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treader
New
Username: treader

Post Number: 3
Registered: 4-2009
Posted on Sunday, January 24, 2010 - 6:03 pm:   Edit Post

Hi,

I believe I have read that Lemon oil is the oil of choice for an Alembic neck (in my case a 4 string Elan).

However, this stuff used to be cheap before the Aromatherapy crowd started demanding the stuff. I was in Bangkok and someone had about 1 fl. oz. for sale for the equivalent of, $30.00.

I have about a 1/2 gallon of pure Teak wood oil. Which I think would be OK. I'm actually into aromatherapy a little. So, I have quite a few odd oils hanging around.

Less practical, but available. I also have pure cold-pressed Linseed oil, and extra-virgin coconut oil.

Can you give me any, suggestions? Personally, I think the Teak Oil should be really suitable. The main reason I'd use it over the Linseed is that it is much less viscous. The coconut oil is not all that viscous, but has a freezing point of around 70 degrees fahrenheit.

Thanks, Treader
mike1762
Senior Member
Username: mike1762

Post Number: 453
Registered: 1-2008
Posted on Sunday, January 24, 2010 - 6:11 pm:   Edit Post

In honor of Paul TBO, I used Olive oil on my Orion the other day.
poor_nigel
Junior
Username: poor_nigel

Post Number: 48
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Sunday, January 24, 2010 - 7:06 pm:   Edit Post

Do a search on the internet for Pure Lemon Oil and buy the cheapest 5 or 6 ounce bottle for a around $10 you can find - Like Boyajian (It is for cooking - Hey, pure is pure, right?). The bottle should last years and no go bad and does not need to be refridgerated. Cheap enough and works very well on ebony.
sonicus
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 695
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Sunday, January 24, 2010 - 8:33 pm:   Edit Post

I WOULD NOT use the teak oil. I just go to my local health food store and purchase the correct specified Lemon Oil because my Alembics deserve it and I also like the smell ! A small bottle goes a long way !
keith_h
Senior Member
Username: keith_h

Post Number: 1503
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Monday, January 25, 2010 - 9:47 am:   Edit Post

You do not want to use any oil that hardens. Absolutely do not use linseed oil. It will ruin the finger board. While I advocate lemon oil Brother Paul used to use olive oil and claimed good results (not to mention you can use it in salads :-) ).

Keith
treader
New
Username: treader

Post Number: 4
Registered: 4-2009
Posted on Monday, January 25, 2010 - 10:06 am:   Edit Post

Hi!
Thanks for all the kind and courteous responses.

Sorry, Michael, I didn't understand the significance of your answer at all, but I felt it was important - if you'd care to fill me in.

I kinda put the cart before the horse by asking the question first, and then doing the research later. As it turns out, there seem to be more luthier's recommending teak oil than any other oil. So I think that's the way I'll go - but maybe not for every instrument's neck.

As I said, being a dabbler in aromatherapy. I have a lot of oils. I have Ebony, Rosewood, and walnut necks. Teak isn't recommended for walnut. So I have to do some more research there, but I have rosewood oil, which I can use on those necks (but may use Teak) as the rosewood is very expensive. I'll use Teak on the Ebony, snd Seven Season's Lo-Cal on my Ukulele necks:-).

I would still prefer to use Lemon oil on the Alembic. Poor Nigel and Sonicus must have forgotten I live in Thailand, but it isn't just a matter of either find it at a health-food store, or send away and get something here like you can in America or UK. Shipping it a costs a lot, and mail rip-offs are high. Also the amount they charge for import taxes can be anything they figure they can get away with.

Still going to do some research. If anything really interesting comes up, I'll add to the info here.

Thanks - Treader
cozmik_cowboy
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 646
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Monday, January 25, 2010 - 11:10 am:   Edit Post

Welcome to the board, Treader. Mike was referring to Paul "the bad one (TBO)" Lindemans, a much-beloved forum member who passed away just about a year ago, and who advocated the use of olive oil on fretboards. You can find out more about him, olive oil, beer bottles, & stockings here.

Peter
adriaan
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 2403
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 1:18 am:   Edit Post

Oil treatments are prone to leave residu on the surface, so it can go sticky and over time dirt will build up.

Essential lemon oil cleans and replenishes the wood. No stickyness, less dirt. Recommended certainly for ebony, probably also for rosewood.
cozmik_cowboy
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 648
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 6:27 am:   Edit Post

Though, interestingly, C.F. Martin specifically recommends against lemon oil.

Peter
adriaan
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 2405
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 7:00 am:   Edit Post

Quote: "We do not recommend using lemon oil on our fingerboards. The acids in lemon oil break down the finish of our guitars. It may also aid the corrosion of the frets and lessen the life of the strings."

