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Another Doubt About Tung Oils Finish


Kurt76
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Hi to all :D

I write to consult about Tung Oil phrases that I found looking for information in Internet. The history: I commanded to make to luthier the guitar of my dreams, and between the doubts it is finished. For my guitar with mahogany body and maple neck. I would like one finished that she had little maintenance and with the possible most natural aspect. I have proven guitars with Tung Oil, they are unique, they are alive! B) simply they enchant to me, but the maintenance worries to me :D , you know. On the matter I found this phrases:

1º From "Zachary Guitars" Link: http://www.zacharyguitars.com/Ownersmanual.htm

"The Finish

The finish of your guitar is a combination of a hand rubbed oil resin and several layers of Carnuba based wax topcoat. Be sure to never use any commercially available guitar polishes. This will ruin the natural finish of your Zachary Guitar. These polishes are meant for lacquer or plastic finishes only. If you ever use any solvent, grease or alcohol based cleaners to wipe your guitar, disaster will result. You will take the finish right off. You will also remove the wax which helps to seal the wood against the elements. You do not have to do anything to maintain the finish, just leave it alone and it will age gracefully."

It is possible to maintain the guitar with life with one time application of Tung oil and that does not have problems?

2º From "Build your own Bass guitar" Link: http://members.lycos.nl/ajgp/details.html

"Furniture-oil: The wood keeps its natural look and feel, and you can easily repair little scratches : sandpaper, oil, ready. When you decide to use oil, it's for life. The wood gets saturated with oil, and you will not be able to spray or paint your guitar ever again. The coating will let loose!

The same thing goes for wax. Oil and wax have another disadvantage: just after appliance your clothes get dirty and your hands get greasy. When touching the strings with your greasy hands you will quickly lose the "new" sound of your strings (maybe you don't mind that). "

It is true that oils one sticks in the skin and the clothes with this finishing and that the hands are sticky at the play guitar?

From already thank you very much to all the opinions, experiences and ideas about this. Regards, Bye Bye. :D

PD: my excuses by my bad English

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I'm just learning to build guitars, but I finished all of my custom-built gunstocks with tung oil. I don't do anything to maintain the finish, and I have never had any problems with "greasy hands" because of the finish... unless #2 is talking about immediately after applying the tung oil.

Here's my take: if you want a killer clearcoat that will withstand some abuse, use nitro. However, if you want a truly natural finish that brings out the figure of your wood, use tung oil. But applying tung oil isn't like wiping a couple coats of linseed oil on the cutting board that you have in your kitchen. Tung oil requires just as much work as nitro, if you want a killer finish.

I have a stock hanging in my shop right now that is litterally as smooth as glass... but I spent several weeks applying tung oil, sanding it, and applying more tung oil, and sanding it again, and so on.

D~s

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i am not very impressed with those guitars...they look poorly designed as far as fret access and playability goes.

i have also heard through other sources that wax is not effective as a topcoat...and that part about not maintaining the finish is also contrary to everything else i have learned about tung oil

don't get me wrong...i like tung oil.but it is not the superior finish that some would have you belive,although it does have a nice feel to it

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Hi B) .. Thanks Dugz and Wes... I think that a good idea to body and neck finish is from Lex Luthier in the "Pictorial of 5-string fretless bass being built., In "real time" too!" Just 2 Laquer coats without filler... with satin feel and wipe it down to keep it clean... Maybe this is the way to my project.... :D

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Why isn't anyone saying shellac?

I'm starting to use shellac more and more, but I have limited experience in finishing -- so I'm asking this more than I am stating this to Kurt.

Shellac seems to enhance the look of the wood.

Its easy to get "right" compared to lacquer (in my experience).

I am bad at other finishing, but can get shellac to turn out well. And, it appears to be repairable much easier than other finishes I've messed with.

You can french polish it to get a high gloss, or brush it on and still get a nice surface shine.

-- joe

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I have had experience on my last bass with both tung oil and wax-based finish.

