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Tru-oil Observation


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I've been having the hardest time getting tru-oil to behave over ash. It never seems to fully harden no matter how long i let it cure.. one piece had been curing for over a month.. a slight grazing of a pic would absolutely mar the surface. I had about given up on it for anything but the maple neck.

Then i read over on MIMF about some folks thinning it 50/50 with naptha. Figured i would try it and man oh man.. A new sample i was working on.. I grainfilled with oil/sanding (oil and sawdust work into the pores - it actually works fairly well for an oil based pore fill) and had about 6 ultra thin coats of tru-oil on it. Beautiful gloss, but still easy to scratch. I put 2 light coats of the TO/Naptha mix on it, let it cure and over night I already hahve to really work at it to mar the finish. It's a thousand times better. I have another piece going that will be thinned TO from start to finish. Some guys say they do about 30 coats, which seems like a lot but with the naptha it dries in about 15 minutes or so.. enough to steel wook and recoat.

The finish couldn't be easier.. 0000 steel wool in between coats and 000 to final buff if you want satin, and rub with a good cotton rag if you want a shine.

This is all over ash.. it's much easier to finish non porous woods with tru-oil.

There you have it. I'm going to experment with other things.. tinting it with pigments and stains, etc.. I know stains work. I can't imagine why i couldn't get a semi opaque finish with a universal tint. I'll post my findings.

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Sounds interesting!

Do you have any pictures of what it looks like when you've finished? I've heard a bit about tru-oil and tung-oil but never really seen any examples of finished necks/bodies.

How does it work with a maple neck?

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Here is a photo of the test scrap. about 4-5 full strength coats and 2 50/50 TO/Naptha coats. Last coat 20 mins old and dry to the touch.

ash.jpg

photo link if above doesn't work

This is an offcut of my swamp ash material. Nothing done but oil. It enhances the grain, maybe "yellows" it a tad.. more of an aged look than anything.

As far as a maple neck.. it's great. A buddy of mine just did his bass neck with 4 coats of it. Feels like a dream. Not nearly as "sticky" as a gloss finish. Can't recommend oil enough for a neck. TruOil is pretty easy to use too.

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Thanks for the picture, it looks very nice!

I just did a search on UK google and the first tru-oil it came up with was Birchwood-Casey. It appears it is available over here. There's a Gun shop about a mile from where I live too so I'll have to see if they sell it(probably cheaper to order it though).

I still need to find out about how I would manage with a headstock decal though. Has anyone used tru-oil over a Decal?

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Thanks for the picture, it looks very nice! 

I just did a search on UK google and the first tru-oil it came up with was Birchwood-Casey. It appears it is available over here. There's a Gun shop about a mile from where I live too so I'll have to see if they sell it(probably cheaper to order it though).

I still need to find out about how I would manage with a headstock decal though. Has anyone used tru-oil over a Decal?

Birchwood Casey is the manufacturer. Yes you can buy it from them. A gun dealer might be easier though. The headstock i think will require spray lacquer. Never tried it but I dont tink tru-oil will adhere. Who knows though.. it's heavy on the polymer.. Thinned, you can spray it with a gun, or some even use those little preval sprayers for a small job. Doesn't hurt to try, but otherwise i'd just spray the headstock with the rattle can.

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Just a safety tip: Naptha is really really flammable. Be careful with your rags or brushes. Make sure there are no pilot lights or open flames. Don't smoke while you're working.

No oil finish is going to harden as much as a film finish. This is just the nature of the beast.So what? If you like the look go for it. It's really easy to repair by wiping another quick coat on.

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Just a safety tip: Naptha is really really flammable. Be careful with your rags or brushes. Make sure there are no pilot lights or open flames. Don't smoke while you're working.

No oil finish is going to harden as much as a film finish. This is just the nature of the beast.So what? If you like the look go for it. It's really easy to repair by wiping another quick coat on.

I don't expect plastic shell hardness. but before the naptha you just look at it funny and it would scratch..

