To oil or not to oil…

… That is the question.

We hear a lot about the use of lemon oil on finger boards with the two camps firmly entrenched with their opposing views of “it does no harm” and “avoid like the plague”.

Even our luthiers have differing views; but they make sense when you realise you are dealing with very different woods.
If, for example, you are the proud owner of a Catherwood Guitar you’ll know that master luthier John uses lemon oil on his finger boards. This is because he uses more unusual native Irish woods that are more open grained than ebony. Even then, he recommends using it sparingly and you must ensure all the excess is wiped off to avoid damaging the frets and fret markers.

Maurice Dupont takes the opposite view, even with his rosewood finger boards, and recommends avoiding lemon oil. He selects extremely close grained ebony for his finger boards and recommends you wipe it down after every use to keep yours in good condition. The same advice is applied to his rosewood finger boards; but, being slightly more open grained, they might need a very occasional oiling – once or twice a year maximum – with linseed or very good quality olive oil. Again, be sure to wipe off all the excess.