The Wax was Warwick Surface Finishing wax, and while it looked okay, it was very sensitive to moisture, even sweaty palms from playing bass. It proved too much trouble, so I put tung oil over it (pure tung oil, not any of those tung based resin finishes) and was -very- impressed with it. It really brought out the color of the wood, and was very easy to apply. Three or four coats with light sanding when applying them, and I was good to go. It was by no means gloss, but it looked -really- nice.

It is also really easy to repair; I take the neck off, the hardware off, and I mask off the pickups (or just take them out) and wetsand on another coat, let it dry overnight, and reassemble the next day-- good as new.

One time I made the mistake of trying to touch up one spot without taking off hardware or strings, but I got some oil on the strings and it absolutely KILLED their sound. Dull, boring, like really old strings. I replaced the strings, and everything was good as new.

All in all, it's not a very durable finish (don't smack your guitar against doorframes and expect no dents) but it protects well against moisture, doesn't build too thick, and looks great. I have very few complaints.

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For looks and feel tung oil is great, but not for physical protection. I use a polimerized tung oil sealer and high luster oil from Lee Valley, I think it is pretty close to the often refered to Tru Oil, in that it's not a pure tung oil. It can build up quicker and thicker then regular pure tung oil, and can even be buffed out to a shine, though I've never done this, I have been looking at a buffing system Lee Valley sells.

"and I have never had any problems with "greasy hands" because of the finish... unless #2 is talking about immediately after applying the tung oil."

Not sure what's up with that, if you let the oil dry for a few days, and especially after a week or so when the smell has gone, your instrument is as dry as a bone.

"But applying tung oil isn't like wiping a couple coats of linseed oil on the cutting board that you have in your kitchen. Tung oil requires just as much work as nitro, if you want a killer finish."

Right on.

"but it is not the superior finish that some would have you belive"

I've never really heard it refered to as a superior finish, I'd say in regards to protection and a deep glossy look it's inferior to lacquer and the like, but it is very good at giving the instrument a very natural look and feel, and some people are into that.

"I think that a good idea to body and neck finish is from Lex Luthier in the "Pictorial of 5-string fretless bass being built., In "real time" too!" Just 2 Laquer coats without filler... with satin feel and wipe it down to keep it clean"

The neck of that has one coat of tung oil sealer, and two coats of high luster oil. The body has the two coats of 25% sheen lacquer over a stained, unfilled surface.

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I've never really heard it refered to as a superior finish,

read around the internet and even this forum a little...there are a thousand brand new "custom guitar builders" who on their web pages describe tung oil as the be all/end all in guitar finishing

it seems to be true that it lets the sound carry through better than polyester,but really a nice coat of nitro is quite a bit better protection from moisture AND physical damage than tung oil,while still letting the instrument "breath"

tru oil is different than tung oil...completely different category of finishes.it is a hard finish and offers good protection from moisture and physical damage,although not as good as nitro

Why isn't anyone saying shellac?

my guess is because he was asking about tung oil,not shellac :D

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"there are a thousand brand new "custom guitar builders" who on their web pages describe tung oil as the be all/end all in guitar finishing"

Really? :D I honestly started using it because I didn't have the equipment or know how to do a hard finish, and I continue to use it because I love the "naturalness" it gives wood.

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"I think that a good idea to body and neck finish is from Lex Luthier in the "Pictorial of 5-string fretless bass being built., In "real time" too!" Just 2 Laquer coats without filler... with satin feel and wipe it down to keep it clean"

The neck of that has one coat of tung oil sealer, and two coats of high luster oil.  The body has the two coats of 25% sheen lacquer over a stained, unfilled surface.

Hi Lex :D

How you think that it would be the behavior of two layers Santin Polyurethane lacquer with out filler in the maple neck?

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Hi Lex :D

How you think that it would be the behavior of two layers Santin Polyurethane lacquer with out filler in the maple neck?

All I can tell you is you don't need a pore filler on a maple neck, other then that I've used solid finishes only a few times. You need to ask someone else who knows more about finishing.

Sorry I can't help in that field.

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I think the thing about the oil being sticky was speaking to linseed oil, which has a much, much longer drying time than Tung Oil.

