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Thread: Feeding fretboards

  1. #1
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    Question Feeding fretboards

    Does anyone ever use lemon oil, or something similar, to clean and feed the fretboard when changing strings?

    And would you do this for all types of wood, or just rosewood?
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  2. #2
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    I use 3-n-1 oil. Supposedly that was a recommendation by Martin many decades ago. I’m sure the chemical composition has changed over the years, but I still use it. I used to use lemon oil, which is good for cleaning them. As with any of this...YMMV.

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  3. #3
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    Smear on mineral oil, clean the frets with a toothbrush, wipe it all off. Every time I change strings, but I don't change strings that often. But one time I was changing strings and I didn't have any mineral oil, so there was some stuff in a cupboard that was for furniture, it said on the label that it restored the natural oils, so I used that instead. Nothing bad happened. I don't think the fretboard is that particular.
    Last edited by Rllink; 01-12-2019 at 08:01 AM.
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    I recently bought a used Koaloha that had sat in storage for several years. I contacted the company (KoAloha) and was told to use Music Nomad F-One Oil, to clean and treat the fretboard.

    I bought a little bottle at Guitar Center and it worked like a charm. You only need a little bit, so the small bottle will last years.

    (It was really inexpensive)
    Last edited by TobyDog; 01-13-2019 at 03:02 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Bore oil, made for woodwind instruments is what I use lately. It's available in most music shops and works well. But IMO any oil should be applied very sparingly, like a drops in a rag and rub up the fretboard until you need another drop... 3 drops total is enough to do an entire tenor fretboard. Rub it in well, and only do it once a year or so.

    Bob Taylor of Taylor guitars suggests boiled linseed oil... again, very sparingly, and maybe 3 times total, over the course of several years.
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  6. #6
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    I can't imagine it makes that much difference which type of product you use, as long as you use something. (Though I've never heard of using 3 in 1 oil on an instrument before!) Lemon oil, lindseed (boiled or not). I've been using the MusicNomad F-One oil and it seems to work just fine, use it on anything with a wood fretboard about once a year. Good idea NOT to use anything with silicone in it in case you ever want to refinish the instrument for any reason.
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  7. #7
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    I've read boiled linseed is NOT recommended for woodwind instruments, I'd guess the same would be true for fretted stringed instruments

    I've also read that "lemon oil" is just ordinary light machine oil (3-in-1 or similar) made to "smell nice" so's they can charge a high price for it

    3-in-1 was certainly recommended by one of the major guitar manufacturers, whether it was Martin or not, I can't remember, but it works perfectly well for me, on my stringed instruments and my woodwinds, but I do keep it off the mouthpiece

    YMMV
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swamp Yankee View Post
    Bore oil, made for woodwind instruments is what I use lately. It's available in most music shops and works well. But IMO any oil should be applied very sparingly, like a drops in a rag and rub up the fretboard until you need another drop... 3 drops total is enough to do an entire tenor fretboard. Rub it in well, and only do it once a year or so. .
    According to some techs I have known, the bore oil you often find in a generic music store is often a petroleum based product. I have been told that natural oils and products are better. Some great products that many techs and WW players swear by-

    http://doctorsprod.com/cbuy/supplies/wood-care

    some also like
    https://www.justforwinds.com/naylors-organic-bore-oil-0

    I have also heard some recommend sweet almond oil

  9. #9
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    I know that MyaMoe & Mike Pereira used Birchwood Casey TruOil gunstock finish on their fretboards for a while. TruOil is boiled linseed oil and other natural oils. (Might have tung oil in it.)

    I have read differing opinions about applying lemon oil over it. Both pro and con. Anyone have any experience with the stuff?

  10. #10
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    Certain oils, including linseed oil, tung oil, and TruOil, will harden into a polymer coating. I would be certain, before using one of these oils, that I was intending to refinish my instrument and not simply "refresh" the fingerboard.

    Recently began using something called Howard's Feed-n-Wax, which you can find at the hardware store, for occasional cleaning and polishing. I use it very sparingly. So far no ill effects.

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