About 4 times a year a double bass will come in for repair or restoration.

Yesterday a customer brought in a double bass for a new bridge/ nut and some minor repair.

He mentioned the bass also had a small crack which he hoped I could take a look at. The small crack turned out to be a significant centerseam split (and around the top and back there were several open seams)

Here's where the fun starts.. The customers turns to me and says "don't know how this could have happened, I took real care to condition the bass with olive oil a few times a year"

(And I'm not talking bout a subtle bit of oil on the fingerboard.. He smeared olive oil all over the top, back and sides. You can literally fry an egg on this thing :) )

To keep the cracks/splits from "drying out". He rubbed olive oil in all the cracks, including the centerseam split.

After explaining what this means for my chances of fixing the bass, I told the customer I sleep over it to see if I could come up with any ideas to clean off the olive oil and glue the cracks/ splits and open seams as best as I can.

Anybody with (out of the box) ideas or suggestions to clean out the olive oil?

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Jelle, add me also to the happy list. It WAS an interesting thread though... 

I have seen a product called fish eye remover used in furniture refinishing. Many spray furniture polishes have silicone in them which gets in the pours of the wood and prevents the new finish from adhering to the surface causing a "fish eye" bubble.

It might draw out the olive oil.


Thanks Robert, I'll add that one to the list of possible solutions as well!

Had this Taylor in recently. The owners friend thought he would thank him for loaning it to him by giving it a good auto paste wax treatment. That's the paste wax coming through the top crack it had. Lots of Naptha and lots of cleats

Check this out thoroughly first.  I've heard that "fish-eye remover" is actually silicone.  Supposedly it works like "hair of the dog".  Not a good solution for additional refinishing.  Anyone else who can add to this?


Fish-eye Eliminator is not silicone - otherwize it would be fish eye inducer.  

The General MSDS for Fisheye Eliminator shows it to be a Ketone (Methyl n-amyl ketone for one specific).  Acetone for instance is a Ketone,which as many will recognise is also a basic lacquer thinner for nitro and other related stuff.

It is an industrial solvent and comes in many derivations such as Butanone (MEK) which is a basic lacquer retarder (Retarder) that we know as a melt-in agent for nitro and as it turns out also forms the basis for  Fish-eye Eliminator.

I wouldn't use it to draw out olive oil as its action on the surrounding finish will be significant.  

Naptha, or Freon (if you can get it and wish to destroy the Ozone layer) will all work with repeat applications and as the glue action takes place in the surface layers of the wood it doesn't seem to be too difficult an ask to get enough depth of cleaning to allow the glue to do its job.  

Any paste applied to the area presents the problem of having to then remove the residual paste to obtain a clean gluing surface which in the case of a center seam crack is problematical. Flushed Naptha would be my choice.

Also, water based glue such as Titebond won't mix with any residual olive oil.


Thanks for that Rusty.  It's amazing the misinformation that gets distributed in the inter web.

Perhaps the solution is an olive oil based glue?

Try "grease and wax remover" its used before spraying cars , and I use it on guitars too , its ok with nitro and probably shellac , its cheap and effective and its at the auto shop .

Ok, thanks Len!

Hi Len and Jelle,

you have to be very careful about which brand of grease and wax remover you chose - the serious spray painting stuff is mainly acetone (attached spec) based and will eat a nitro finish.  

The naptha/white spirits based stuff is OK but unless you are a chemist you are going to find out by experience, which may not be good.


Hello Russell, 

Thanks for the warning/awareness! This is an old post (and the double bass in question, is long gone). So all the incoming suggestions/ solutions would solely be for future reference (then again, it's mighty handy to know up front which one's to avoid,  or at least be aware of the possible danger/side effects)


Did a little research, Rusty, and found that some fish-eye reducers actually contain Dimethylpolysiloxanes, commonly referred to as silicone polymers.   I checked out MSDS data sheets on a number of products and found several with silicone.  So I guess it's "buyer beware". 


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