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View Full Version : Linseed oil on the fretboard ??(from the video on Taylorguitars.com)


Joost Assink
09-06-2007, 07:45 AM
Ok, I have a question. I found this interesting video on Taylorguitars.com:
http://www.taylorguitars.com/see-hear/Video.aspx?file=care_feeding_1_high.wmx

It's about the care and feeding of your guitar. It's a great video and I will use some of the tips. However, they suggests using linseed oil on the fretboard.

It's kinda different from what I learned:
"What happens if raw or boiled linseed oil is used on your ebony fretboard is that at some time sooner or later you will open your case to find a sticky mess exuding from the fretboard. The oil is actually leaching out of the wood. This can happen with a few other oils but linseed oils is by far the worst.

This subject came up last year on one of the internet banjo groups and I received a surprising amount of mail from banjo players who had been advised to use linseed oil and had experienced the gooey results. This can be a frustrating event if it happens at a festival on a warm day. Usually you can't just wipe it off, as it just keeps coming out of the wood. "
(source: http://www.desertrosebanjo.com/newsletter4.html)


I am interested to hear your experience and opinion. Especially from luthiers.
Do you use linseed oil on the fretboard? If not, what then? And is OOOO steel wool best suited to clean the fretboard?
Thanks!

DChap
09-06-2007, 08:43 AM
I havn't heard that before, but I will freely admit I am very ignorant on the subject. I just recently went through the whole Taylor Care/Feeding on my two taylors and my Dad's two Taylors also, and all is fine thus far. I made sure to whipe as much of the oil off after I had applied it. As in rub the oil on then buff it off. Everything seems in order, but I havn't played it outside since, nor have I transported my guitar anywhere since either. As for the steel wool, it works wonderfully, just make sure to tape off any opening on the guitar body and along side the fingerboard extension because the steel wool shreds fast and gets all over the place. Blue painters tape works well for this job

Plaid Coyote
09-06-2007, 09:23 AM
I've used linseed oil for 30 years and I've never had a problem. I do make sure i wipe it down to as dry as I can before putting my guitars away. And sometimes that takes a while to get all the excess off.

selectortone
09-06-2007, 09:31 AM
I've also been using linseed oil since the mid '70s. I must have oiled literally hundreds of ebony and rosewood fingerboards in that time, never had a problem or had a customer complain.

mojito
09-06-2007, 09:33 AM
My experience is the same. I do make sure that I wipe off any excess thoroughly each and every time though.

Joost Assink
09-06-2007, 10:59 AM
Ok, how many times do you oil the fretboard per year?
Also, when you say, you wipe off the excess before putting the guitars away, do you mean when you are applying the oil or every time you play the guitar afterward?

lofapco
09-06-2007, 11:04 AM
I don't know the distinction, but Taylor is recommending "boiled" linseed oil. I just used it on a 1988 Maxxas by Ibanez guitar I recently purchased. It had sweat stains along the whole rosewood fret board. After using the 0000 steel wool (I was able to use a fair amount of arm strength) I put a very little bit of "boiled" linseed oil purchased from a local hardware store, on the fretboard, let it sit a few minutes and then wiped all the excess off making sure to get everything. The rosewood grain was beautiful! I have played it many times since over the last 2-3 weeks and am very happy with the result. I will likely do my 1993 Taylor 612 next since I have never cleaned the fretboard prior with anything other than a damp cloth and drying it.

JohnZ
09-06-2007, 11:13 AM
Ok, how many times do you oil the fretboard per year?
Also, when you say, you wipe off the excess before putting the guitars away, do you mean when you are applying the oil or every time you play the guitar afterward?

I've used boiled linsed for at least 30 years as well, about once a year at most. Depending on the fretboard and inlay, I'll sometimes use 0000 steel wool to apply it and polish the frets at the same time......using as little oil as possible. Then, after wiping off excess, let it sit for a bit and then wipe it down with a damp cloth to pull out oil that leaches, and then rubbed out with a dry cloth.

Tim McKnight
09-06-2007, 11:27 AM
"Boiled" linseed oil will dry over time where "Raw" linseed oil may never dry, depending on the woods that it is applied to. Make sure you use the correct one. Better yet, use StewMac's Fretboard Oil which has boiled linseed oil, tung oil and modified driers in it. It goes on wet and thin enough to be absorbed into the wood. Allow it to set for a couple of minutes and then wipe off the excess. You may have to continue wiping the excess off for a few minutes especially if used on ebony FBs. One application every 6 months to a year will keep your FB happy and protected. StewMac's product will dry over night and you won't have to worry about undried oils leaching from the surface.

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Finishing_supplies/Finishes_and_solvents/ColorTone_Fretboard_Finishing_Oil.html

Yoder
09-06-2007, 11:31 AM
I use linseed oil for my fences, but high grade orange oil for my fret boards...again, wipe it clean after it sits awhile.

Joost Assink
09-06-2007, 12:36 PM
thanks guys. I found (boiled) linseed oil in the local hardware store. The Stew Mac stuff looked good, but they can't ship outside the U.S. Too bad, because that looked perfect!

KMHaynes
09-06-2007, 12:43 PM
My 2 steps:

1) About once a year, I use some 0000 guage steel wool (very fine) on the entire fingerboard, frets and esp. right up against the frets, lightly buffing the entire board. Then, a real good wipe-down with a soft rag, removing all the steel wool "dust".

2) Then a light coat of mineral oil (cheap at the drug store), rubbing for about 3-5 minutes, both with the grain and across the grain; then wipe off ALL the excess, using a couple of soft rags. I wipe it off pretty aggressively to get all the extra oil. Then string it up and play!

rgregg48
09-06-2007, 01:25 PM
"Boiled" linseed oil will dry over time where "Raw" linseed oil may never dry, depending on the woods that it is applied to. Make sure you use the correct one. Better yet, use StewMac's Fretboard Oil which has boiled linseed oil, tung oil and modified driers in it. [/url]


Im sure Tims suggestions are better than what i have been doing, but so far i have not had a probem.
I clean the board with Napha,, use fine steel wool to clean the board,
than apply two drops of lemon oil to a clean cloth and wipe down the
fingerboard, than wipe with a dry cloth

Once every year or two seems to work for me, but the StewMac stuff
might work better than lemon oil, i dont know.
Rick

Jeff M
09-06-2007, 02:30 PM
I just go with what Frank Ford recommends over at Frets.com.....mineral oil. Works great.
No build up...no "bleeding".

Kevin A
09-06-2007, 02:34 PM
I used to use baby oil on my guitar— kept it dry, happy and no diaper rash.