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Author Topic: Lemon Oil on My Larrivée Ebony Fretboard?  (Read 9750 times)
canoe65
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« on: May 01, 2007, 08:32:29 PM »

On previous guitars, that had rosewood fretboards, I used to clean and recondition the fretboard with Kyser Lem-Oil in the process of changing my strings.

On my Larrivée L-03, I don't use any body polish on the satin finish, but I am ready to change my strings again and I'd like to refresh my ebony fretboard with a light coat of lemon oil.  I wipe off all surface excess after a few minutes.

Does anyone else, who has done this (or similar), have any comments that I need to know before I go at it?   
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flatlander
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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2007, 01:48:48 AM »

I've done it on mine for 25 years. I saw something on Larrivee's page that they didn't recommend it (they didn't condemn it though) and that  oil off of finger was enough. I didn't understand that at all. Oil seems to me to make it look better, play better and keep wood in better shape so it doesn't wear as easy. When I wipe it, it cleans off dirt and any of that toe jam like stuff against frets. Ask a luthier the other day if he had any idea of why not to put oil on fretboard and he said no, he does on his guitars he plays.
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2007, 12:54:17 PM »

I wouldn't.
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jimmy buffett
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2007, 01:03:36 PM »

I was told by the guys down at The 12th Fret that if you choose to treat the ebony fret board, you should use a light touch of Tung oil.  I have done this on a few occaisions, and it does bring out the darkness in the ebony and does a nice job of giving the board a clean look.  It drys quickly and is very hard, not wet or oily.

I would be hesitant to use lemon oil as it seems to me that you will always have some migration of the oil that will sit on the surface.  Remember, lemon oil does not dry hard and will always maintain some consistancy.  Just rub some on a smooth varnished surface and you can see that it seems to sit on top of the wood. 

Interesting to note, as flatlander points out, that Larrivee does not recommend treating the fret board with anything.  Keep your hands clean before picking up your guitar, and let the natural oils from your fingers do their work over time.

jimmy
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jimmyd
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2007, 03:28:35 PM »

I'm going to be a curmudgeon and propose that fretboard oil products should be labeled snake oil. I put these specialty items in the catagory of mud flaps.  Most don't really hurt anything but are just another unnecessary accessory.  Lemon oil is mostly petroleum product like mineral spirits with either a small amount of lemon oil or lemon scent added with a touch of petroleum oil. It might help to clean a fret board but does nothing to "condition" the wood. If you like oil just about any kind of light machine oil works well. On the rare occasion that I oil a fret board I use a very very small amount of Singer sewing machine oil. Loprinzi uses lard. Martin uses plain old 3n1 oil.
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bhika
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2007, 03:41:13 PM »

Boiled linseed oil.
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jeff

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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2007, 06:46:18 PM »

Probably not lemon oil.  I've used Kyser's fretboard oil in the past, but don't really like it.  Linseed seems the best.

But like others I'd probably only do it after cleaning a fingerboard with steel wool.  Otherwise I'd leave it alone and let your fingers do the natural oil.

Of course, if you live in a very dry climate, you might want to use some sort of oil.  I've seen ebony crack from total lack of care.
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flatlander
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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2007, 07:35:12 PM »

OK lots of opinions here. I get the idea that a lot of people are like me. I read something way back when I got my guitar and have used lemon oil ever since. Not every string change by any means, but once or twice a year. I noticed no bad effects after 25 years. I don't know much about wood
and oil so can someone explain. WHY is lemon oil not good  or petroleum products and if petrolium is bad then what about guys that use 3 in 1. Does anybody have facts about how these might damage ebony? It seems like personel prefernce to me so far. I put it on ebodny bridge too.
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drathbun
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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2007, 07:51:14 PM »

