Hobbyist here, non professional.

Can anyone chime in on the use of linseed oil on fingerboards?  I was watching a few different YouTube videos and a few guys would rub down the cleaned fingerboards with it.  Another would rub it on scuffs and surface wounds on the body.

I grabbed an old neck out of my cadaver corner 2 days ago and cleaned it up and then applied a coat on the FB and a few surface scuffs on the neck.  Looks good  2 days later, but what's the long term effect on fingerboards and finishes?  What about on guitar bodies? 

What potential issues would a future repairperson have to deal with coming across this on a future repair?

My first thoughts were cautious, because I haven't seen any references to this procedure on this forum.

So it's time to ask.


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Boiled linseed oil improves the tone, but has to be applied with a silk cloth. ;-)

Thanks everyone your insights on linseed oil and your other options.  Especially the safety information on dealing with used rags.

I think I'll explore the mineral oil option.  Then maybe try some others mentioned. 

Luckily I have been laying the few used rags out on my chain link fence to dry out mostly because of the smell.  When dried out I put them in the trash cans on the morning of pickup.  Once dried out is the fire danger negated?  Or is it an ongoing potential fire condition if you gather them together?  Once spring gets here in Nebraska my wife will venture out and see this stuff in the fence and I will need a less visible safe proper way to handle the rags.

Thanks again everyone.

I lay them on the shop floor until dry . Just dont wad them up and throw them in the garbage can. They internally cum-bust       and set fire.

I dont use the oils because they smell so bad until they dry.  I dont like the smell and I am sure the customer wont ether.


Hi John,

The spontaneous combustion of oil soaked rags is caused by the oxidisation process - drying them and bunching them together as you mention will still have the danger.  The general recommendation is to place them in an air tight container (or a zip-loc bag) and fill the air space with water to prevent oxidisation.   Do not store oildsoaked rags anywhere that you don't wish to have a fire: this works for me.



I've got a small metal trash can (maybe 1gal or so) and I'll put the rags in the can, take it all outside and purposely light 'em on fire in the can. 

Gives some peace of mind knowing they've already done their combustion thing, but controlled :)


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