Tung Oil is the be all, end all tonally, in my opinion.

For an easy finish that offers better protection than Tung Oil, I would recommend one of several things:

1. Hand Rubbedy Minwax Poly

2. Waterlox Tung Oil/Phenolic Resin Varnish

3. Tru-Oil

I've used the first two, in addition to pure tung oil, and for tonal reasons, (the guitar finished in only tung oil is quite a bit more resonant) I prefer pure Tung Oil.

Each layer of Tung Oil polymerizes with the layer underneath it, forming one solid layer of finish. Also, you can use pre-polymerized Tung Oil for better gloss and quicker dry times. Last but not least, you could build a drying box with a lightbulb and a fan in it, to speed up Tung Oil drying time (haven't tried this, but I will on my next guitar).

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I think the thing about the oil being sticky was speaking to linseed oil, which has a much, much longer drying time than Tung Oil.

_______________________

Not necessarily true. There are many different formulations of (ahem) 'tung oil' out there, so that's one factor, some use a lot more 'filler' (read: crap) than others, which means cheap ingredients.

And if you misapply it, it will remain sticky, so not really true about linseed oil, although I understand your point.

_______________________

Tung Oil is the be all, end all tonally, in my opinion.

_______________________

We are all entitled to our opinions, it's good that you've found a finish you get along with well, but I happen to disagree about tung oil being the be-all/end all finish.

_______________________

For an easy finish that offers better protection than Tung Oil, I would recommend one of several things:

1. Hand Rubbedy Minwax Poly

2. Waterlox Tung Oil/Phenolic Resin Varnish

3. Tru-Oil

I've used the first two, in addition to pure tung oil, and for tonal reasons, (the guitar finished in only tung oil is quite a bit more resonant) I prefer pure Tung Oil.

________________________

If you are going to relegate this discussion to brush on or wipe on finishes, fine then, but I would contend that shooting lacquer is easier than -all- of those combined, once you get your rig together and get some time under your belt with it, it's so easy and fun and versatile, I don't think much can touch gunned lacquer really. If I had to brush or wipe on finishes, I'd probably quit building guitars all together.

PS, PURE 100% tung oil SUCKS ASS and I would NEVER recommend it to ANYONE to use on a guitar. I would have to honestly question if what you had was actually 100% pure tung oil, so that could be misinformation. Pure tung oil is CRAP!

I shoot outdoors and during the winter months I can't shoot at all, but I am MORE than willing to wait out the winter months to shoot lacquer again in Spring, I have never been tempted to turn to some brush on or wipe on finish just to 'get it done' because I know the differences between these products and I am happily willing to wait it out. To me, it's worth it.

I've been down both roads, and I think wiping and brushing on finishes sucks. There's LOTS of problems with brushing and wiping to achieve pro-looking results.

If that's what you have to do, OK. But if I have a preference and a choice, I'm going gunned-on finish every time.

_______________________

Each layer of Tung Oil polymerizes with the layer underneath it, forming one solid layer of finish.

_______________________

Incorrect usage of terms (if you're being nit-picky:lol: ) layers of finish do not 'polymerize' together, but it would take a page and a half to actually explain it out.

_______________________

Also, you can use pre-polymerized Tung Oil for better gloss and quicker dry times. Last but not least, you could build a drying box with a lightbulb and a fan in it, to speed up Tung Oil drying time (haven't tried this, but I will on my next guitar).

________________________

I guess what I'm saying is this: IF you absolutely do NOT have the ability or funds or resources to shoot a finish on, THEN a wipe-on or brush on will suffice. I do believe in getting it done no matter how you get there, and if you have to wipe or brush on, then by all means, go to it, but I have a slight problem with someone saying these finishes are superior, I believe they are not. I have the choice, and I don't use them.

Also, there is no mention of shellac (you knew that was coming, right? :D ) which is a long time-tested finish that is versatile and holds up very well and buffs out great and you can easily mix stains and dyes into it and -all- that stuff.

