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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Treating a rosewood board....

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Funkenstein, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. Funkenstein

    Funkenstein TDPRI Member

    Jul 11, 2009
    North Arkansas, USA
    So what are some thoughts on treating or conditioning rosewood fretboards? I know people that treat their boards every so often with different oils. I've heard some say they use boiled lindseed oil. Others say teak oil, tung oil, lemon oil and just plain ole mineral oil.

    I've never treated any of the boards on any electric or acoustic guitar. I've always been of the thinking that regular playing of the guitar would deposit oils and such from your hands and fingers. Perhaps this isn't sufficient "oiling" of the fretboard...I dunno. It seems to me that rosewood, being a porous wood, would tend to get a bit soggy or sumpthin from applying too much oil to it. But I'm occasionally dead wrong about such things. ;)

    Anybody oil their boards? If so, how often and what do you use?


  2. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

    I prefer using plant based oils on my rosewood fretboards. I use this's a link. You'll get a lot of different opinions on the subject. I just prefer using what I think is the best product out, it will darken rosewood nicely.

  3. Rod Parsons

    Rod Parsons Friend of Leo's

    Sep 26, 2009
    Winchester, Va.
    I always use lemon oil... Old English brand or anything similar,that you can get at a hardware store. I apply it two or three times a year. Apply liberally, let sit wet for 15 minutes or so,... wipe of with old tee shirt.

  4. Jvm210Guy

    Jvm210Guy TDPRI Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    The purpose of oiling a board is to protect the wood from such things as sweat. So, sweat is NOT a sufficient method of protecting your fret board, it's quite the opposite.

    When you apply lemon oil or linseed oil you are simply applying it than quickly removing it. Despite popular believe you Do not want to let the liquid sit on the board for longer than a few seconds. You can treat your board (depending on where you live) about twice a year.

    You'll see the difference between a treated and non-treated board, because the non-treated, or thirsty, board will have a lighter color than normal. A treated board looks darker, and feels smoothe. Your board should never be wet or spongy...

  5. Jvm210Guy

    Jvm210Guy TDPRI Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    Btw lemon oil DOES NOT CONTAIN lemon juice, it just smells like lemons. Do not use home cleaning products containing lemon oil, ONLY use specic products for the use of treating rosewood fretboards..

  6. slack

    slack Friend of Leo's

    Sep 26, 2003
    Hollywood, CA
    If you search the forum you will find hundreds of posts with thoughts on the topic.

    In my opinion more damage has been done to rosewood fretboards by the application of oils or other unnecessary treatments than by doing nothing. I've spent a lot of time cleaning up vintage necks that people "oiled." For the vast majority of guitars throughout most of the world, there is no need to treat a rosewood fretboard. However, if you live in Furnace Creek, Death Valley and store your guitar in the attic, I guess you might have a legitimate argument for such treatments. Maybe.

  7. rockinstephen

    rockinstephen Tele-Meister

    Apr 21, 2011
    I've always used boiled linseed oil. I let it sit a few minuets then wipe it off with a clean soft cloth. First though, I clean the board with naptha (lighter fluid). That's what Dan Erlwine recommendes...

  8. BradL

    BradL Tele-Afflicted Ad Free + Supporter

    Feb 9, 2009
    Sussex, UK
    I don't think it's needed other than for aesthetic purposes. It tends to darken the fretboard somewhat for a while giving it that aged patina.

  9. bullfrogblues

    bullfrogblues Friend of Leo's

    Jun 5, 2011
    Southeast Florida
    I use real rosewood oil. And it makes it smell fantastic. I found it online, a small bottle will last a lifetime.

  10. t-ray

    t-ray Tele-Holic

    Apr 18, 2010
    Gotham City
    Boiled linseed oil. I dampen a cotton cloth with it and use it to clean the fret board of grime, let the oil sit for a few minutes, then buff it off. Have done this to my 1966 Mustang since I bought it in 1980. That board looks and plays great, and will outlast me!

  11. dangerine49

    dangerine49 Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 2, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    I treat mine once every 40 years whether they need it or not.

    Seriously, I never treated the rosewood on my '58 Gretsch New Yorker archtop acoustic and Fender Mustang until I read about it online about 15 years ago. I used plain mineral oil. Didn't notice any significant difference. Of course, here in the NYC area it's usually reasonably humid. I have heard that in very dry parts of the country, it might be more necessary.

  12. Arbiter

    Arbiter Banned

    Jan 24, 2012
    Lemon oil. Use as little as possible. I regularly clean my fingerboards, use 0000 steel wool, but still only will oil them once a year.

  13. Funkenstein

    Funkenstein TDPRI Member

    Jul 11, 2009
    North Arkansas, USA
    Well I wasn't really referring to sweat...I was referring to the natural oils that human skin secretes. I've heard before that regular playing of fretted instruments would naturally treat the wood. However, when you think about it, it would take a hell of a lot of playing and hell of a lot of "human oil" to get er done. :lol:


  14. FrankMc

    FrankMc Tele-Meister

    Feb 11, 2011
    Memphis TN
    Nothing wrong with a good cleaning, but a little bit of oil goes a long way, a little bit, and lasts a long time. Some folks over do their oiling of the board and it will collect under the frets, not good. Just a bit on a towel should be more than enough. I may oil my J-45 once every two years... I said MAY oil every two years. Again, a little bit goes a long way.

  15. Bartholomew3

    Bartholomew3 Friend of Leo's

    Dec 8, 2010
    Cleaning with Dunlop lemon oil made my fingerboards feel very stiff - ebony on a Les Paul and also a tele with rosewood plus an Epi SG.

    Sux - I actually had to lube my fingertips with super-light oil on each guitar to get everything playing smoothly again & do Blues bends properly.

    Guess I overdid it. The lesson here would probably be - if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    Too much cleaning will make the fretboard feel stiff.

  16. Frontier9

    Frontier9 Friend of Leo's

    Dec 10, 2007
    Greetings from Sunny New Jersey
    coconut oil.

  17. Blue Bear

    Blue Bear Tele-Meister

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  18. dan79

    dan79 Tele-Holic

    Aug 7, 2004
    Cumbria, England
    Lemon oil, probably once a year.:cool:

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