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I have heard or have been told many methods and materials to use over the years to oil and care for fretboards. Let's here from the experts on what is the best oil/material and method for caring for fretboards.
 

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Until last June I never give this much thought as all I had was a maple board and it seemed to require very little, just clean it with a lint free rag. Since June I have been dealing with a rosewood board and was suggested to use Dr.Stringfellow's LEM-OIL. Seems to be alright and feels great when fresh, but it does seem to dry quickly. :)
 

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One vote for simple tung oil. Outlasts anything else I've tried. :food-smiley-004:
 

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I'm reading How to make your guitar play great by Dan Erlewine and he recommends lindseed oil. I remember a few years back a friend who was into martial arts and whatever specialty he was in, he was using sticks and he mentionned linseed oil as well. Only I believe that he mixed it with orange or something to take the smell of lindseed out. It gave a good protection for whatever wood they use for their sticks (hickory??) and I remember him saying that it made the wood *smooth*.

I guess lindseed oil really penetrates and doesn't dried out to quickly so it gives a good protection. Dan Erlewine warns that lindseed is really flamable (fire hazard) and he also warns that no matter what you use to be careful not to apply too much and not to let it get in the frets because it can loosen the frets. I'd be curious to hear if pros in here use lindseed and what they think about it?

Edit: I should add that this is recommended for rosewood figerboards and not maple (of course).
 

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Linseed oil never dries

Personally I wouldn't use linseed oil (boiled or raw) on my guitar neck or anywhere else on my guitar as it never really dries. That's why its so popular for use on boats and ships. It can and will get sticky and pick up dirt and debris. I have been involved in furniture for thirty years and a lot of what is called patina in some old furniture is simply imbedded dirt in the oil or shellac finish.
Actually, I'm not sure why you'd want to put anything on the neck at all.
What do I use? There are those that will curse me for this but I occasionally use Armour-All on my guitar necks to clean them and speed them up. I know refinishers will tell you not to because it repels paint and finishes when you try to re-finish the guitar and yes that's true, but it can be overcome with ammonia based cleaners which will also add that special look of aging to the wood.
I'm bad I know.
 

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Good stuff, I like to hear what people think on this one. It has to be one of the widest ranging topics regarding guitar care. I have had people swear on lemon oil, linseed oil etc and offer 100 reasons why not to use either. I have been using a conconction from Dunlop recently that does a nice job. I do believe that it needs to be done at least a few times a year. If the guitar gets played a lot a certain amount of oils will be transfered from your fingers and that is evident by where the board gets the most work, this varies with the person though.

But you also get dirt building up as well. So whenever I give mine a good cleaning I normally finish it off with an oil treatment. I used to use lemon oil but found it dried out fairly quickly. This stuff from Dunlop leaves the board nice without any stickeness at all.
 

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I use what Dan Suggests to use in his other book, the Guitar Player Repair one.

Watco danish oil. I Use it a lot in my woodworking business (have for years and years) and although it is linseed oil based, it is a drying oil and has a very very fine pigment (you cannot see the grain - unlike some stains that dont grind the pigments fine enough).

Watco comes in many shades, I generally use medium walnut for my rw and ebony boards.

IMO Deft oil would also be a good choice - its similar but I am sure its tung oil based.

Other than that plain tung oil or polymerized tung oil would work just fine.

I dont like using anything but a true drying oil, for the reasons mentioned above. Raw linseed WILL dry - but it takes weeks or longer.

Them's my opinions :)

AJC
 

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I've never oiled any of my rosewood boards. The reason rosewood is a desirable wood for fretboards is beacause it does'nt require any finish, like maple, and it's silky to the touch. I just wipe mine clean with every string change, sometimes with a small amount of alcohol which evaporates before it can soak in. If it's clean it's slippery enough for me. It seems odd that Dan Erlewine would recommend linseed oil but also says be careful not to get it on the frets. That seems incongruous to me. But hey, what do I know? I'm just a guitar player. :D
 

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...linseed linseed.. c'mon repeat after me, linseed, not lindseed. I thought of scanning the page but I don't quite know how to *attach it* to the site for you to see :confused: :D

Dan Erlewine says "my motto for cleaning any fretboard is less is best". And then a little later under "Lubricating dry fretboard" he says "My prefered fretboard treatment is pure raw linseed oil (not the boiled variety)."

