Oil for guitar fingerboards?

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There's been a friendly debate going on in alt.guitar.bass about what sort of treatment is best for guitar fingerboards, many of which are rosewood. I've heard lemon oil (which I know is just "flavored" mineral oil) can actually cause drying out (which I don't understand), and a host of other theories. I'm interested in opinions from this crowd. The goal is to apply something that'll remove normal hand dirt, and then leave the fingerboard somewhat moisturized, but not VERY oily.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

what about Fingerboard Oil? There are a number of mentions online.
Dave
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Probably, but I'd find it hard to believe that there isn't a more commonly available product used by woodworkers who make furniture or little wooden jewelry boxes. By "commonly available", I mean something in the category of tung oil or other things you can find at Home Depot, or a woodworking specialty store. (I like to avoid ordering things online when the shipping cost exceeds the value of the product involved).
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I don't claim to be that great at woodworking or guitar playing, but I do both (neither one professionally). Because I do both I love guitars not only for their musical value, but as highly refined and functional woodworking pieces (I'm talking about real guitars, not the junk that gets spit off the Asian assembly lines at a rate of a couple thousand per day). Most well made guitars I've seen don't have any sort of finish on the fingerboard. They say that fine instruments only get better with use. And hand oil--not hand dirt--is, in my opinion, one of the reasons for this. If you pick up a guitar that has been used a lot for a long time, it has a feel that cannot be achieved through any process other than having fingers with their natural oils dancing up and down the fret board. It's a natural process like the smoothing of river rocks tumbling in a stream. This natural oiling process can also give some indication as to the players style. Look closely at the patterns on the finger board and you'll get some idea of where he chooses to do most of his playing. Does he stay mostly in the first position using mostly open chords or does he do a lot of soloing in the mid to high range. To me this is all part of the guitar's character and story. And if it's a fine instrument that is worth handing down to future generations, those generations should not be deprived of the story.
The only oil that get's put on the necks of my guitars is hand oil. That is, clean hand oil- not hand oil mixed with hand dirt.
For those reading that are not interested in guitars, think of an old wooden plane or the wood handles of your favorite hand tools. My uncle has some that have decades of hand oil deposits. You can't get the same feel from any comercially available finish or oil. To me it's a desirable feel that would be ruined if you tried to monkey around with it.
If there's already dirt on the finger board, I would use a rag lightly dampened with water to rub it off. The water will loosen the dirt, but won't disolve the hand oil. After the dirt is removed apply additional layers of hand oil finish by playing at every possible occasion.
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Agree with completely. Rosewood and ebony, which is what most fingerboards are made of, do no need any 'moisterizing'. If you have a fingerboard cracking or splitting because it's too dry, then it must be from the last millenia (time to call a museam). Also Keep in mind any oil you add to the fingerboard will also transfer to the the strings, and oil on the strings (especially the bass E, A, D) is not a good combination.
No oil, just TLC.
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wrote:

What, 5 years ago you mean?

That's the point I was going to make. Every time I've tried to put any kind of treatment on a fretboard or the strings, it tends to make the strings go "dead" not long afterwards.

I tend to agree. Wipe it clean with a clean, dry cloth from time to time, and you'll be fine.
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Take a look at these old Usenet threads via google: http://groups-beta.google.com/groups?q=%22harvey 's%20guitar%20honey%22 &hl=en&lr=&safe=off&sa=N&tab=wg
I've been using Harvey's Guitar Honey (the same bottle in fact) on all my guitars since about 1988. I don't think he's making it any more, but these threads include a lot of other suggestions from guitarists.
-kiwanda
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What makes you think that?
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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wrote:

The ingredients on the container sitting right in front of me. Weiman Natural Mineral Oil. If others are closer to pure lemon oil, I didn't find any available around here.
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Then you have lemon-flavored mineral oil. You don't have lemon oil.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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wrote:

OK...let's back up. In my original message, what did you really think I meant when I said: "I've heard lemon oil (which I know is just "flavored" mineral oil)" ???
How did you interpret that?
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Well, I'm not Doug, but I interpreted it as equivalent of "The substance commercially sold as 'lemon oil' is actually just lemon-flavored mineral oil". Not sure if that's what you meant, but that's what I read it as. Sounded like you were making a global statement about all things sold as "lemon oil".
Dave Hinz
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You're correct about my meaning. As far as "global", no. I was only commenting on the 3 products I ran across in stores, which included the one I finally bought.
Miller probably thought I meant that lemon oil, when first extracted from lemons, contained mineral oil. Miller's funny that way.
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OK, so what you said wasn't what you meant. Got it.

What's "funny", is that even though someone else has now agreed that your wording isn't what you meant, you blame your failure to write clearly on Doug.
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There have to be some assumptions made in any discussion, or it would take years to discuss most anything. I assume that most people who mentioned lemon oil in this thread were referring to modified products sold in stores, not pure, unadulterated lemon oil. Further, it would be just plain stupid to think that a lemon contained petroleum distillates.
"I was driving down the road and the car stalled".
"What did you do with the elephant?"
"What elephant?"
"The one riding on top of your car".
"What??? That's ridiculous".
"Well, you didn't explicitly say there was NOT an elephant on top of your car".
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So it _is_ a global statement. You are saying that the substance sold for wood treatment, called "lemon oil", is in fact not oil of lemon, but is in fact lemon-flavored mineral oil. Yes?
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No, it's related to the products I found. I haven't found pure lemon oil. And, ****IN MY OPINION***, I think others in this discussion were also referring to typical products found in grocery stores, Home Depot, woodworking stores, etc.
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Google knows a bunch of sources... a search string of: "pure lemon oil" guitar
- shows a bunch of 'em.
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I believe it, but it always feels wrong to me to pay almost as much for shipping as the product itself, unless it's something that either unique or essential.
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Once again you miss the point.
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