So, what I see (not just here, but I've seen it elsewhere also) is someone using these products for whatever reason, and that's OK, but then they convince themselves that these finishes are -superior- and go touting them all over the place, when they've never even tried shooting poly or lacquer or shellac or whatever, so I call that a sort of JUSTIFICATION of product.

Internal justification does not mean your way or your product is superior, just that you've convinced yourself that it is.

...Just stating the other side of things for those that lurk and don't post. I want them to know there are other things out there that are great and not as hard as people make them out to be.

The reason I'm posting this is that I don't want someone out there who DOES have the ability, the place, the funds, the eagerness to shoot lacquer or polyurethane or polyester to get all gun-shy from buying the rig and getting set up to do it because they read how Tung Oil is ...'all that'. Cuz it ain't.

Lastly, you could walk into any music store and never see -one- single instrument finished in any of those products. MAYBE a natural-waxed bass now and then.

But I don't play no steenkin' BASS! B):D:D

So, if you prefer wax, tung oil, linseed oil, polymerized tung oil, poly this or minwax that, whatever, that's fine, and I'm not putting those products down, although I will say I don't like them much, but when a conversation starts to (once again) throw KING TUNG OIL on top of the heap, well, I gotta step in and offer some reality to the situation, because although it works and it's sufficient, it is not a very superior product in my eyes to other finishes out there.

I'm not saying this because I shoot lacquer, I'm saying it for those that read these threads and don't post much. I just want to make sure the other side is voiced.

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you know,i have some pure tung oil...it is what i used on my first vee and is why i don't use tung oil anymore.

it looks nice when it first goes on,darkening the wood and enhancing the grain much like water does.but it doesn't build up like all you guys are claiming...i spent 2 weeks trying to build it up,but all it does is soak in to the wood

then,as soon as you sweat on it,it stains,it really picks up dirt,and you can't clean it effectively.

go with thin coats of nitro...it is NOT detrimental to the sound,and it keeps the wood clean,all the while protecting from moisture better than what tung oil will

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but it doesn't build up like all you guys are claiming...

I've built up numerous tung oil finishes, including this one:

crystalz.gif

(Wish my camera was good enough to get in really close.)

When I finish this first project guitar, I'll have another built up tung oil finish.

But as I pointed out before, tung oil isn't for every project.

D~s

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Hi to all :D

Here is a good link about FINISH PRODUCTS: :D

120503045610table_1.gif

120503045658table_2.gif

Now i understand the finish ideas. In everything are "ADVANTAGES AND DISVANTAGES", each decision will have to be on the basis of which one wants, protection, sound, looking etc... In this apparently there are no rigid rules.

This is the link: http://www.hardwood.org/display_article.asp?ID=370

See you Bros!!! :D And Sorry my english again B)

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Sorry, ...but I've never seen a sunbursted gunstock before. :DB):D

Apples and Oranges, doesn't apply to guitars. Guns are guns, guitars are guitars, not gunstocks.

As I said, if one wishes to use these products, or is just basically forced to use them, OK then, go to it.

But when you start claiming the -superiority- of them, we draw the line there, cuz it's simply -not- true in most cases.

I do not want these conversations to sway people from getting a spray rig together, because that is sort of a 'hump' in the building process that I think needs to be overcome in many cases, and if no one is here to even bother to mention how SWEET and BEAUTIFUL a gunned on lacquer finish is, then the new guys lurking in the background will never be convinced to get their act together and 'jump that hump' ...and get a rig going for gunning product on.

For the guys who will only build one or two guitars, or are on their first guitar build, then I completely understand the deal, and I wouldn't recommend they invest in it, but I am talking to the crowd who will wind up building guitars for an extended period, be it hobbyist ot whatever becomes of it.

For those guys, the sooner you get your rig together and start experimenting with it and getting better at it, the sooner you'll leave the wipe-on and brush-on products behind as your 'starter years'.

Spraying finish is so cool I can't -begin- to extoll it's virtues, it is FUN STUFF.

From airbrushing special effects and sunbursts to watching glass-smooth coats just flowing on time after time after time, to ...well, you get the idea.