I've used lem-oil so far and each time I wonder if it takes care of the dryness enough. It seems to *evaporate* withing the first week or so (kinda thing). The way he explains it is to apply it meticulously, let it sit a minute or so and wipe it clean. I thought that it may have made a difference not so much in providing extra *gliding* but in preserving the fretboard.
 

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From my experience, one should clean and oil the fretboard every string change, an ultra fine (white colour - zero abrasive) scotch pad for application and a CLEAN paper towel or cloth for removal of excess and burnishing. Avoid sticky products that never dry like lemon oil (oxidizes frets), linseed oils, Castrol, Mazola, etc. The best are natural colour Danish oils because they contain resins that actually "dry/harden" and don't turn your instrument into a dust magnet. You can use this on lacquered maple boards as well to preserve and moisturize the finish - just follow the instructions on the can! I cringe at fretboards that havn't been maintained since day one; grunge and grime is NOT cool!
 

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I've been using lemon oil for about 40 years.
I think I'm still using the same bottle.
When I think the board is too dry, or dirty and need cleaning, I'll touch it up with a drop of oil on a paper towel. Then with a clean cotton cloth I will rub the shit out of it to ensure there is no oil left on top of the board - it'll kill your strings.
Keep in mind all lemon oils are not equal. Bonus is we want the absolutely cheapest stuff with no additives, no petroleum, no silicones, etc.
Also, I've always lived in Alberta. We think humidity means rain. If you are in a humid climate, your fretboards may not dry out as much.
 

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Lemon Oil

At one time, early twentieth century, instead of lemon oil, it was called,( I think I remember,) pine oil as it smelled like pine, like Lestoil. In the thirties, forties or fifties the lemon smell came to be in vogue and it was switched to lemon scent. It was largely made of kerosene.
I'm not saying that that is the case now, I'm just adding some absolutely useless information from the great wealth of useless information clogging up my head.
I feel that the neck gets plenty of oiling from the constant contact of our hands and most of what we try to remove is actually accumulated oil and dirt.
Having the wood of my guitar neck dry is a good thing IMHO. Soap and water is a really good cleanser if you're really concerned about dirt. As far as the pores in the wood of the fretboard are concerned, again, the oil and dead skin from our hands will keep them filled.
This is especially true in the case of necks that are finished. The idea of a finish is to seal the wood from outside influences. The finish on the neck and fretboard of my Rickie is some sort of spaceage super-hard clearcoat and putting any extra oil on it would be a waste of time and effort. It's oil I want to remove.
FGW(Canada) will speak to me no doubt when I mention again that I've found Armour All to be nice on my necks. It removes the dirt and makes them slippery and slick, but then, if they're to be refinished at some time, it'll be me that does it. So it'll be me that has to deal with fisheye.
Did I say I was Bad?
 

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yeah, kerosene. That's why you have to get a non-petroleum based product. That'd be like spraying your fretboard with WD40.
While Armor All is probably ok on a poly finish, I sure wouldn't think of getting it near nitro. Basically straight silicone. There's lots of good guitar polishes out there that are as cheap to use as armor all.
 

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Agreed

If you want to stay away from silicone based cleaners like Lemon Pledge and its like you have to be careful what it is you're buying and using. Truthfully, I do use Armor All or something like it but I, for one, don't worry about refinishing problems. But, yeah, a damp cloth or a guitar cleaner concoction may be the way you want to go.
This has been a fun thread so far. There are, no doubt, just about as many ways to clean one's guitar as there are owners. If, when you do it your way, it has a percieved improvement in feel, look or sound, then you're doing something right. About the only thing you'd not want to do is remove the dirt or grime with a belt sander. That would be bad. But , as the saying goes, if it feels right, it is right. At least I think the saying went that way.
 

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thanks, now i have more to think about.;) :D
actually i have used lemon oil, and after running to the other room to read the lable, i see it is a mineral oil based product.
 

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I use "Guitar Honey" from Gerlitz in Oregon. It's specially formulated for guitar fretboards. Since it's so dry here in Alberta, I put some on about 2X a year. I bugged Mike so much, he finally started to stock it:

http://www.acousticguitar.net
 
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