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post #16 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-03-2001, 12:56 AM
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lemon oil?

Ok before I stop using lemon oil are we all POSTIVE that it is a BAD thing?? Lifting frets? Twisting? No thank you I'd rather take a board with little marks here and there, but if its just someone's guess then I'd rather keep doing it.

Glen- Why exactly would you take a non-oiled guitar over an oiled one? Is there something you feel or hear different? After I started oiling my rosewood boards I didnt hear/feel any difference. They just looked a hell of a lot nicer.
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post #17 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-03-2001, 01:06 AM
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lemon oil?

Because it would be an educated guess on my part as to how the axe was cared for. Sometimes less is more. Personally i would rather the previous owner do NOTHING extraneous and rather leave it alone. That is unless they are a luthier or have vast experience. I don't believe you should saturate wood with unnatural oils, barring overt problems such as extreme heat and dry climates. Again under the advice of someone knowledgable.

You want to buy a car from somebody who experimented their way thru their regular tuneups with a buddy? or someone who regularly the shop with a pro mechanic? An extreme example but this is why. Remember for every rule there is an exception so use your best judgement... glen
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post #18 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-15-2001, 09:48 PM
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lemon oil?

Hey Madwell,

I used lem oil on all of my guitars. The ones with ebony fretboards and the rosewood ones. I never had any problems with it, as long as you wipe the excess oil off.

But another option for rosewood, ebony and even maple is boiled linseed-oil. It fills up the little holes and stuff and gets hard like a laquer or clearcoat. Your fretboard will look very dark. I personally like it very much. It protects the wood from absorbing moist, and once used on a fretboard you can wipe off the dirt as easily as a maple fretboard with a clearcoat.

You just use it like any other oils. Put some on the fretboard... whipe it out over the wood... let it stay for a while and whipe off the excess. It will look great!

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post #19 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-16-2001, 12:50 AM
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lemon oil?

Man what a thread! I'm in the Chicago area where our temperature inversions are very high. The guitar sees all temperature and humidity combinations throughout a one year period. Let me tell you what I do. For customers, I see a lot of filthy grime and it needs to be removed. It is not good for the wood. I use Naptha (lighter fluid is ok), and sometimes if I really have to I will use Flax soap, or murphy's oil soap very sparingly with a toothbrush for major ground in ca ca. With the speed in which I do it, nothing is really getting below the surface. Maybe 1mil or so. *For mildly dirty fingerboards, I use lemon oil. But just enough to moisten the rag. I don't want it soaking in the board. Everything we're talking about is surface related. The problems are when you dump it on and it soaks into the grains. It can then TRAP moisture in, keep moisture out, do all sorts of things counterproductive. I don't like the Gibson stuff. It is really thin and it sucks waaaaay down into the pores. It also comes back up for a long time after you put it on. In my experience, it is addictive, because it is temporary and then it dries you fretboard out so that you need it more. *By the way all they did was go to a company that was already making it either for gun stocks or furniture or whatever and get their name on it. *As for maple, Glen is right on. *But I don't like any spray endust product on bare wood. There are fragrances and thinners and waxes and lots of other things in there that I don't want on my board. Also, if you have hands that gunk up a fretboard, anything you put on there, if it sticks in there, like linseed or tons of lemon oil, will become gunk later, and the process repeats. You do have to clean wood sometimes, too because if all you are doing is rubbing lemon oil in, you are mashing your gunk into the grains just by the rubbing you are doing. Man this is a long post. Maybe I'll make up a fretboard care sheet. Another reason we oil is to prevent cracking. Lemon oil does just fine. Drying of the wood also means shrinkage leading to cracking. The oil helps prevent this. As far as warping and frets pulling out, The expanding and contracting due to inversions really contributes. Oiling will cut down on that too. Re-cap: Kirk, the Gibson stuff dries the board as it evaporates, making you need it again. The lemon oil does not, unless it has alcohol or other thinners in it. Cowcowcow, you put too much on. Just a little on the rag is enough, and no waiting before you wipe it off. Do it instantly, removing as much as you can. *Tomizm, extra lemon oil slicking your strings will soak into them killing them sooner. The oil gets between the wrappings and the core, deadening the string. Madwell, keep doing what you're doing, making sure that if it's every two weeks, use very little and keep wiping it dry like you are doing. And Glen, a really dark, oily rosewood fretboard can be a sign of majorly clogged pores choking off the wood. Take the unoiled guitar, and then put a little lemon oil on the fretboard when you get it.
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post #20 of 54 (permalink) Old 07-26-2001, 02:27 AM
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lemon oil?

