I clean ebony/rosewood fingerboards by lightly scraping them but lacquered maple ones require a different process where the board is masked off before any work starts.
Below is my system for cleaning up the frets after levelling them.
A coarse abrasive is used to start the initial clean up. This consists of longitudinal strokes followed by lateral ones - the same effect as ‘cross- filing’.
Now the process of polishing can begin!
I’ve already done one treatment of the frets with a coarse abrasive and moved on to a medium grit along the the fret board - in the direction from the 1st to 22nd frets.
Lemon oil is applied and left to soak in for 15 minutes and it’s time to have a cup of tea!
Now the same abrasive is used across the fretboard from the bass to treble side in the same way, working from the 1st to the 22nd (or last) fret.
My fine lines on the top of the fret confirm that the level has been maintained and so the final clean up can begin.
The penultimate step is to use a fine OO steel wool to clean up both the fingerboard wood and the fret wire, only using strokes along the fret wire.
Finally, I need to ensure that the precision tops have not been lost during the clean-up procedure, so I block the tops of the frets with a very fine abrasive.
The last grade of the abrasive paper is used at 1200 grit.
Very Fine steel wool OOOO gives the fret its completed, polished appearance. However there is still one last step.
This takes you to the 'Standard Set-up'
Now that the dirty work of levelling and re-profiling the frets has been done it gives me the opportunity to clean up the front of the guitar. Then the scratch-plate and other hardware can be re-fitted and the Set-up process can begin.