The only thing I would worry about getting on my fretboard would be something with silicone in it. I put lemon oil on my L05 fretboard about twice a year. I clean the fretboard with 0000 steel wool and polish the frets and then dampen a cloth with lemon oil and wipe it on. I leave it for a couple of minutes and then wipe the fretboard down with a clean cloth. Too much oil could swell the wood, get into the fret slots and cause a gunky build up. I like my fretboard to be clean and dry and don't think a small amount of lemon oil a couple of times a year will do any harm and it makes it feel and look good.
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bluesman67
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2007, 08:41:50 PM »

no matter how clean your hands are, to me, the fretboard needs an accasional clearning and conditioning.  I don't see where lemon oil would be problematic?  Why exactly do some folks recommend against it?
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2007, 09:38:16 PM »

I've been using Lemon Oil for over 35 years (ouch I'm getting old) without any problems. I think I use maybe a couple times a years or so.
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flatlander
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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2007, 01:45:47 PM »

Something else that doesn't make sense to me is what larrivee says. Fingers should supply enough
 oil, implying that some oil is good. What about members of 5 fret club, or even if you go up neck, at least for me without cutaway. theres still area's my fingers don't get on hardly at all like 4,5,6 string on up there.
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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2007, 02:44:58 PM »

I detect someone who wants to use lemon oil on their fingerboard. I'm not sure why you're asking for advice. Larrivée and most others say don't but hey ... it's your guitar. Do what ever you like.
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2007, 03:00:07 PM »

From Dan Roberts (SCGC):

"Ebony is not a particularly oily wood like some rosewoods can be. Ebony will get much more brittle if not oiled occassionally. Lemon oil has the potential of etching the lacquer if it is inadvertently gotten on the finish and LEFT but all in all it is a good choice. Even Rosewood fingerboards generally should be oiled occassionally.

We have typically used a boiled linseed oil for the first oil application due to its slight building characteristic... it gives long term protection but to keep using it will cause to much buildup so it's best for the owner to stick to a lemon oil or Dr Duck's axewax or some such formulation. Dr Ducks can be left on a finish for a long time without any etching. Lemon oil will etch but not immediately so it's still pretty safe."
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flatlander
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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2007, 09:01:19 PM »

I detect someone who wants to use lemon oil on their fingerboard. I'm not sure why you're asking for advice. Larrivée and most others say don't but hey ... it's your guitar. Do what ever you like.
If you're talking about me, I was just curious about the facts. After hearing from the other old farts that have used it for centuries, my experience and what mr roberts said (one of top guys at santa cruz), i'm pretty sure it's ok to use. I think manufacturs may not suggest it because of possible careless use and warrenty issues on finish.
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bluesman67
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« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2007, 09:27:50 PM »

After hearing from the other old farts that have used it for centuries, my experience and what mr roberts said (one of top guys at santa cruz), i'm pretty sure it's ok to use. I think manufacturs may not suggest it because of possible careless use and warrenty issues on finish.
This sounds like the most reasonable opinion that I've heard so far.
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bluesman67
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canoe65
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« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2007, 01:15:09 AM »

I detect someone who wants to use lemon oil on their fingerboard. I'm not sure why you're asking for advice. Larrivée and most others say don't but hey ... it's your guitar. Do what ever you like.

Ducktrapper,

Just as a matter of clarification ... I started this "Subject", not 'Flatlander', so you can let him off the hook.  He just seems to be going with the flow.

I'm canoe65, the guy who DID start this thread and I'm not saying I "want to use Lemon oil on my fingerboard".  Read up to the beginning.  I said I used lemon oil previously on 'rosewood' fretboards.  NOW I'm asking for opinions about using it on my Larrivée 'ebony' fretboard.

I'm not set on doing anything.  I'm just asking the gang (my friends) at the Larrivée Guitar Forum.   whistling
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« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2007, 01:32:07 AM »

We all have our opinions - but i would never oil my fingerboard more than once a year and only as little as possible with 100 percent lemon oil ( it can be hard to find ) -- I have about a 5 ounce bottle that ive had for over 35 years and its still 1/2 full.
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bluesman67
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« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2007, 12:39:13 PM »

What about using 100% Pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
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bluesman67
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« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2007, 01:43:23 PM »

What about using 100% Pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Having some experience within the food industry, I know that edible oils can go rancid if they're around too long.  Don't know if this would happen after a light application on a finger board, but something to consider.

Just trying to muddy the waters...

jimmy
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