Note that we're recommending essential lemon
oil, which is not the same as regular lemon oil.

Perhaps C.F. Martin applies a finish to the fingerboard?

As long as you follow the Alembic guidelines - just a drop or two, wipe off any excess - you should be fine.

(Message edited by adriaan on January 26, 2010)
treader
New
Username: treader

Post Number: 5
Registered: 4-2009
Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 8:35 am:   Edit Post

Hi,

Since posting this the other day, I've been keeping up by reading the responses that come in, then researching the answers.

One must bear in mind that none of us are experts in every area, and even experts will not subject everything in their field to complete scrutiny. It might just be that they 'like' a thing - like lemon oil. So why investigate something you're happy with. But the Luthier's creation can outlast the luthier. So, the luthier might not see the long term effects of a product on his work.

I used lemon oil exclusively on my Ibanez Artist EQ 'Steve Miller' model I bought new in 1977. While the fretboard and inlays seemed t do well, the bindings deteriorated (and even this I can't say that was the lemon oil's fault. However, Lemon oil is a lot more corrosive than other oils available also, it works quite well as a solvent, and there's no telling what effect it's going to have on various glues it's in contact with over a period of time. However I've no run into any links that that blamed it on their fretboard delaminating, or anything else like that.

The oils most preferred (in my unscientific search of the internet) are tung oil which is Linseed oil which is Linen oil, teac oil, Teak oil, and Crisco (which will ruin both your guitar neck and your human body.

Some boil the Linseed oil before application. People don't like it because it never really dries. People like it because it never really dries. Depends what you like.

Then there is the, "What is proper for Ebony/Rosewood fretboards, isn't proper for Walnut fretboards." problem. Another problem is that some of those are varnished.

Then there are those of the persuasion that you don't need to oil your fretboard. The wood has oil in it already, so all you need to do is clean it.

Or it seems the guitar world is crying out for a custom made case with a built in sprinkler system to dose your guitar everytime you close it up.

Personally, I think I'm going to stay with a small amount of Teak oil applied 2X a year and wipe off the residue the next day. I'll fugure out what to do with my Walnut fretboards, but I think the idea here, and with necks in general is moderation is the key.

Also, Linseed oil might be good for your guitar, but it's absolutely wonderful for your body. Has lots of Omega-3's in it. Buy it in the cold-pressed version, throw spices in it, and you've got a great salad dressing, that can double as a fretboard dressing - in a pinch.

Thanks! Treader
sonicus
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 699
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 10:08 am:   Edit Post

If your concerns are regarding an ALEMBIC instrument and not ANY OTHER manufacturer this link will guide you to the CORRECT procedure for the care of your ALEMBIC instrument. PLEASE READ.
http://alembic.com/support/care.html
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 4301
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 2:01 pm:   Edit Post

Personally, I stay as far away from linseed oil as I can as I am highly allergic to it. The last time I was (unknowingly) exposed to it was when I restrung a 12 string acoustic that I had bought used. Someone had apparently used linseed oil on the fretboard and I went into anaphylactic shock. It's pure lemon oil for me. I trust Alembic knows what they are doing. By the way, previous to this thread I had never heard of teak oil before. Certainly none of the luthiers I've encountered over the years has ever recommended it. And, whatever type of oil, I wouldn't leave it soaking overnight.

Bill, tgo
hydrargyrum
Senior Member
Username: hydrargyrum

Post Number: 748
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 2:11 pm:   Edit Post

I know this discussion has occurred on the forum in the past. In fact, the name Lemon Oil is a bit misleading, as it contains a whole host of cyclic terpenes, rather than long chain aliphatic hydrocarbons, although it is true that they are both hydrophobic and miscible with one another. One of the primary constituents of lemon oil is a compound called Limonene. This chemical is commonly found in degreasers as an alternative to more strong solvents, but make no mistake, it does work to remove oils, and would tend to dissolve certain glues. I commonly encounter it in my work as a substitute for xylene in histology labs, where it serves essentially to dissolve human fat. Having said that, I doubt it would be particularly effective in removing the oil from a fretboard unless you were bathing the wood in gobs of it, but it might do things such as damage bindings (possibly, maybe, but no guarantee). If Alembic recommends it for their instruments, then I'm sure they'll stand by it. Personally, I would tend to think any light transparent oil that didn't tend to be too waxy would be fine to use as a conditioner, and that lemon oil would work better as a fretboard cleaner. This is just my humble opinion, but I think the chemistry of these compounds validates it.

