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GusMachado

Can someone help me understand this finishing tutorial?

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Hi, this is my first post, and my first guitar.

I'm following a great tutorial on how to make a shinny glossy finishing with Tru-Oil.

I think I'm doing good. I'm at wetsand number 600. So far so good. (as you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvBFo6DTmEw&feature=youtu.be  But right now, some doubts appeared.) 

HERE IS THE ORIGINAL TUTORIAL:

Once the guitar is well sanded to at least 180 grit ( 220 is better) 

Start with a "soak coat" first 
Use a small rag to wipe on liberal amounts of oil and keep the surface wet for 10-15 minutes. Wipe off excess and let dry for as long as you want. but not less than 24 hours. this coat is very important as it seals the wood and the deeper the oil goes the better your protection against moisture later. pay attention to end grains as they soak up more oil.

2. Starting with 400 grit sandpaper. dip the sandpaper in a small amount of oil and sand in circular motions in a small area. the oil will begin to make a paste from the sanding dust, that you will want to push into the grain as much as possible. once the oil/dust paste starts to get stiff-ish, wipe off excess paste going across the wood grain. let dry another 24 hours. woods like ash ( or other wide grain woods) may require a sanding block to keep the wood surfaces flat. Clsoe grains like mahogany and Maples usually don't need a block.

3. Repeat step 2 useing 600 grit.

4. Repeat with 1200 grit  TODAY I'M DOING THIS PART.

5. Take a 400 count cotton sheet and cut into a 12" square. roll into a very tight, smooth surfaced, ball.
use the ball as you did the sandpapers.. dip into the oil and "polish" the wood surface.
when the oil gets warm and stiff-ish,
wipe off VERY vigoursly WITH the grain, with a clean 400 count sheet ( balled up) damped with a VERY small amount of orange or lemon oil.
Buff and polish during and after this wipe off step and you should have a very nice glossy French polished finish. be careful of fingerprints.. as the oil drys, it will keep imprints in its surface.
I recommend you wear one cotton glove on one hand to hold the guitar with while you buff. watch for hard items on your worksurface. I fact I recommend that you use something soft to do this whole process on. 

let dry another 24 and your done.""

NOW MY DOUBT IS IN THE TOPIC NUMBER 5:

What does he mean by: "Buff and polish during this wipe off step"? What is the difference between BUFF and POLISH? Shoul I do this with a 400 count sheet?

I'm not a native speaker. The tutorial is not well written either (though it is very useful) and there are probably guitar making english words I'm not used to.

Can you guys help?

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Well, I'm not a native speaker either so take my understanding of it with a grain of salt.

For what I understand and what he also says, it's about a French polish or at least something very similar to it. You might want to check various tutorials for French polishing. Although this is about Tru-Oil only instead of shellac, the basics remain. The main caution with that is to never stop the cotton ball inside the area you're working on or it will stick and leave a mark. By "vigorously" he means you should try to flatten the surface with that cotton cloth ball! Now how should that be possible as the cotton is softer than the wood? But that's what it basically means. I've done the same by rubbing a softer wood against a harder one and it really makes the harder one shine. "Burnishing" might be the right word for that procedure.

"Buff and polish" might be just an idiom as the two words mean basically the same. And yes, it's done with that ball made out of a 400 count sheet. You just keep rubbing back and forth, back and forth along the grain, applying a tiny drop of lemon oil when needed (which I assume is just plain mineral oil with some scent), using it for lubrication rather than adding to the layers. Without that drop of lemon oil you'd end up rubbing that piece of cloth into the layers of Tru-Oil!

I had to look for what 400 count cotton means. For those who don't know, it's a very tight cotton fabric made with very thin fibres. As Howstuffworks tells:

Quote

Technically, thread count means the number of threads woven together in a square inch. You count both lengthwise (warp) and widthwise (weft) threads. So 100 lengthwise threads woven with 100 widthwise threads produce a thread count of 200.­

Hope that helps.

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