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Drak, you are very vocal about your opinions and I respect them, but I disagree with you. I personally think that spray on lacquers suck, but I wasn't going to say as much, as some people may get offended when I start putting down their finish method of choice. I at least state my opinions clearly as my opinions. :D

I stated that Pure Tung Oil, for me, is the be all, end all finish for the type of instrument that I like to build. To each his own. Tung Oil is not magical, it doesn't really make guitars look all fancy like a sprayed on finish will. When you finish a guitar in Tung Oil, you need to consider that it doesn't offer nearly as much protection as more modern finishes, and that your guitar will look somewhat plain. Also, it takes a long ass time to get pure tung oil to build up. There is a violin makers trick that I use that helps quite a bit. If you do a search for the term "glare" you will have a good start. Tung Oil isn't for everyone. However, I would also argue that if you are patient enough to fill and sand, then apply 12 to however many coats of color and clear, with sanding in between, and also buffing, then you should be patient enough to apply enough coats of tung oil to get it to build up. LOL

Anyway, different strokes, right?

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i think maybe what you are using is not 100% pure tung oil

It's not an oil/varnish mixture, but I can't find out exactly what IS in Gillespie's Tung Oil.

Guns are guns, guitars are guitars, not gunstocks.

But wood is still wood, regardless of the shape or use.

I posted that pic because 1) it shows a rich, built up, shiny, tung oil finish, and 2) my first project guitar is not finished yet... but it will have an identical finish.

and if no one is here to even bother to mention how SWEET and BEAUTIFUL a gunned on lacquer finish is, then the new guys lurking in the background will never be convinced to get their act together and 'jump that hump'

I didn't mention it because the thread was about tung oil... not lacquer. If you want a burst, then it only makes sense to use a clear coat. I would agree with that completely.

And you're right; if people want to be accomplished luthiers (who can use the right tools/finish for the right project), then they have to learn how to spray. A good spray gun (with the right compressor/tank/regulator/etc.) is a fantastic tool that can create pieces of art.

Some projects look best with paint, or a burst under clear... but some need tung oil.

If one product was perfect (and well priced) then there would only be one product.

D~s

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Actually, I totally agree with you! :D

Different strokes and all that works for me every day. I'm glad you decided to post your viewpoints, I love to debate stuff.

And, as I stated, I said what I said for -others- who may be reading this, offering the other side of the coin for them to investigate, that's all.

I don't have to jump in and go on about it, I do what I do and I'm perfectly happy with it, as you are, I tried to state that I was not defending my personal favorite way, I was just, ehhh....'debating' the points of wipe-ons, dig?

About the Tung Oil.....

Some of the problems I have with the tung oil crowd (I'm just conversing now, :D ) are:

1) There are as many different formulations of tung oil as there are manufacturers who make the stuff, so when someone says they used pure tung oil, AND it may even say it on the can, they can be 100% WRONG!

And so I have a problem with misinformation being spread. It's not the guitar makers' fault in any way, it's the manufacturers trying to sell product, dressing it up as something it's really not.

So when one guy says he used Jack Squat's 100% pure tung oil, (and it's probably not 100% anyway) then someone else can go out and buy ANOTHER product that says the same thing (100% pure tung, or just pure tung) and he will be using a different formulation of products, of ingredients, which will yield different results, then the conversations get completely convoluted and the two guys don't understand what's really going on underneath the conversation, that they were not even using the same thing to begin with, more or less. You get my drift here without me having to spell it out in excruciating details...

To tell you the truth, I laugh at a lot of conversations I read about tung oil because I can tell the people really don't even know, or are really aware, of what they're actually using.

I have real, genuine, 100% Tung Oil here, I know exactly what that stuff is like, and I will say it again, I think it sucks wind as a guitar finish product. My opinion, granted.

Now that's 100% pure tung oil. Anyone else who says they're using *100% pure Tung*, I want to see a pic of your can or bottle, because there really are few manufacturers who make the 'real 100% deal'. Most of the stuff that 'says' it's pure tung oil is in NO WAY pure tung oil, and it's probably BETTER for you than using 100% pure tung.

One -DEAD- givaway is that they -never- mention having to thin it out first.

