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stewmac fretboard oil


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I've used it but it was on an old neck. It's good but I think a raw linseed oil would be just as good and wouldn't have the polymers in it. I didn't sand or do anything more that give it a light buff with a rag. It gave the board a nice feel but no noticable difference in looks.

On the other hand I love it as an oil finish for necks and bodies in place of tung oil. It has a darker "stain" to it than tung oil and brings out the figure in flamed/quilted wood. It's not as polymerized as some tung oils so it's harder to build up anything very glossy but can be done. Here is a picture of some raw redwood with a few coats of fretboard oil on it.


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i would suspect that stuff is just glorified, or a mix of over priced, (double) boiled linseed oil... but i've always had to wait a month for the real thing to dry properly... they probably just put in some sort of catalyst to speed up drying time then cut the bottle size in 1/8 and doubled the price.

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Yeah Dave, that is my fretboard finisher of choice, I've used it for years on every neck of mine that needs it.

Let me explain a bit. Lemon oil is usually just mineral spirits with lemon scent. That stuff just dries up and evaporates leaving you nothing at all except possibly a cleaner 'board since the mineral spirits probably did clean any finger oils off.

The Stew-Mac stuff is a film-building finish, just like shellac, lacquer, poly, all that stuff.

But it is thinned and applied so thinly that one wouldn't normally notice one has any finish buildup on it, but it does 'seal' the wood just like any other finish would. But very very very thinly.

I have A/B'ed it with Tru-Oil, which is a polymerized Tung Oil finish (it has hardeners added to it to make it dry faster and harder than regular tung oil or linseed oil) and it is a very similar product to Tru-Oil. If you read any posts about guys who use Tru-Oil to finish their guitars, you'll read that it takes them, like, 25-35 coats to get any kind of good build-up of buffable finish going for them, so you can see how thin this stuff is.

So, since it is a film-finish kind of product, what I do is after 24 hours, I buff the 'board with my dremel tool with the white buffing wheel attached. It buffs the oil and makes the 'board lightening fast and smooth...I LOVE the feel! I go at a very brisk pace with the buffing wheel, not stopping on any spot.

After I do that, I use the red compound that comes with the dremel tool and buff the frets with that. They will shine like hot gold and be smoother and faster than you could imagine.

Hope that helps a bit with your decision. PS, you 'can' just apply it and wipe it off and leave it like that, but I've found my way enhances the product even more.

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Thank you very much Drak. You always provide great help and I really appreciate it.

I played around with it last night and it really impressed me. I had a scrap ebony board which had some brown in it. It also had an inlay in it that I didn't like the outcome of. I buffed part of it with micromesh and left the rest at 400 grit. I applied two coats (does that even make sense?) and let it dry a while. I buffed all of it with micromesh and it looks awesome! Most of the brown is gone (only the area where there was nothing buy brown remained). Super shiny, slick, professional feel,... It really showcases the board nicely.

I was wondering if it makes sense to put multiple coats on (I know you mentioned how thin it is)?

One other issue I'd like to get your opinion on:

The inlay I was talking about had too much filler. When I micromeshed it the filler stuck out like a sore thumb. I also noticed that any amount of filler not matter how small showed after micromeshing it. My plan is on my next board to leave the wood sanded at 400 before oiling it with this stuff. The cutoff for making the filler visible seems to be close to 400/600 grit. Then micromesh the oil after hardening and get a good shine that way. The idea being that I won't highlight the filler that way. It won't look as shiny as it possibly could but it should look real nice though. Does this sound like a valid idea? If not, what would you recommend?

thanks again,


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