Fretboard Restoration.

Discussion in 'Restoration & Repair' started by SpectacularSounds, Feb 15, 2016.

  1. SpectacularSounds

    SpectacularSounds New Member

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    Hey everyone,
    This is my first time seeking advice from any luthier community, so I'd like to start off by thanking you in advance for any help or insight you're willing to offer.

    While I certainly couldn't claim to have the skills and experience necessary to call myself a luthier, I do have a certain nack with stringed instruments that causes a curiosity into the art.

    Anyway I recently reconditioned the fretboard on an old guitar of mine. Basically just cleaned it, removed the slightest amount possible with 320 grit and smoothed it out with ultrafine steel wool.
    I decided to oil the fretboard for looks and friction reasons, which I opted for 3in1.
    Now we get to my question.
    3in1 smells like garbage, and so in the spirit of curiosity I added a small portion of vanilla and coffee extract to the oil and mixed it before I applied it to my fretboard.
    The results I've logged from this so far are:
    1)Smells phenomenal
    2)No noticeable difference.

    I was cautious to try this for obvious reasons, but I was unable to find any evidence of anyone else ever trying this.
    Does anyone have any experience with the long term consequences of this? Playability and more importantly tone have seem minimal if any negative ramifications.

    Thanks again for any advice or observations you might have.
     
  2. Chris Pile

    Chris Pile Member

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    Ye Gods, man - clean that crap off with some lemon oil. It's a natural plant oil, and will refresh and clean the wood, making it smell nice.
     
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  3. SpectacularSounds

    SpectacularSounds New Member

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    While I thank you for your input, you're missing the point entirely. I'm well aware of lemon oil and it's effects. The point is trying something different and logging the effects from that. Do you have any actual evidence based on the composition of the compound I used, or any proof that it's effects will be negative?
    Because so far you've only managed to insult my methods while providing no actual answer to my question.
    I'm aware lemon oil works great, but offering an alternative doesn't answer the question, "Do you know what will happen?"
     
  4. CatonGuitars

    CatonGuitars Member

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    Allthough I applaud you for trying new things, this was a fail. Heavy hydrocarbon Petroleum products can destroy the natural oils/wax in the wood and actually weaken linking fibers. Builders commonly use naphtha and mineral spirtits but it is used sparingly, and with a purpose in mind, like getting nasty old funk off of a fingerboard. Then the wood, especially a fingerboard or bridge, is reconditioned. Oils like that are also synthetic and contain aliphatic hydrocarbons, which are know to cause cancer. Not something I would want coming off a fingerboard and onto my hands.

    If you look up the m.s.d.s. for nearly every lemon oil or orange oil product on the market (something every manufacturer has to post by law) you will find that it contains 98% mineral oil and 2% citric essence. I found that Howards has some of the highest amounts of actual orange oils, having 60% hydrotreated heavy parraffinic (aka mineral oil ) up to 25% lemonene (an extract from lemons) and up to 15% orange oil. If you dont want any smell just use food grade mineral oil. I use Howards Feed-n-Wax. It is a mixture of orange oil and beeswax and is a fantastic wood conditioner. If you want it to seal the wood a bit i sometimes use linseed oil or opt for a paste/tree finishing wax.

    I would get that 3:1 off the fingerboard asap. Maybe saturate it in mineral spirtits and use a vacuum to try and suck it out of the wood or just saturate and wipe off about 50 or so times. Then use some beeswax or tree wax with some lemon/orange oil to recondition and get some natural oils back into the wood.
     
  5. SpectacularSounds

    SpectacularSounds New Member

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    Failure helps us grow. Thank you for taking the time to explain the effects and reasons. Your information brings up another question.

    While I wouldn't claim the sources to be credible, while researching I found around 7 separate examples that claimed Martin guitars use 3:1. Is that bogus or what would be the reasoning?
     
  6. Michael_P

    Michael_P Member

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  7. fumblefinger

    fumblefinger Member

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    +1 on the Howards Feed-n-Wax. I used the lemon oil for years, but just switched to the Feed-n-Wax. I tried it out on some mahogany end tables and was blown away by how much better they looked.

    I'd be concerned about using anything on a fretboard that could possibly rot and start that process.
     
  8. CatonGuitars

    CatonGuitars Member

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    Notice in this post that Howard Klepper Posted... "Acids? It's a petroleum distillate with lemon scent added. Doesn't come from lemons." This is exactly what I posted earlier. Most all Lemon or orange oil product do not have any actual Lemon or orange oils in them. They just have a component that makes them smell like they do. Its just mineral oil.

    If you dont know who Howard Klepper is go look him up. He is one of the best builders in the world and if lemon oil is good enough for his guitar then it is sure as hell good enough for mine.

    As for Martin not recommending lemon oil...its because in the past people sometimes, used real deal lemon oil and that stuff is NASTY. I don't think you can even buy it anymore and if you were to get a hold of some I wouldn't recommend using it for anything other than, I don't know...making batteries maybe.

    As for martin using 3in1 oil on their fingerboards you need to remember that unless you purchase a $3k plus guitar from Martin, your fingerboard and bridge will be made out of Richlite. This is a compressed paper held together with phenolic resin. Its basically a black version of the old Micarta Martin used for nuts and saddles in the passed. It doesn't need conditioning and if they are rubbing 3in1 on it, it's just to make it look shinny.
     