And if you asked them what thins tung oil, they never know.

For every conversation I have ever read about using (ahem) Pure Tung Oil, I've never once seen their thinner mentioned, or the fact that they had to thin it.

REAL 100% TUNG OIL (at least the stuff that I have) is as thick as Maple syrup, and no one could ever use it directly out of the can, it HAS to be thinned first, but no one EVER mentions thinning it first.

If you ever used that stuff right out of the can, it would never dry (unthinned anyway, as far as I know)

So much for all the "pure Tung Oil' conversations I've ever read about. They were all probably using some form or concoction of some product that had -some- tung oil in it, AND other finish products also that they weren't even aware of. Thinners, driers, etc.

Well, ...Whoopteedoo. That's NOT pure tung oil.

Point Drak. B)

Also, since it has gained ground among the hobbyist guitar builder crowd, I rarely ever see someone who actually understands the difference between an oil finish, varnish finish, oil/varnish blend finish, polymerized products and how they differ from the 'normal' products, film-building finishes, or a catalyzing finish, or the proper ways to apply them.

Why do we need to know these things?

Because the OTHER slew of questions I always see are:

can I use anilyne dye under oil?

can I use waterbased pore filler under tung?

can I use lacquer over tung?

can I clearcoat over Minwax polyethylvinylexcaliber Blue?

can I mix my stains into the tung oil?

And it goes on and on and on....

And I have spent the time to read and understand these different finishes, their good points and bad points, their reactions with other products, their compatability issues with other products.

And HERE is where we get back to good old Mr. Tung Oil.

After *reading* about all the popular finishes out there to be had, and *understanding* their individual pros and cons, their different compatability issues with other products, I, as an informed consumer, believe that tung oil is just an inferior finish.

I have made an informed decision based on lots of finish information, not just spewing some misinformation out there that I might have read on some guitar forum somewhere.

I guess I have certain parameters a finish has to have for me to accept it as a 'pro' guitar finish, and tung oil simply doesn't measure up with me.

Oil finishes are weak.

Oil finishes scratch easy as hell.

It takes forever to build any kind of thickness with them (I know some don't want that, OK, Ok, I hear ya)

Oil is sticky and nasty to work with.

Oil coats can take a long time to dry, and there are hidden landmines, like using oil products over an oily wood (it'll never dry)

Oil doesn't 'get along' with very many other products very well, either under or over, and if they do, you better know how to do it properly or else it's back to square one.

Oil is really only good for a clear natural finish (my opinion) so it's very limiting in nature.

OK, That's it for starters, let's debate!

Slay Me with facts about Tung Oil that I haven't come across yet and make me look like an ass!

(Damn, I forgot, I can do that part just fine all by myself, hehehe :D )

PS, I am not claiming to be any kind of expert on finishes, I'm just saying I have taken the time to research these finishes and have used a lot of them before I go stating opinions.

OK, flameshield on! :D

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Hi to all B)

So many words that to say. Here some words from the net:

ED ROMAN GUITARS: "BUILDING A BETTER STRATOCASTER BY ED ROMAN. 3. TONALLY: BY TOTAL ELIMINATION OF GLUES AND FILLER"

Link: http://www.edromanguitars.com/archive/betterstrat.htm

ED ROMAN GUITARS: "As of this writing nothing beats Nitrocellulose for tone but Polyurethane if applied thinly will be the next best thing."

Link: http://www.edromanguitars.com/custom/galpaint.htm

ALEMBIC Guitars - Orion Model: "We then apply a clear polyurethane finish that resembles very closely an oil finish, only you don't have the care problems associated with oil."

Link: http://www.alembic.com/prod/oriong.html

JERZY DROZD Obsession V Excellency Bass 5 strings Review featured in October 2002 issue of German "Gitarre & Bass" magazine.