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post #21 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-01-2002, 06:29 AM
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Lemon oil works like a champ... been using it for years. My stepfather had a carvin DC 135 (I think) and it was a koa body with a maple neck through... no clearcoat anywhere. The whole body was finished with tung oil. He used lemon oil to clean the whole thing. It darkened everything, made it look great, and it smelled pretty good too : D He'd been doing this with his guitars for 25+ years and never had a problem. This was on the east coast with plenty of humidity.
As long as you don't drink it, you should be ok.
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post #22 of 54 (permalink) Old 03-12-2003, 08:28 PM
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Stew-Mac Fretboard Finishing Oil

I know this is an old thread, but I thought I'd post an alternative for those who need to recondition their rosewood fretboards. (This product will work on ebony, too, but I don't own an instrument with that kind of fretboard.)

Several years ago, I bought a used guitar with a rosewood board. I've done a fair amount of woodworking over the years, and I was a little worried that the fingerboard on my guitar looked dried out. I'd been advised NOT to use lemon oil, so I phoned Stewart-MacDonald Guitar Shop Supply and axt 'em for advice.

The phone rep recommended Stew-Mac's "Professional Fretboard Finishing Oil", which is labeled with the following claim: "...penetrates the wood and dries hard, unlike linseed oil or other oil finishes which may become sticky when warm. It will not harm frets or fretboard inlays. Not for use on finished maple fretboards."

The Stew-Mac product did the trick, and lived up to everything it claims to do. I'm just a stay-at-home player, and I'm neurotic about keeping the temperature of my home consistent. But all things considered, I doubt you'd have to use this stuff more than once a year even if your instrument regularly encounters major temperature/humidity changes, or even if you play daily. (I do, but not for three-hour gigs. I doubt I could hold my dogs' attention that long, anyhow.)

To clarify, the Stew-Mac stuff leaves absolutely no residue whatsoever, nor does it change the feel of the fretboard. It does, however, darken the board some and bring out the grain a bit... so if that's what some of you lemon oil users are looking for, give this stuff a shot instead.

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post #23 of 54 (permalink) Old 03-12-2003, 08:37 PM
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I'll still stand by bore oil, and I'd never put anything on a fretboard that "dries hard".
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post #24 of 54 (permalink) Old 03-12-2003, 08:48 PM
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Fretboard Oil (Redux)


I'm not knocking bore oil, since I don't even know what it is! (Is it gun oil?) I just wanted to explain what worked for me.

As for the "dries hard" quality of the Stew-Mac oil, it's not like a varnish or anything. Again, you don't even feel it; there's no resin-type or waxy coating of any kind. (The only ingredients on the label are "petroleum distillates".) The closest thing I can compare this stuff to is tung oil, which I've used to refinish several mahogany items (NOT guitar fretboards, though!). :-)

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post #25 of 54 (permalink) Old 03-12-2003, 08:53 PM
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Bore oil is formulated to coat the inside of woodwinds to keep them from cracking, it's made for raw wood, it's made for instruments, it does not "dry hard" like linseed, looks great, feels great, enough for me
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post #26 of 54 (permalink) Old 05-19-2006, 10:12 AM
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Re: lemon oil?

I use lemon oil to clean my rosewood fingerboards every five months or so. I haven't had any problems.

It's DEFINITELY NOT a good idea to do it every two weeks, though, like ChrisReedSmith does. In fact, that's pretty bad for your fingerboard. In fact, despite oiling my neck every 5 or 6 months, THAT'S probably even too much...
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post #27 of 54 (permalink) Old 05-19-2006, 10:16 AM
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Re: lemon oil?

Oh yeah, and if the strings feel 'sticky' or 'slick' or whatever after you lemon oil your neck, that is because a) you might have used too much lemon oil b) you didn't let it soak in long enough; you need to give it at least 10 minutes or so; c) you didn't wipe off the fingerboard adequately before you put the strings back on.

So, make sure you don't use TOO much, make sure you let it soak in and then wipe off the fingerboard one last time before you put the strings on. I wipe the finger board down a bunch of times after the lemon oil has soaked in just to make sure it's not still 'wet.'
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post #28 of 54 (permalink) Old 05-19-2006, 10:18 AM
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Re: lemon oil?

Originally Posted by Rich
Bore oil is formulated to coat the inside of woodwinds to keep them from cracking, it's made for raw wood, it's made for instruments, it does not "dry hard" like linseed, looks great, feels great, enough for me
+1 im a bore oil user
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post #29 of 54 (permalink) Old 05-19-2006, 12:21 PM
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Re: lemon oil?

I use almond oil. Anyone else who does too? I used a couple of layers applied with an hour´s interval, wiped off the excess directly after coating.

you need to give it at least 10 minutes or so;
Ten minutes? I leave it in for an hour before even touching the guitar again!

Last edited by Roland; 05-19-2006 at 12:30 PM.
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post #30 of 54 (permalink) Old 05-19-2006, 12:27 PM
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Re: lemon oil?

Lemon oil works nicely to break up any gunk on the fretboard however I have had even better results with Tung Oil.
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clear coat , ebony fretboard , ebony fretboards , finger board , guitar shop , koa body , maple fret , maple fretboard , maple neck , rosewood board , rosewood boards , rosewood fingerboard , rosewood fretboard , rosewood fretboards , steel wool , tung oil

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