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Woodworking (rec.woodworking) Discussion forum covering all aspects of working with wood. All levels of expertise are encouraged to particiapte.

Oil for guitar fingerboards?



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 22nd 05, 05:40 PM
Doug Kanter
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Default Oil for guitar fingerboards?

There's been a friendly debate going on in alt.guitar.bass about what sort
of treatment is best for guitar fingerboards, many of which are rosewood.
I've heard lemon oil (which I know is just "flavored" mineral oil) can
actually cause drying out (which I don't understand), and a host of other
theories. I'm interested in opinions from this crowd. The goal is to apply
something that'll remove normal hand dirt, and then leave the fingerboard
somewhat moisturized, but not VERY oily.


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  #2  
Old July 22nd 05, 06:00 PM
David
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Default

Doug Kanter wrote:

There's been a friendly debate going on in alt.guitar.bass about what sort
of treatment is best for guitar fingerboards, many of which are rosewood.
I've heard lemon oil (which I know is just "flavored" mineral oil) can
actually cause drying out (which I don't understand), and a host of other
theories. I'm interested in opinions from this crowd. The goal is to apply
something that'll remove normal hand dirt, and then leave the fingerboard
somewhat moisturized, but not VERY oily.


what about Fingerboard Oil? There are a number of mentions online.

Dave
  #3  
Old July 22nd 05, 06:10 PM
Doug Kanter
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"David" wrote in message
...
Doug Kanter wrote:

There's been a friendly debate going on in alt.guitar.bass about what
sort of treatment is best for guitar fingerboards, many of which are
rosewood. I've heard lemon oil (which I know is just "flavored" mineral
oil) can actually cause drying out (which I don't understand), and a host
of other theories. I'm interested in opinions from this crowd. The goal
is to apply something that'll remove normal hand dirt, and then leave the
fingerboard somewhat moisturized, but not VERY oily.

what about Fingerboard Oil? There are a number of mentions online.

Dave


Probably, but I'd find it hard to believe that there isn't a more commonly
available product used by woodworkers who make furniture or little wooden
jewelry boxes. By "commonly available", I mean something in the category of
tung oil or other things you can find at Home Depot, or a woodworking
specialty store. (I like to avoid ordering things online when the shipping
cost exceeds the value of the product involved).


  #4  
Old July 22nd 05, 07:03 PM
davide1209
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Default

I don't claim to be that great at woodworking or guitar playing, but I
do both (neither one professionally). Because I do both I love guitars
not only for their musical value, but as highly refined and functional
woodworking pieces (I'm talking about real guitars, not the junk that
gets spit off the Asian assembly lines at a rate of a couple thousand
per day).
Most well made guitars I've seen don't have any sort of finish on the
fingerboard. They say that fine instruments only get better with use.
And hand oil--not hand dirt--is, in my opinion, one of the reasons for
this. If you pick up a guitar that has been used a lot for a long
time, it has a feel that cannot be achieved through any process other
than having fingers with their natural oils dancing up and down the
fret board. It's a natural process like the smoothing of river rocks
tumbling in a stream. This natural oiling process can also give some
indication as to the players style. Look closely at the patterns on
the finger board and you'll get some idea of where he chooses to do
most of his playing. Does he stay mostly in the first position using
mostly open chords or does he do a lot of soloing in the mid to high
range. To me this is all part of the guitar's character and story.
And if it's a fine instrument that is worth handing down to future
generations, those generations should not be deprived of the story.

The only oil that get's put on the necks of my guitars is hand oil.
That is, clean hand oil- not hand oil mixed with hand dirt.

For those reading that are not interested in guitars, think of an old
wooden plane or the wood handles of your favorite hand tools. My uncle
has some that have decades of hand oil deposits. You can't get the
same feel from any comercially available finish or oil. To me it's a
desirable feel that would be ruined if you tried to monkey around with
it.

If there's already dirt on the finger board, I would use a rag lightly
dampened with water to rub it off. The water will loosen the dirt, but
won't disolve the hand oil. After the dirt is removed apply additional
layers of hand oil finish by playing at every possible occasion.

  #5  
Old July 22nd 05, 07:14 PM
Todd the wood junkie
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Agree with completely. Rosewood and ebony, which is what most
fingerboards are made of, do no need any 'moisterizing'. If you have a
fingerboard cracking or splitting because it's too dry, then it must be
from the last millenia (time to call a museam). Also Keep in mind any
oil you add to the fingerboard will also transfer to the the strings,
and oil on the strings (especially the bass E, A, D) is not a good
combination.

No oil, just TLC.

  #6  
Old July 22nd 05, 07:24 PM
Dave Hinz
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Default

On 22 Jul 2005 11:14:47 -0700, Todd the wood junkie wrote:
Agree with completely. Rosewood and ebony, which is what most
fingerboards are made of, do no need any 'moisterizing'. If you have a
fingerboard cracking or splitting because it's too dry, then it must be
from the last millenia


What, 5 years ago you mean?

(time to call a museam). Also Keep in mind any
oil you add to the fingerboard will also transfer to the the strings,
and oil on the strings (especially the bass E, A, D) is not a good
combination.


That's the point I was going to make. Every time I've tried to put
any kind of treatment on a fretboard or the strings, it tends to make
the strings go "dead" not long afterwards.

No oil, just TLC.


I tend to agree. Wipe it clean with a clean, dry cloth from time to
time, and you'll be fine.

  #7  
Old July 23rd 05, 02:19 AM
Doug Miller
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In article , "Doug Kanter" wrote:
I've heard lemon oil (which I know is just "flavored" mineral oil)


What makes you think that?


--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)

It's time to throw all their damned tea in the harbor again.
  #8  
Old July 23rd 05, 03:27 AM
[email protected]
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On Fri, 22 Jul 2005 16:40:58 GMT, "Doug Kanter"
wrote:

There's been a friendly debate going on in alt.guitar.bass about what sort
of treatment is best for guitar fingerboards, many of which are rosewood.
I've heard lemon oil (which I know is just "flavored" mineral oil) can
actually cause drying out (which I don't understand), and a host of other
theories. I'm interested in opinions from this crowd. The goal is to apply
something that'll remove normal hand dirt, and then leave the fingerboard
somewhat moisturized, but not VERY oily.



well rosewood is pretty oily wood to start with. unless you are
keeping the guitar in some harsh conditions or are cleaning it
regularly with acetone I don't see the need to add oil at all.
depending what kind of instrument this is the finish may affect the
sound, and I'm by no stretch qualified to recommend anything to help
there. as far as cleaning it, something like murphy's oil soap is
probably about right. a film finish like laquer should make it easier
to clean, but again may affect the sound....
  #9  
Old July 23rd 05, 04:33 AM
Kiwanda
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Take a look at these old Usenet threads via google:
http://groups-beta.google.com/groups?q=%22harvey's%20guitar%20honey%22
&hl=en&lr=&safe=off&sa=N&tab=wg

I've been using Harvey's Guitar Honey (the same bottle in fact) on all
my guitars since about 1988. I don't think he's making it any more, but
these threads include a lot of other suggestions from guitarists.

-kiwanda
  #10  
Old July 23rd 05, 05:08 PM
Doug Kanter
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Default

"Doug Miller" wrote in message
...
In article , "Doug Kanter"
wrote:
I've heard lemon oil (which I know is just "flavored" mineral oil)


What makes you think that?


The ingredients on the container sitting right in front of me. Weiman
Natural Mineral Oil. If others are closer to pure lemon oil, I didn't find
any available around here.


 




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