  9. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    So a D-15 will have a richlite board and bridge ?
     
  10. CatonGuitars

    CatonGuitars Member

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    Any model under 18 will not have an ebony fingerboard. 15's - 17's have Indian Rosewood as far as I know. Other less expensive models will have WIR or a comparible/sustainable wood or Richlite. So ya there a several models that have boards other than Richlite or eboney. I was strictly speaking about ebony looking boards when it comes to Richlite and Martins use of 3in1. Guess I should have clarified that. Im also guessing that you knew that and just wanted to make a comment.

    I dont know if Martin uses 3in1 on their boards or not but if they do, they can keep them.
     
  11. SpectacularSounds

    SpectacularSounds New Member

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    First off, wow. Thank you everyone for the wealth of free knowledge. It's impossible to find anyone within a 50 mile radius that knows enough to teach. Seriously thank you for taking the time to expand my knowledge and saving future instruments from moronic blunders!
     
  12. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    The only true moronic blunder is the one that you do not learn from .
     
  13. TKOjams

    TKOjams Well-Known Member

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  14. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    The parameter that you stated was anything under 3K will be Richlite .
    Simply not so .
    The word ebony is not in that post .
    And yes , you certainly can buy a Martin with an ebony bridge and board for less than 3K new .
    I am only striving for accuracy .
    I agree that you should have clarified that with the initial post .
     
  15. CatonGuitars

    CatonGuitars Member

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    For the love of god! I am so sorry Otterhound for misleading you! Martin has like 2 models under 3k that they use either African black-wood or ebony on and they are like $2600. I am so very sorry I didn't go to their site to double check if there was a model or 2 out of the 100 or so models that they make, that would maybe possibly contradict my Richlite statement.

    I didn't state "Ebony" but when Richlite is black I think its pretty cleat that I was speaking of Ebony looking boards... and you know that. Like I said you just wanted to comment.
     
  16. CatonGuitars

    CatonGuitars Member

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    Thanks for posting this. I had never heard that they were Suggesting 3in1. It blows my mind that they are using a product, with a carcinogen warning on the labele.

    They have told people not to use lemon oil for years and I agree with them for doing so. If you used actual lemon oil its bad stuff and as a repair shop owner I know I have a few clients that will seek out the real stuff. But I posted a few msds charts of common wood conditioning "Lemon oils" for those who are curious. It really is just mineral oil with scent added and will not harm any finish, nitro included.

    http://ilrc.ucf.edu/documents/ILRC 00000060/MSDS 00000060.pdf

    http://www.gjfood.com/pdf/msds/119_821570.pdf

    http://weiman.com/Weiman/files/c7/c7df3e75-38da-49c5-bbe8-be9beb57d6b2.pdf

    http://www.howardproducts.com/resources/msds/HOW-108_Lemon Oil Furniture Polish.pdf

    http://www.howardproducts.com/resources/msds/HOW-100_Feed-N-Wax.pdf

    https://www.hollowayhouse.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/msds-LEMON-OIL.pdf
     
  17. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    Like nitro cellulose lacquer ?
    Is there nothing in your shop that is considered a carcinogen ?
    Naptha , mineral spirits ......
    I didn't hear Dave recommend washing your hands in it , drinking it or cleaning your toothbrush with it .
    Mineral spirits is a listed VOC .
     
  18. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    There is no need to overreact .
    The typical dealer price is 40% off MSRP .
    This places much of the Martin line under $3,000.00 , even with an ebony board and bridge .
    I know what you posted .
     
  19. Duplex Dave

    Duplex Dave Active Member

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    IMO boiled linseed oil once or twice a year is all you need. (for unfinished solid wood FB's and bridges that is)
     
  20. CatonGuitars

    CatonGuitars Member

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    Fact is Martin uses a very large amount of Richlite and they set aside ebony for their more expensive models. Im so sorry, I didnt call up Martin and ask exact model pricing or ask the price point that gets you real ebony. I was simply stating that i had not heard of Martin using 3in1 and that if they are i would think its on the Richlite. You know exactly the point i was making so if you dont want me to "over react" then dont insist on being a troll.

    TKOjams contibuted a great post with a vid of Martin suggesting 3in1. It was informative and i learned something. Duplex Dave is spot on with his linseed oil comment, something i suggested earlier in the thread, Fumblefinger also likes feed-n-wax, and Michael_P suggested fiddelbrite. Thats what this forum should be for. Not for trolling people about not getting "dealer pricing" right. The only person who has not actually contributed anything at all to the topic at hand is you. You have not given one single suggetion or provided any information.

    I have plenty of things in my shop that are carcinogens and no i dont wash my hands in it or brush my teeth with it. I wear gloves or a mask when i deal with that crap. I dont wear gloves when i play my guitar. I dont want crap like that on my hands and i would bet that 99% of my clients dont either. Give some one a can of 3in1 and tell them to rub it in their skin and see how many people tell you where to stick that 3in1. Why would i even concider that crap when there are so many other, safe, tried and trued options, that other good productive members have suggested.
     
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