"The body woods are sealed with a open-pore [Polyurethane satin finish] finish, the neck has a satin finish. The Drozd 5-string scores not only with its exceptionally beautiful woods"

Link: http://www.jerzydrozdbasses.com/excellency_test_engl.html

FRAMUS GUITARS from "Official Framus Instruments Owner Manual" in .pdf format. "Colored Oil Finish (Satin Lacquer Finish) All colored oil models are completely sealed by their satin lacquer finish and therefore do not require any special treatment. For the cleaning of the surface you should simply use a slighty damp cloth and clean the soiled areas appliying light pressure. A wax treatment is not advisable".

Link: http://www.framus.de/englisch/pages/13manu...edia/guitar.pdf

- Other example is a EKG Rick Beatty N7 7 string guitars from Ekg Guitars. I asking to Eddie about this finish in the PG Forum, and tell me that in this guitar is: Satin polyurethane lacquer without fillers. I think is an other good alternative to natural and simply finish. :D

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I use all sorts of finishes, kind of like the way I use all sorts of different pickups and wood types. I like diversity. When I did this for a living, I had a "finish guy" on staff that shot all sorts of finishes. Now I can't shoot in my garage or anything, so I have to use alternatives. Even when I had the guns I still used oil finishes and such for "different folks". I have to agree with Drak in that I would've shot my last three guitars I made for myself. Instead I'm doing Reranch nitro, or rub-ons. So to a degree tung oil style finishes are a matter of capability. I love a glass-smooth clear. Let's admit it, we all wish we could finish guitars like the big factories do. But I have to say what's been left out. A tung oil derivative is a very classy look to me and others. It doesn't stand up to abuse, but I rarely allow harm to my instruments anyway. Also I have pretty dry skin. For example I don't corrode strings and they last forever for me. So an oil/wax finish is smooth to the touch to me. But I know others that have clammy skin and they would think the oil finish was pasty, sticky, and it would show dirt, discoloration, and wear if they owned the instrument. To boot, if I got the instrument from them I would concur, because they're bringing their own human oils and chemicals to the finish. Then it would feel pasty to me too.

What I like to do is "oil finish replicas" if you will. Sometimes that means a couple nitro sealer coats, steel wooled back, then a tung oil varnish finished off with paste wax. If paste wax is done right its not gummy. It just fills the microscopic voids in the finish surface. I have great luck with all my oil finishes and I never use straight oil. Sometimes I use General Finishes' Arm-R-Seal, or J.E.Moser's Polymerized Tung Oil Varnish, and I usually finish off with Minwax paste finishing wax. Sometimes I'll do poly real thin (open grain) and then wool it back and wax it. I truly enjoy those finishes for sound, feel, and ease of application. So while I'd like to shoot again, it's not like I'm kidding myself justifying these finishes. Like I said, when I had the gun at my disposal I (and my clients) still preferred these finishes many times. So I don't think you "graduate" to a gun and never look back so to speak.

The most recent example is a 7-string lap steel from walnut. It's possible I would've shot hyper-thinned nitro (open pore like the lex bass) if I had a gun, but I'm building polymerized tung oil instead. They would both be great. No finish is the "best". Even super thick "factory guitar" polys are cool because of how they look, but also because of the snap they add to the attack. I'm more of an "everything is great" guy, like "let's find out what's good about this and exploit that"

I also agree that you can't argue oil finishes because there are hundreds of variables. Wood prep, climate, owner/player DNA, product, application technique/thickness, that's just scratching the surface. What you can do is find a finish you really like and then ask what it was, and about the technique. Attempting to duplicate it is another story. :D And yes, pure tung oil needs to be thinned. Anyone thinking they have pure tung and it's nice and juicy right out of the bottle is misinformed. But saying "pure tung oil" is best compared to "fresh squeezed orange juice" Is it from concentrate? Even if it says "not from concentrate" does it still mean there is only juice from the actual juice oranges in there and nothing else? It's a toss up, just drink it and see if you like it. (Not the tung oil, the orange juice)

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you know,i have some pure tung oil...it is what i used on my first vee and is why i don't use tung oil anymore.

I once used pure tung oil by "bear" or some brand back in high school to finish a clock I made and it sucked. The stuff I use now is much nicer, I have the ability to spray poly and nitro but don't because I find it much easier to finish with oil and I like the results.

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