    - Wil
  13. sellars


    Jun 27, 2000
    I use that pink stuff Ken Smith makes. They tell me at the factory that it fortifies your wood over time, although I too am digging a hole at the G string from slapping.
  14. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I have to agree with wil davis there...Lemon oil is good every once in a while, but never more than about every 6-12 months. It can dry out everything, and it BADBADBAD to get on strings and especially skin. It is quite acidic, even though its an oil. Very bad to use too much. So small quantities, and be careful not to get it on yourself or have ANY left on your fretboard or body. Horrible for strings, and veryveryvery bad for skin. Even if you dont feel it, it can cause skin damage. (Had big talk about this with a local luthier who is VERY good. He said its good, but not is large quantities, and to be careful).
  15. Scok


    Apr 20, 2000
    I use tung oil on my bass. I aplly it 2-3 times a year. I like it when it gets worn in spots becasue I know it's being used. [​IMG] Your bass should have character.


    May 29, 2000
    hooksett NH USA
    I use formby's tung oil.They had high or low gloss so I got low.Has anyone tried high gloss tung oil? Any ideas on how to take care of the rutt under my g-string?
  17. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I have been using SCAN Teak Oil on guitar and bass fretboards for years - it's sold for protecting teak (duh!) and rosewood furniture. I suspect it would work as well on other woods. I'm running low, though - any listers have a SCAN store nearby? (Scandinavian furniture) They closed up all of their Chicago area stores years ago, but I hear they're still out East. I've never found this type of teak oil anywhere else - it's a light brown oil, not a paste.
  18. DeepPunch


    Jul 7, 2000
    OK, I'm reading Boiled Linseed Oil and Butcher's Wax to protect the wood. I just got my Carvin Walnut/Maple oiled finished bass and want to keep it looking good.

    I have a quart of boiled linseed oil that I bought years ago from the paint department at Home Depot. Is this any different from the boiled linseed oil mentioned in earlier posts? If it is different where else would I go to buy the correct stuff.

    Also, where would I get the butcher's wax?

  19. Saint


    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    I, too, use the Ken Smith "pink stuff" on my Smith bass. However, for my pao ferro fretboard, the folks there recommended I use lemon oil every time I change strings.
  20. Warrior


    Sep 3, 2000
    Here is a secret I learned from Micheal Tobias.
    The finishing oil he used at the Tobias shop is made by General Finishes and is called Armor-Seal. this is applied with 1200 grit sandpaper and then french rubbed with a soft clean cloth( baby diapers are great) till glossy
    if your bass has a few small scratches this will bring it back to a "like new" look.
    If you just want to moisten and polish then the secret is Howards Restor-a-Finish beeswax polish and add a little lemon oil to it . ( about 2 oz to a full bottle of Howards and don't use Old English lemon oil as it has some added chemicals that breakdown the oils in your finish. I use Holloways)
    This is the best way to polish your handrubbed oil finishes this polish will give your bass a very high gloss temporarily (a couple of days) but gives the wood the moisture it needs to keep the wood from cracking. and the bees wax will build up to form a water barrier.
    If you have a poly type satin finish don't use lemon oil, just use Pledge or Gibson aersol spray polish.