Fret Board Maintenance/Luthier's Tips

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Fret Board Maintenance/Luthier's Tips

Postby Bant's Bluz » Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:33 pm

I probably should have done a search on this, but find myself being on the lazy side today! There have been several posts regarding "oiling" the fret board, e.g., Rico's use of lemon oil sticks out in my mind, but I seem to recall other approaches/opinions. So, I'm soliciting any and all advice as it pertains to agents to use, as well as frequency of use. And, just in case it's important, the instruments I'm concerned about are my two resos and my Les Paul.

Secondly, I read on some board (either here, IGS, or the Blindman's forum about a book that was recommend to have on hand that had tips from luthiers pertaining maintenance, set up, etc. Does anyone have any idea what that may have been?
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Re: Fret Board Maintenance/Luthier's Tips

Postby ricochet » Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:48 pm

T'ain't me using lemon oil, I use olive oil. My posts about lemon oil are to make sure people know to get "lemon oil," which is light medicinal mineral oil with a fragrance, same stuff as "baby oil" but with a lemon scent, and NOT to get real lemon peel oil (which is available.) Citrus oils are powerful solvents closely akin to turpentine and can be expected to be harmful to guitar finishes.
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Re: Fret Board Maintenance/Luthier's Tips

Postby grady » Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:03 pm

I've used Lemon Oil on Rosewood Fretboards for 24 years with no problems whatsoever.

I apply it heavily with a cotton ball, wait while the fretboard soaks up all it can hold then, wipe off the excess with a dry cotton ball.

Have you checked the Gibson website for instructions on how to set up a Les Paul ??

Check this out

http://www.gibson.com/en-us/Support/Tec ... 20Columns/
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Re: Fret Board Maintenance/Luthier's Tips

Postby bottleneck » Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:12 pm

i DO use turpentine,mixed 50% with linseed oil.of course you have to be careful not to get it on a finished area.
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Re: Fret Board Maintenance/Luthier's Tips

Postby ricochet » Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:37 pm

I don't want linseed oil on my fretboard. I'm not looking to finish it, but to lubricate it. Linseed oil quickly turns to a sticky, soft, rubbery resin. A built up linseed oil finish will ball up into boogers with friction. Linseed oil's a nice wood finish when it's all rubbed back off after application.
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Re: Fret Board Maintenance/Luthier's Tips

Postby leftyguitarman » Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:56 pm

I took Ric's advice a while back and used olive oil on fretboards of three of my guitars. It made them all much more enjoyable to play. I poured it on a washrag, and rubbed it in on each of the frets, then let it sit for a few hours to soak in. If it still seems a little dry, I repeat the process.
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Re: Fret Board Maintenance/Luthier's Tips

Postby bottleneck » Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:08 pm

ricochet wrote:I don't want linseed oil on my fretboard. I'm not looking to finish it, but to lubricate it. Linseed oil quickly turns to a sticky, soft, rubbery resin. A built up linseed oil finish will ball up into boogers with friction. Linseed oil's a nice wood finish when it's all rubbed back off after application.


hence why you mix it with turpentine and wipe the excess.
i haven't had a problem in 30 or so years.
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Re: Fret Board Maintenance/Luthier's Tips

Postby ricochet » Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:07 pm

No, no problems, I have military rifles that have been wiped with linseed oil regularly for 100+ years. I just don't understand the point for a fretboard, as it's a finish, not a lubricant. Has a quite high friction surface when it dries.
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Re: Fret Board Maintenance/Luthier's Tips

Postby Bant's Bluz » Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:08 pm

Thanks to all for the feedback! I've been distracted of late so I'm guilty of not operating at my normal semi-intelligent level!
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Re: Fret Board Maintenance/Luthier's Tips

Postby 1dustyeod » Sun Sep 21, 2008 5:02 pm

Not only does linseed oil leave a sticky buildup, it is also quite flammable. Rags with leftover linseed oil WILL spontaneously combust. I've always used plain ol' lemon oil. Works well.... and has never let me down.

8) 8) 8)
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Re: Fret Board Maintenance/Luthier's Tips

Postby ricochet » Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:17 am

Thanks for the reminder! I automatically burn any paper towels or rags I've wiped up linseed oil with, but not everyone knows to do that. The oil dries by absorbing oxygen and polymerizing, and it makes heat in the process. If the oil's on something like a wadded up cloth that lets air in but traps the heat, as it warms up it reacts faster, makes more heat etc. till it catches on fire. That interesting fact is frequently rediscovered.

Alternatively, you can submerge oily rags in water or spread them out in a single layer so they can't get hot.
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