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Mike 24

Best Oil for Ebony Fretboards?

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Originally posted by Dr Wanker

Ebony is MORE prone to shrinking and cracking then rosewood which is a naturally oilier wood. A little light mineral oil every year or so is plenty.

 

I've heard exactly the opposite: ebony is the densest-grained fingerboard wood there is and should never need any oil at all, except perhaps to clean it if it's really grungy, otherwise leave ebony alone. And rosewood has a coarser grain than ebony, which makes it more sensitive to changes in the relative humidity, so I'd say it needs oiling occasionally.

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Ebony does tend to crack a bit. Easy fix though...just work in a little bit of ebony dust and thin CA glue. Dye the scar black if needed.

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This stuff is the real deal!!! You can purchase Hemp Oil from Bath and Beyond....it is great and is highly recommended for sore fingers as well!:wave::idea:

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Orange Glow wood furniture 2-in-1 Clean & Polish = Best thing you can treat a fingerboard with.    

Let sit for at least 5 mins to moisturize wood.  If you have a microfiber rag (or glass/electronics cleaning rag) squirt some on and feel free to do it with guitar stings on because it is essentially Fast Fret for strings and will clean them/make them glide without oxidation. This is made for un-finished furniture and perfect for Ebony or Rosewood fingerboards. Another thing to remember with Ebony fingerboards is that dabbing a little distilled water on the fingerboard between string changes will help moisturize the board and give you an indication of how dry the wood is by how quickly or not it absorbs.  Use distilled water only though - and not with strings on bc then you get the oxidization effect.  

Lemon oil can actually replace the natural oils from Ebony Fingerboards and can actually end up drying them out more in the long run.  If you have your guitars in a room you might want to get a cheap vaporizer and put it into a power strep so you can just hit the switch when you go to bed at night (would not need to be all the time but a couple times a week at least especially in climate controlled environment and in winter).  Keeping guitars in a humid environment will prevent cracking and ensure a nice tone as there is definitely a noticeable tone difference when guitars (especially acoustics) are dry.

If you get a crack or multiple cracks as ebony can do in dry environment, don't freak out, hydrate the fingerboard and in time they will not be noticeable.  Lemon oil can get in the cracks and make them worse so I highly recommend the Orange Glow instead.  Distilled water too. Guitars can become dried out and sound nasty and crack, just like cigars if not kept in humidor. But you can restore cigars by putting them in a humidor and giving it time - same is true with a guitar.

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19 hours ago, ChrisTegs said:

Keeping guitars in a humid environment will prevent cracking and ensure a nice tone as there is definitely a noticeable tone difference when guitars (especially acoustics) are dry.

Nice post - welcome to HC! 

It should be noted that an overly humid environment can potentially do as much damage to a guitar as one that is too dry. The idea is to control the humidity levels - many guitar manufacturers recommend keeping them in the 40-60% relative humidity range. A hygrometer and a case humidifier will do the trick just fine as long as you remember to check / refill the humidifier once a week or so, and both are highly recommended - especially for acoustic guitars. 

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I recently brought back to life a 50 year old Osange Orange Longbow that may have been too brittle to string and shoot.  I asked about oils and the conclusion is that Linseed oil is good for softening and preserving but would reduce poundage (spring), Danish oil, which contains Tung oil which is far superior.  As we are not talking about bendy longbows but musical fretboards, just watch out you don't make them 'soft' as your fingers will wear away the pads between the frets.  Use too much of a softening oil, and you may get a deadening acoustic effect, as I think the fretboard also absorbs/resonates frequencies when you play. Use any oil very sparingly and wipe off all excess.

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Posted (edited)

😶 damn...! So basically people just do whatever they want! Or whatever has (unscientifically) worked for them...okay I can do that!

Looking through this whole thread, I'm getting the impression that taking care of a fretboard is perhaps less finicky and/or less important than I had thought.

Personally I've used linseed oil.....very sparingly, and only once every few years when I notice that the fretboard is looking a bit 'faded'.

Why linseed oil? Because,I have some in the garage! (I think I may have some tung oil around somewhere too..).

I'll add the disclaimers that...

1) I'm not super-duper paranoid about my guitars

2) I'm happy to change if I hear a consensus (that makes sense to me 😛and isn't too complicated /expensive).

3) I'm still pretty much a guitar noob....Ibought my first maybe ten years ago. (So in not encouraging anyone to copy me).

Edited by Brindleleaf

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7 hours ago, Brindleleaf said:

😶 damn...! So basically people just do whatever they want! Or whatever has (unscientifically) worked for them...okay I can do that!

Looking through this whole thread, I'm getting the impression that taking care of a fretboard is perhaps less finicky and/or less important than I had thought.

Personally I've used linseed oil.....very sparingly, and only once every few years when I notice that the fretboard is looking a bit 'faded'.

Why linseed oil? Because,I have some in the garage! (I think I may have some tung oil around somewhere too..).

I'll add the disclaimers that...

1) I'm not super-duper paranoid about my guitars

2) I'm happy to change if I hear a consensus (that makes sense to me 😛and isn't too complicated /expensive).

3) I'm still pretty much a guitar noob....Ibought my first maybe ten years ago. (So in not encouraging anyone to copy me).

egads!  i think youve figured these poasters out!    welcome to the boards!    theres some here that really know their shtuff...  you got this!   have fun! 

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I have a few guitars with ebony and  every once in a a while, when changing strings spray the fretboard down with guitar polish or Pledge.

I wipe it all off.

Might have some lemon oil in , I have no idea.

Cleans of sweaty grit too, where your arm might lay.

 

 

I have fancy guitar polish.

 

 

 

 

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