Fretboard abd Body Oil

johnnysmash

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What kind of oil should I use on the fret board of my baritone ukulele?

What kind of oil should I use on the body of the ukulele?

Thank you, johnnysmash
 

merlin666

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I have used some mineral oil on the ebony fretboard of guitars but that was years ago. My luthier is opposed to oiling fretboards and he says that it clogs the pores of the wood which degrades quality and makes cleaning difficult. I am not sure if I agree with him but he certainly knows a lot more about instruments than me.
 

Arik

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I have used some mineral oil on the ebony fretboard of guitars but that was years ago. My luthier is opposed to oiling fretboards and he says that it clogs the pores of the wood which degrades quality and makes cleaning difficult. I am not sure if I agree with him but he certainly knows a lot more about instruments than me.

Interesting, my luthier told me something similar. I ended up dropping the action and putting lemon oil on the fretboard. Looked so much better after doing the lemon oil.
 

Kenn2018

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Much depends upon the finish on your uke and fretboard.

If you have an oil-based finish, by all means use a non-silicone based lemon oil. Gordon Mayer suggested that you use Extra Extra Virgin Olive Oil on MyaMoe ukuleles to keep the oil finish in tip top shape. And make it smell good too.

If you have a varnish, or polyurethane finish, don't use an oil. It won't soak in and will only sit on the top of the finish and attract dirt & schmutz. Most cleaners are a combination of cleaner and polish. You can get polish buildup over time. And if you have a satin finish, it can gloss it up if you use the wrong one. Taylor guitars uses one of the Turtle Wax car polish formulas on their polyurethane finished ukes when they work on a guitar in their factory repair shop. Some cleaners are made for satin or matte finishes. Others say they work on both.

A barely damp soft cloth will usually clean the body of most dirt. A cleaner made for guitars or ukuleles will clean problem areas. But use it sparingly. Keep it away from the soundhole, fretboard, bridge or dings that expose the wood. Water and some cleaners can cause unsealed wood to expand and warp. Or damage the wood fibers.

Fretboards (and bridges) are usually raw wood and not sealed with a finish. But more and more they are being dyed to give them a uniform black or dark color. My Martin had a black dye applied to its ebony fret board that came off when I used Music Nomad's F-One Fretboard cleaner and oil on it. So be careful with what you use.

If there is an oil and dirt build up from your fingers on your fretboard, you may want to use a fine plastic scrubber or plastic abrasive sheet/stick to clean it before applying any oil treatment. (It was pointed out to me that any steel wools will shed particles when you use them. These can be attracted by the magnets in a pickup, wind up in your case and transfer to another uke.) Once you have the gunk cleaned off, sparingly use a non-silicone treatment on the board. Too much can make the wood swell and pop out your frets or warp the wood. And attract more oils and dirt.
 
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EDW

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I used some CBD oil on my fretboard and it really mellowed out the instrument!
 

clear

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clear

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Based on what I casually read on the Internet... I think lemon oil is mineral oil with lemon scent added; and, since baby oil is also mineral oil with added fresh scent, baby oil should work just fine on your fretboard. (Also, you don't need to oil a finish maple fretboard, just in case your uke has one; unlikely.)
 

Kenn2018

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Based on what I casually read on the Internet... I think lemon oil is mineral oil with lemon scent added; and, since baby oil is also mineral oil with added fresh scent, baby oil should work just fine on your fretboard. (Also, you don't need to oil a finish maple fretboard, just in case your uke has one; unlikely.)

Furniture Lemon Oil is exactly that. A thin mineral oil with some lemon scent.

Most instrument lemon oils have other ingredients. Some contain silicone which can leave a gummy residue behind. Some contain cleaning solvents to help clean the dirt and oils from your hands. So read reviews and the product listings carefully before using.
 

PeteyHoudini

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I've only used on my ukes (mainly new Martins) Dunlop Lemon Oil 65. Never had an issue. Just my two cents.
 

rafter

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There is the generic Lemon Oil and there is real Lemon Oil.

Generic Lemon Oil has a lemon scent added to a concoction. I would not even use it on furniture.

Real Lemon Oil is made out 100% lemons, the lemons are processed to harvest the actual oil that is in the Lemon. If you buy it in a pure form, it is a useful oil for various maintenance tasks for wooden objects.

The maker of three of my custom ukes recommended the use of real Lemon oil for the maintenance of fretboards. He knows what is on the fretboard and how to look after it and he will have to deal with any negative results.

As I posted above, the best source of information about the maintenance of your ukulele is the maker or manufacturer. If you have a custom uke, most makers will respond to a polite request about care and maintenance, even to the second or third owner. Maybe not immediately if they are busy, but eventually. If you own a production uke, look at the website. If you can't find the information, you are stuck with a thread like this and will see a variety of advice and you have to work out for yourself which advice to follow.


I use neither, so I don't really have a dog in this race, but I've always heard the opposite. That real lemon oil is too acidic and dries out wood, and that lemon oil products made for fretboards are gentler because they don't contain much from actual lemons. I'm not all that knowledgeable about the merits of different oils; I'm just curious because it's the first time I'm hearing the opposite of everything I've heard about lemon oils.

I do agree that it's probably best to ask the manufacturer, especially since different finishes require different maintenance.

Also, it's been mentioned that (whatever you use,) you should be sparing in application, which is something I'd echo.