Oil for an Ebony Fretboard

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Cyborg_Ogre, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. Cyborg_Ogre

    Cyborg_Ogre SS.org Regular

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    I've been reading tons of threads on guitar forums and still can't decide, what oil to use to condition and moisturize my fretboard. Because according to these forums

    - Lemon Oil dries fast and doesn't do much
    - Linseed Oil can't penetrate ebony fingerboard, so it's good only as a finish
    - Olive Oil is ok for moisturizing, but it will eventually rot

    So what's left? A mix of theese useless (according to guitar forums) oils? I don't have Fret Doctor in my country. Most of what guitar stores sell here is Dunlop and Planet Waves lemon oils. Lineseed and Olive oils can be bought in not guitar oriented stores.

    So I need an advice on what to choose. Maybe there is better type of oil I'm missing.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Plain old mineral oil.

    I've been using it for decades. It's cheap, easy to find and will work on all woods.
     
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  3. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Lemon oil dries fast? That's a new one.

    For the record, lemon oil is just mineral oil with lemon scent added to it. But also, mineral oil can be hundreds of thousands of different chemical compounds and mixtures thereof. I work in a testing lab that tests mineral oil on a daily basis. Depending on where it comes from, it can have a vast range of vapour pressures (volatility), but none of it dries at any rate that I would call "fast."

    I would definitely stay away from olive oil. I'm certain that it could be treated to not rot, but the kind you buy at the grocery store would be a terrible idea. The idea isn't to moisturize the wood so much as to protect it. Grocery-grade olive oil would do the opposite.

    I've always used either double boiled linseed oil (raw linseed oil will cause potential damage to your fretbaord, but what's worse is that it's toxic!) or low molecular weight mineral oil.
     
  4. Cyborg_Ogre

    Cyborg_Ogre SS.org Regular

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    I see, mineral oil then. Thanks MaxOfMetal and bostjan
     
  5. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    Yeah on my rosewood boards in the past I've just used mineral oil from the pharmacy. Wipe it on thick. Let it sit a few minutes. Wipe it off and buff with a clean cloth.
     
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  6. LordIronSpatula

    LordIronSpatula Indeed.

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    I use butcher block oil from a woodworking store. It's a clear, odorless, foodsafe mineral oil specifically for unfinished wood. Bought a pint bottle for something like $7 over a decade ago, and after maintaining a couple dozen fingerboards throughout that time, I still have more than half of it left.
     
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  7. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    I've been using the Planet Waves lemon oil on several guitars and haven't noticed any adverse effects :shrug: haven't tried it on a maple board yet, but it works fine for my ebony and rosewood boards.
     
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  8. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    I use bore oil, which is a thick mineral oil formulation designed for use in the bores of wind instruments (clarinet, oboe, etc.). But any mineral oil should be fine.
     
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  9. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    I have some of that too. It's some kind of mix of mineral oil and beeswax and maybe carnauba wax.
     
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  10. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    for my rosewood I always used the "dunlop 02 fingerboard deep conditioner"

    as now I got my first ebony guitar. Do Im safe to use that?
     
  11. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

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    What specifically should I buy for rosewood fretboards with binding? The H1001 also had the inlay binding (pearloid or whatever it is). This thread is pertinent to my current search and didn't want to start another thread of similar topic. I was thinking of just getting the Dunlop 65 stuff. Thanks.
     
  12. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Just plain mineral oil.

    The Dunlop stuff is perfectly fine too, just a lot more expensive than a bottle of mineral oil from the grocery store, hardware store, Walmart etc.
     
  13. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    If you’re going to go this route, I recommend putting the bottle in a glass of hot water, rubbing the oil I while warm, and then the next day, wipe off the excess that didn’t completely soak in.
     
  14. Lukhas

    Lukhas SS.org Regular

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    I just use Dunlop's Lemon Oil. I never had more than two guitars, bought it a good 8-10 years ago and I can't see the end of that bottle. If it wasn't for the dirty, worn out applicator or the outdated Dunlop logo, you'd think I opened it yesterday! :lol:
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
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  15. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

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    I just went with this. Got some new strings and some 0000 steel wool as well.
     
  16. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    I tend to use either Dunlop 65 Lemon Oil or Ernie Ball Fretboard Wonder Wipes on my Ebony fretboard on my Gibson Les Paul.
     
  17. Humbuck

    Humbuck SS.org Regular

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    Bore oil. Perfect for ebony.
     
  18. LordIronSpatula

    LordIronSpatula Indeed.

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    I've found that letting the oil soak for a few hours to overnight, then wiping/polishing whatever is left gives the best results.

    The idea of heating the oil, however, is new. What is the rationale behind that?

    If it makes any difference, the block oil I'm using is only oil, not an oil/wax mixture like another poster mentioned. The original plastic bottle wore out long before it was half empty and the contents are now in a mason jar, but it said something like Butcher Block Oil - 100% pure mineral oil on the original label.
     
  19. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Hot oil has a lower viscosity and surface tension that cool/room temp. oil, so it soaks into the wood deeper and more quickly, and also drives out moisture (which is replaced spatially by the oil). There's always a risk along with the benefit, though, and, in this case, if the wood expands too quickly, either from heating or from the rapid impregnation of oil, it can crack in the process.
     
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  20. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    :ninja: Plus the versions with a hard drying wax (carnauba, etc.) seem to be more common than the ones that are oils only.
     

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