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Discussion in 'The Custom Shop' started by Alex, Mar 12, 2008.
I use sesame oil. It brings up the wood nicely but smells a bit like Chinese food for a few days.
don't do that man. it will turn rancid after time destroying the wood
Just FYI, WD Music sells Fret Doctor in the UK.
I've never seen Fret Dr. in guitar shops. Where do they sell it?
Only from the website as far as I know
Bore Oil for the Fife and Fret Doctor
FYI, here's a link to his site so you don't have to search for it:
Bore Oil for the Fife and Fret Doctor
ive been using Ernie Ball's Wonder Wipes. I know a few distributers are discontinuing that though..not sure why, its a GREAT product!
use gfs fast fret
I want some!!
My board is getting a little dry and the FretDr seems a better option than lemon oil alone.
Just ordered it!
All of this discussion about oiling wood is interesting. However, I have been involved in the restoring of antiques for many years and no museum in the world would ever put any kind of oil on a valuable piece of furniture, even one that is two-hundred years old. Wood contains almost no oil in it's natural state. Adding oil that does not dry, such as Fret Doctor, seeps deeper and deeper into the wood eventually turning it into mush. Antique furniture that originally had a finish, usually some type of varnish, is only cared for by museums with paste wax made of carnauba and bee's wax. Unfinished woods are left along. I have seen ancient Egyptian furniture made of unfinished wood that looks like the day it was made. It was never touched with oil in over three-thousand years. One reason for oiling a fretboard might be to add some lubrication. But your hands have all of the oil on them that is ever needed to accomplish this. Clean your fretboards with naptha or lighter fluid (the same thing) maybe once a year and then very, very lightly apply a very small amount of lemon oil or mineral oil if you really need to make the wood look pretty. But wipe it off immediately. Never let it soak in. My opinion: Fret Doctor is a hoax. But please understand, it is only my opinion. Also, be aware that most "lemon oil" is only mineral oil with a lemon scent. One more thing. Never use boiled linseed oil. It drys hard. It is a varnish. You will ruin your fretboard if you use any drying oil such as linseed or tung oil.
I did my nephews guitar with Fret Dr. His neck was really gummed up badly.
I left the FD on for a few hours, and wiped it down. Its was amazing!
Youd never know it was the same neck. I like the Bergamot scent as well. lol
Fret Doctor is just amazing
Edselman,Thanks makes allot of sense to me ,thats basically
How i treat my fretboard and its amazing enough for me!
Fret doctor came during the week. Cleaned the board/frets with some 0000 steel wool and treated it with the Fret Doctor. Also sanded the nut slots with 600/1600/2000 grit paper.
Thanks for the tips and advice, guys.
Was reading this thread (yeah I know, its old) and just thought I would mention a couple of things I have learned over time. With 'any' oil product, no matter how exotic...be careful not to apply too much at a time.
I see images here that show a FB with product floating on the surface and others suggesting to leave oil on the fretboard over night. Dont do that cause its risky business if your wanting to keep things all tipper down the track. When you look at the surface of a fretboard and see all that pretty grain, that is what the wood looks like all the way through. It a series of long, fine 'strands' all bonded together with lignin, and when you wipe them with oil, they will darken and look great and even the pores in the wood will get a little smaller as the stands of wood swell up a little around them.
But what do you think is going on down there in the fret slot?...If you could take a 'close' look down there, you would discover that all those beautiful 'stands' that make up wood are actually a series of tiny tubes. When the builder cuts the fret slots, they sever those tiny tubes and expose 'endgrain' each side of the slot.
Now have you ever painted anything made of wood?? Remember how the endgrain seemed to suck up paint forever on the first coat, but the rest of the project sealed up quick and easy? Or how about staining wood? Have you notice how unless its sealed first, the endgrain goes 'really' dark as soon as the stain gets anywhere near it, too dark and it stays that way, where as the surface wood can take maybe 3 or 4 applications and will still be nowhere near as dark? Well that's because all that endgrain is a lot like a whole stack of thin, long drinking straws bunched up and glued together side by side. When the open ends of those straws come in contact with 'any' liquid, they draw it deep 'into' the wood via capillary action.
Now when that happens down in the slots of a fretboard, it does not really matter if the oil will going rancid or not. That wont rot the wood because the PH of most wood does not support bacterial growth which can only happen if the wood is always wet. If you want proof of that just ask an old butcher who used the same chopping block his whole career, no bacteria, no fungus just as long as the block has water dried out each day they are just not an issue and its the same for a fretboard. The real problem is that as the wood sucks up excess oil, it expands and softens the endgrain so it becomes compress hard around the fret tang. The tang is the bit of the fret holding it in the slot.
Now that in itself may not sound like such a big deal 'but' a few things have now happen. First, and probably the least common, the fret itself may have been squeezed 'up' in the slot from all this compression. Its like a hydraulic action that can result in a high fret or two. Not a problem you say, just hammer them suckers back down...well yes, that 'may' work OK 'but', because the wood in the slot has now been compressed, it will never have quite the same hold on the fret tang that it once had so don't count on it staying where you want it to.
What is worse, and more common, is that sooner or later, someone who is unaware of these old tricks for new players is going to recommend a fret levelling to sort out the problems, and when they go to do the job, their inexperience can often see them decking all the frets only to find that the high frets seem to keep coming back. This can happen because a fret that has been 'forced' up has most likely damaged the wood in its slot. This means that the fret can now be forced back down again just by the action of the sanding block.