"Limonene is increasingly being used as a solvent for cleaning purposes, such as the removal of oil from machine parts, as it is produced from a renewable source (citrus oil, as a byproduct of orange juice manufacture). It also serves as a paint stripper when applied to painted wood."
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 6585
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 2:15 pm:   Edit Post

There's also an FAQ on the oiling subject from a few years ago. It is the turpenes in the lemon oil we like so much. It's also relatively easy to find just about anywhere. Plus, it smells nice :-)

I know someone that delaminated the fingerboard on a Gibson guitar with MASSIVE amounts of lemon oil. I mean MASSIVE amounts. It's the only time I've ever heard of this happening.

Yeah, on plastic binding, I can imagine an interaction with lemon oil. There's probably fewer than 10 Alembics with binding, so it won't really apply to our instruments.
hydrargyrum
Senior Member
Username: hydrargyrum

Post Number: 749
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 2:47 pm:   Edit Post

I'll be darned. I always assumed that they really were oils that were being replaced (seems silly now), but it turns out they are actually heavy terpenes. Lemon oil would make good sense then.
mike1762
Senior Member
Username: mike1762

Post Number: 454
Registered: 1-2008
Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - 5:13 pm:   Edit Post

How about a finished maple neck with areas worn down to the wood (my oldest Stingray). Would it be a good idea to treat those areas???
tdukes
Intermediate Member
Username: tdukes

Post Number: 182
Registered: 4-2008
Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - 8:31 pm:   Edit Post

About oil on finished wood (ie maple) There was another thread where dfung60 (David Fung) was talking to someone who was using the oil to hide finish checking. He said the oil might make its way under the finish and cause it to lift, making the damage worse. He was talking about the finish on the body, not the fingerboard, so it may not apply.

So, it may not be a good idea. Can anyone else help me here if I am spouting nonsense?

Here is the thread. See dfung60 message 391.


Todd.
gtrguy
Advanced Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 278
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - 8:38 pm:   Edit Post

You can find pure lemon oil at Whole Foods or whatever it's called these days. WD40 sprayed on a rag and then wiped on the board works fine too, though some folks who have never tried it do not agree. I have been using it on rare guitars I have owned for over 40 years and it works fine.

Dave
dfung60
Senior Member
Username: dfung60

Post Number: 402
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Thursday, January 28, 2010 - 3:35 pm:   Edit Post

It's kind of interesting that "lemon oil" can cause so much confusion.

The reason that many places discourage it is (including the Martin citation above) is that if you go to Home Depot and buy a bottle of "lemon oil" you're buying a bottle of solvent that has some lemon oil mixed into it so it doesn't smell like kerosene. Interestingly, if you put this on the finished parts of your Alembic (e.g., not the fingerboard), then the solvents will strip dirt off the polyester varnished finish and you'll probably get a pretty nice looking instrument that smells lemony.

But if you put that lemon-scented solvent on the fingerboard, it'll strip the oils out of the bare ebony making it look worse. If you have an old school nitrocellulose varnished guitar including Martin acoustics, vintage Fender electrics, or any better Gibson electric, then you may or may not have an unpleasant chemical reaction (which you can read as "costly in collectable value and/or repair costs"), so you don't even want to go there.

hydragyrum had a really good post about limonene (you should write Material Safety sheets!). If you go to Target, you'll see that there's a lot of house cleaning products that use orange or citrus oil as a green solvent. For a long time, I figured that they were using citrus oil to cover up the bad smell of some natural solvent, but it actually is the citrus oil that's the solvent. If it's as bad-ass as xylene, then you wouldn't want to use pure limonene to clean your instrument either, but I'm sure it's in fairly low concentration in extracted oil. Just because it came from a natural source doesn't mean that it isn't insanely toxic when concentrated. If you SO had a 50 gallon drum of nail polish, it would have probably had to be delivered by a guy in a hazmat suit!

When you talk about tung oil or linseed oil, these are finishing oils for bare wood. When you put that stuff on a piece of raw maple or mahogany, it soaks into the surface, then forms polymerizing bonds as it dries. This has the effect of making the surface much harder than the natural wood, hard enough to resist light scratching and take a bit of a shine when you polish it. And if scratch it badly, then you can just apply more oil and reharden that spot.

If you apply tung oil to a finished surface like the polyester varnish on your Alembic it will just sit on the surface and get gooey. The polyester finish will be pretty much impervious to anything natural or synthetic that you put on it. So, I don't think this is going to work either.

So what do you do? For the finished areas of the instrument, I think you can treat it like a car finish - a non-abrasive chemical polish or a very fine abrasive polish will work, then you can wax is with something that feels good after you're done. I bought some stuff at a woodworking shop from a company called Livos which is a liquid which is mostly carnauba which dries hard and doesn't feel sticky. I use a German wax called Klasse on my car which would be good too and is similar to Zymol waxes. Turtle Wax feels pretty sticky on the back of a neck.

