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Fingerboard care from Roger Sadowsky...

allan grossman

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From: Roger Sadowsky

Date: Fri, 28 Feb 97 08:57:35 -0000

Subject: Re: The Bottom Line V1997 #101



Ah, the old fingerboard oil discussion again! I should probably just

save this posting as a file to reuse whenever necessary.


Here in the shop I clean fingerboards (except maple) with 0000 steel

wool. I do not recommend you do this at home as you will contaminate

your pickups with steel wool dust. Now don't laugh at this, but the best

fingerboard cleaner I have found (especially for cleaning built up skin

cell grunge) is the aerosol Windex (the spray can, not the pump). Cover

the body and the headstock with an old rag or towel and spray the

fingerboard with the aerosol Windex (it comes out as a white foam). Let

it sit for a few seconds and then scrub the fingerboard with an old

toothbrush until all the old grunge lifts. Then wipe down the entire

fingerboard with paper towels until it is clean and dry. You can safely

do this with rosewood, ebony and lacquered maple fingerboards.


Follow up the Windex with a coat of boiled linseed oil on the rosewood or

ebony boards. Wipe it on to coat the entire board and then wipe all the

excess right off. The lacquered maple boards could use a once over with

Martin guitar polish after the Windex.


You might have better luck finding the aerosol Windex at hardware stores

or office supply stores than at the supermarket.


Roger Sadowsky



Sadowsky Guitars Ltd.

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From: Roger Sadowsky

Date: Sat, 10 Feb 1996 08:30:28 -0500 (EST)

Subject: Re: oiling fingerboards





The issue of adjusting the truss rod when oiling a fingeboard is not an

issue. The issue is what kind of oil you are using and how long you

are "soaking". I recommend linseed oil and DO NOT recommend soaking.

Just cover the entire fingerboard with enough oil to just "wet" the

board, let it stand no more than 5 minutes, and wipe off all the excess

with a dry paper towel. If you want to let it "air dry" overnight

before you restring--that's OK--but don't "wet-soak" the board for long

periods of time.


Oils that are sold for wood finishing like tung oil preparations get

too gummy feeling in my opinion. I have always found lemon oil (as in

Old English) to make boards dry out faster than if left alone. After

24 years of this, I still like linseed oil the best.


Roger Sadowsky


Sadowsky Guitars Ltd.



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