So the guy checks the frets and identify the high ones without seeing the crown has lifted a little (easy to miss if your assumptions have you not even looking for it), he marks off, and start sanding. But as soon as the weight of the leveller hits the top of the high frets, the little buggers duck back down into their slots and only get sanded to the same height as all the good frets that have not lifted. Then your guy lifts the leveller up off the board, and those high frets either bounce back up to leave him scratching his head, and then grinding away again at all your good frets for nothing, or they wait until the guitar is strung and had a final set-up and 'then' they will pop up to cause a buzz or dead note and then a punch up as the blame game starts.
Oil saturation really can be an issue even if none of the above happens because as all that excess oil that was sucked up by the endgrain finally dries out, the wood remains compressed from being squeezed up so hard against the metal fret tang but it shrinks back to leave 'all' of the frets looser than they had been and sooner or latter that is likely to affect the playability of the instrument and tone unless you lie playing with a 'lot' of relieve and high action.
Eventually, when you take the guitar to a guy like me to fix it properly, I am going to have a bitch of a time removing the frets without damaging the wood around the slot because either the crushed wood has been re-saturated with oil so that it pulls out with the fret like a mush, or the oil has dried out in it so that it just crumbles away. Yes there are ways to fix this or I could just pull the board and fit a new one, but, it aint gonna be cheap because my time is going to be your money.
Bottom line here is 'don't' flood or soak the freak'in fretboard with 'anything'. My advice is to clean the board about once every year..or two..with plain naphtha. You can then use your oils (lemon oil is OK but whatever turns you as long as it has no silicon) very sparingly..just a small bit of cotton cloth, 2" x 2" is plenty, put the oil on the cloth and work it in so its spread through, and then, work the oil into the wood avoiding too much pressure at the side of the frets. If you hold your bit of 2 x 2 cloth and squeeze it real hard between your finger tips, and you can see any oil wanting to push out of the cloth, then you are using too much oil
Dont forget, wood, even so called oily woods such as cocobolo and bocoate etc dont actually have very much oil in them at all. When woodworkers say a wood is oily it is in reference to the waxiness which blocks abrasive paper, prevents glue from penetrating at a molecular level and burns to leave residue build up on a hot pipe during bending. Also, you cant actually feed wood. Wood is dead and its been dead since not that long after the yobbo with the chainsaw sat on his arse and lit his fag to watch it come crashing to the ground in the forest. But wood can become overly dry, that is to say that should the relative humidity of ambiance be lower than the moisture content of the wood, (aircon and very low temps are the problem here) moisture, (H2o not oil) that is normally locked within the cells of the wood, can be drawn out and this 'will' cause shrinkage resulting in neck movement, fret ends becoming exposed, bindings being pushed away to form gaps, and cracking of the FB wood itself. So the enemy is lost of moisture as in water
not loss of oil and the best way to deal with that is to be mindful low humidity and its affects and don't over expose your guitar to such conditions. Mid you, a day or so in low RH is no big deal, but if it goes to weeks, then something's just got to give.
Ah Haaa! you say but oil will help lock in moisture and reducing the affects of low RH!!
sort of..but at what cost?? My preference is to avoid all oils and use a simple clear silicon free paste wax. Just wipe it on 'sparingly', allow to dry for a bit, and buff it off to a rich lustrous sheen that is even more affect at buffering the exchange of moisture and does not soften the wood to make it more susceptible to string wear like oil does. In fact guitar strings slide beautifully across a freshly waxed board and the look.....bloody beuooowdifull
Just another tip. Removing one string at a time to restring a guitar is NOT an internet myth. Sure if you have a stoptail or working on an acoustic, then just cut them all off and go for it. You can leave a guitar like that for years and it makes no real difference to the neck, in fact if your storing a guitar for a long time you should get the tension off the strings and truss rod so the stress is gone and the wood in the neck can relax. But if you have a knife edge and post style trem such as a Floyd or Steinie or any of the many clones that have clamp bars up on the nut, you will find urself ferking about for ages trying to balance out the spring tension to string tension as you attempt to bring the bugger back in tune.
With these type of bridges doing just one string at a time is the only way to go as it allows you to keep the counter spring balance at the floating bridge set right where it is saving heaps and heaps of hassles....DAMHIKT
Great post, thanks for sharing. I love Fret Doctor, but I'm also going to give the paste wax method you recommend a try. Is there a particular brand or type of wax you recommend?
I'm a big fan of Fret Doctor. I apply it with a Q tip and just sit back and watch it get sucked into the wood.
I am in Australia so brand products won't mean much. Just look for any silicon free furniture wax and you will be fine...FWIW I use a product called "Gilly Stephenson's, Old Fashioned Furniture Polish", but I believe from other fori interaction that the USA has a brand called "Butchers" which is a good clear silicon free paste wax. Just apply lightly and allow to dry a few minutes and then buff off with a soft clean cloth...really affective, it looks great and outlast any of the oil products.
I found this thread after a discussion with a guitar vendor. My question was concerning the two identical same brand guitars having so diverse fingerboards. Said immediately other having waxy feeling, what do they apply on them these days. The variety of guitars seemed to have 3 types of fingerboards, used to be 2 I memorized. It had been a decade and scraps, since I had a guitar before bought one 18 months ago. I sit in a wheelchair and my outer, the ulnar, fingers are senseless or rather insensitive as having pain on them. So the waxy one immediately felt repulsive, can't quite control the stress accent or finger pressure on strings. What happened was occasional unwanted bends. So I may have rapid enough fingers, but only on natural wooden surface leaving me some kind of perception, a touch, beneath them. It took a while finding out it wasn't the intonation.
I would expect those silky slick wax fingerboards were the choice for many, unfortunately not me. The only thing I'd think of would be the preference of the guitarist whilst playing, but I don't have vintage guitars any more. The vendor had good knowledge concerning the matter, even a wax compound might have been used. This thread gave me more detailed information making my choice for now on, rarely slight lemon oil.