The one thing that you DON'T want to use on your bass if you can avoid it would be a car wax that contains silicone. Silicone waxes are very resistant to environment and easy to put on, but the silicone is very difficult to remove from wood if you ever need to do refinishing, causing you to have to sand everything down way into the wood to remove all traces. If you have any silicone in the wood, the finish will look blotchy and won't adhere well. Body shops hate silicone too.

For the fingerboard (oh, was that the original question?), you want to use something that will clean the wood and hopefully not remove oils or damage it.

The reason that rosewood and ebony are used for fingerboards is because the act of playing a stringed instrument will abrade the fingerboard. If you put a varnish on the fingerboard, it will get ground off over time. You can try something like the tung oil here (and some instruments do), but it's probably going to degrade really quickly once the hardened part of the surface is worn through. The smart choice is to pick a hard, oil-rich wood like rosewood or ebony and leave it raw. It will wear from contact too, but there's no surface finish to wear through - it's this hard all the way through.

Some of you probably have played modern Musicman instruments (after Ernie Ball took over, which has been a long time now). They have maple necks and fingerboards with a gunstock oil+varnish finish, much like tung oil. I have a Van Halen guitar, and the problem is that the maple fingerboard gets pretty grimy looking (a Stingray would have the same finish). I called Ernie Ball to ask what they recommend and spoke with Dudley Gimpel, the guitar designer there. He said their recommendation was to use Murphy's Oil Soap to clean the fingerboard and neck. It's gentle and pH balanced so as not to attack the wood or finish. I've done this on most fingerboards and it seems to work pretty well. The only problem is that it's not a very effective cleaner compared to powerful chemicals, so a lot of elbow grease is required on a grungy fingerboard. They didn't have any recommendation for putting anything on after cleaning it.

The other thing Gimpel said was just not to worry about it - keep it clean so it doesn't have undue abrasive wear, and don't worry if it doesn't look like it did in the store. That's probably pretty good advice too.

So, I'd think about giving this a try and see if it works for you.

David Fung
hydrargyrum
Senior Member
Username: hydrargyrum

Post Number: 753
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, January 29, 2010 - 6:09 am:   Edit Post

Thanks for the compliment David. As it turns out, a great deal of my work time is spent evaluating MSDS's. It's truly rare to find one that actually contains any real information.
cozmik_cowboy
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 649
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Friday, January 29, 2010 - 6:52 am:   Edit Post

"...they are both hydrophobic...."

Nooo! Rabid lemons!!! Run for it!

Peter
treader
New
Username: treader

Post Number: 6
Registered: 4-2009
Posted on Friday, January 29, 2010 - 10:00 am:   Edit Post

Hi,

My thanks, David, for the good info. You've thwarted me at every turn :-)

I figure my Almebic will survive if it doesn't get the Lemon Oil within the next couple weeks. I'm going to send to the US for it, as there is one Essential Oil company that stands out head-and-shoulders above the rest - Young Living Corporation. <http://www.youngliving.com>
Direct link to Lemon Oil - <http://www.youngliving.com/essential-oils/lemon> (15 ml bottle for 12.38 + S/H

It's strange in all this, and all the reading I've done lately, I've never heard 1 word about using Rosewood Oil for rosewood fredboards. Anyhow, I'm sure it's been done. But In less one of you says not to, I'm going to try it on my cheapest rosewood neck (after all I have probably 30 different essential oils, an Rosewood happens to be among them.

Direct link to Rosewood Oil - <http://www.youngliving.com/essential-oils/rosewood> (15 ml bottle for 36.28 + S/H

The following is definitely OT, and I highly recommend banning the poster - More Applications for Lemon Essential Oil

Use 12 drops of lemon essential oil to remove gum, oil, grease spots, glue or adhesive, and crayon from most surfaces.
Combine 23 drops of lemon essential oil with water in a spray bottle to help cleanse and sanitize surfaces.
Place a drop of lemon essential oil on oily skin or blemishes to help balance oil glands and minimize oil production.
Soothe corns, calluses, or bunions by rubbing lemon essential oil on the affected area morning and evening.
Massage lemon essential oil into cellulite to help improve circulation and eliminate waste from cells.
Add lemon essential oil to your morning tea or breakfast shake for a refreshing pick-me-up.
Inhale lemon essential oil or place a few drops on a cotton ball to replenish your mind, body, and spirit.
Add 1015 drops of lemon essential oil to a gallon of carpet cleaning solution to help pull out stains, brighten carpet and rugs, and leave a fresh smell in the room.
Add several drops of lemon essential oil to a chicken marinade for a delicious dinner.
Place a few drops of your favorite citrus essential oil on a cotton ball and put in the refrigerator to help eliminate odors.

Thanks, guys this is now of such a length that it seems to be becoming the definitive work on the subject. Perhaps a Nobel Prize is in the offing?

Thanks - Treader

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