To Oil or Not to Oil?

I have an Ibanez 655E bass, the usual oiled wood finish (at least it looks like oil finish). Ibanez says in their maintenance manual -

You can prevent drying by polishing once or twice a year with a colorless furniture finish oil or gun oil applied to #0000 steel wool or a cloth.

I bought a small bottle of teak oil and applied to to a small spot on the back and it looks a bit shinier than I would like after one day. Not sure if it will soak in to the wood or just stay on top and look shiny forever. Has anybody else tried oil on this type of bass finish?

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I’ve got an Ibanez SR650 and I use Howard Feed-n-Wax on it or buffing oil.
With either I apply a thin coat, walk away for at least 30 minutes and then wipe off the excess. The Howards leaves a less shiny finish.
The only thing I would say about using wire wool is that it can leave tiny threads of wire in the finish. I prefer using Scotch- Brite pads.

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I use Boos cutting board oil on my necks. It soaks nicely into the wood, leaves a nice finish, and keeps it from drying out.
(I’ve been using it for years on all my cutting boards in the kitchen)

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This is also Pinocchio’s daily routine

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Woww that sounds like a scary mess. I always uses a cloth to apply oil, FWIW.

I’m guessing it’ll keep soaking in, the only finish I’d imagine won’t absorb oil over time is a high gloss paint job.

I oil my Peavey Cirrus (which looks like a similar finish) as regularly as I can be bothered, it always appreciates the attention. I use lemon oil (mineral oil) rather than teak, I think it’s a little less thick? Don’t take my word for it though, I moonlight as a bass maintenance noob.

Has it soaked in more yet?

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I wouldn’t use steel wool. After all it is a very fine “sandpaper”. Not that the instruction is wrong but putting a thin layer of teak oil, or lemon oil with a clean cloth (but don’t mixing oils) and wiping off the excess after a couple of hours is better. I’m not a luthier but I work a lot with wood and it is mainly about not letting the wood dry too much and cleaning it. You can even clean the wood first with alcohol which evaporates fast and doesn’t harm other finished. But pour either one on a cloth and not directly.

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I just used a cloth to apply a small amount of the teak oil to first the body, and later the fret board. It worked great. I really have no idea why I would ever want to use steel wool on my bass. If I ever thought it needed abrasion, I would use a plastic scrubber. Then there would not be steel hairs in every nook and cranny, with some of them stuck to the magnetic pickups.

A few YouTube Videos (Not BassBuzz) said I should use steel wool on the frets for reasons I cannot comprehend. Do I really want the frets to shine?

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I polished the frets on the Warwick because as they are made from bell brass they tarnish and look awful.
My other basses get a clean well when I oil the fretboard but not really a polish.

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I use these for frets:

Work amazingly well, super easy, no mess, and won’t bung up your fretboard. Do a good job too:

image

I would bet that a ladies’ ultrafine nail buffer would work fine too.

I’d just oiled the fretboard as well, I always just use a rag. I oil mine every string change.

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The grain on the fretboard is outstanding!
Wish I had seen those file things too. I bought fretwire rubbers off of eBay and they aren’t cheap

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Thanks! Yeah I am really, really happy with the SBV.

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I just made maintenance to a friend’s guitar that had been stored for many years. The frets were in bad shape. 0000 steel wool was a good way to remove what regular metal cleaner couldn’t. And it is so fine that it really doesn’t remove metal.
As far as shiny or mate I would say from a jeweler’s point of view, why polish something that you are going to be rubbing against another metal.
What I did to the wood is exactly what we mentioned before.
Cheers!


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@franx I use small fret board protectors made from steel. No need to tape off the fret board. I can do a whole fret board in minutes. You can buy them all over the place.

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@Barney Thank you! I should get one. I can think of many uses besides frets. I don’t usually do this but it sounded like fun. I could take as much time as I wanted. Thanks for the suggestion.

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Just bought a set off of eBay @Barney :+1:
I’m blaming you if my wife asks :joy:

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I have these fret guards but do not like the FRINE polish.
It’s messy and does not work as well as Gorgomyte cloths do.

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Just make sure to sand those protectors a bit before you use them. You can damage your whole fretboard like i did.

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I was going to mention that too. Same thing almost happened to me. Chucked them after that.

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The #0000 steel wool is recommended for getting really bad grime off the fretboard, going with the grain. I just did it on my Carvin a couple of weeks back and it worked like a dream.

I then used the Dunlop fingerboard cleaner & prep and deep conditioner on it. Really good stuff.

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Gotta be really careful with Steel Wool.

Gets everywhere when you use it. Make sure to tape over the pickups if you use it.

I basically hate steel wool. The worst is when it catches on fire (don’t ask). Then you have little red-hot oxidized metal bits going everywhere and burning through things. That would take talent to pull off with a fretboard though :slight_smile:

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