Yeah i'm real careful about the naptha. It doesn't even come in the house. Rags are hung to dry then disposed of.. Isn't napthat what zippo sells as lighter fluid? or is that an old wives tale?

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So this gunstock oil is highly recommended for finishing maple necks? I have a 93 Ernie Ball Music Man Eddie Van Halen model and the wax/oil blend on that neck is incredible. So much so, that it has spoiled me and I almost cringe at satin or high gloss finished necks now.

I have absolutely no experience in finishing a neck and was wondering what the proper procedure would be when using this product?

Any help would be greatly appreciated,

Pekollio

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So this gunstock oil is highly recommended for finishing maple necks?  I have a 93 Ernie Ball Music Man Eddie Van Halen model and the wax/oil blend on that neck is incredible.  So much so, that it has spoiled me and I almost cringe at satin or high gloss finished necks now.

I have absolutely no experience in finishing a neck and was wondering what the proper procedure would be when using this product?

Any help would be greatly appreciated,

Pekollio

Yes.. in fact a buddy of mine had his instructions from his music man.. to restore, do 2 coats of tru oil and apply wax. I would do more coats. rub it on liberally, let it sit about 5 mins or so.. wipe off and dry. several hours between coats.. maybe even overnight to make sure it's dry.. buff with 0000 steel wool in between.

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Yes.. in fact a buddy of mine had his instructions from his music man.. to restore, do 2 coats of tru oil and apply wax.  I would do more coats.  rub it on liberally, let it sit about 5 mins or so.. wipe off and dry.  several hours between coats.. maybe even overnight to make sure it's dry.. buff with 0000 steel wool in between.

mledbetter,

Thanks for the info, I had a buddy of mine locate some local gun shops that have the products so I just have to pick them up this weekend. I am probably going to follow your advice by letting the neck dry overnight in between coats. At that point, I will check it out and decide whether or not to add more coats or go to the wax. Oh yeah, the steel wool tip was something I had no idea ab out, thanks for that too.

Thanks again,

Rich

Pekollio

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I have done about 10 guitars now and never had a tru oil problem... make sure its sanded and cleaned off properly, then apply thin coats rubbing it in. going thick with anything is never really good.

I am not sure naptha is the correct thinner though? thought varnish was?

will look it up...

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Birchwood- Casey also sells tru-oil aerosol cans that are thinned to spray.

I found the best results by using the tru-oil sealer then 6-7 wipe on coats of tru-oil then 2-3 coats of the thinned aerosol.

Not much luck getting a vibrant, bright colored tint to mix with it.

I tried some Walnut stain that came in the same pack as the tru-oil from the gun shop and it worked well.

I posted some pics here awhile back showing the tru-oil, walnut stained tru-oil & Formby's tung-oil side by side on some test scrap.

I actually liked Formby's tung-oil blend better on the neck. It didn't build very thick coats but was buttery smooth even compared to the tru-oil.

The tru-oil hardened and built up heavier than the formby's tung oil though.

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I have done about 10 guitars now and never had a tru oil problem... make sure its sanded and cleaned off properly, then apply thin coats rubbing it in.  going thick with anything is never really good. 

I am not sure naptha is the correct thinner though?  thought varnish was? 

will look it up...

well over on MIMF there were naptha users and mineral spirits users.. i've just tried stest scraps with naptha. will try other stuff. So far so good though.. only complaint was that naptha accellerates the drying so much that sometimes it's hard to get even coverage. I wanted to spray it but so far i've just ragged it on.

I like oil finishes so I experiment a lot with the stuff.

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you were applying it too thick.you can apply it undiluted in VERY thin coats and get the same results.

when you apply it too thick the outer layer hardens and does not allow the oil underneath it to harden

Yep.

I'm trying Tru Oil (Birchwood-Casey) for the first time on some laminated scrap (bocote-ebony-walnut). If you apply it thin enough at full strength, it will still work this way. It is VERY important to have the wood sanded to the finest-grit that will make a difference. On my scraps, I've sanded all the way down to 1000 grit, the wood is nearly polished, you can actually see reflections in much of it. I've been leaving 15 minutes between coats, applying 10 coats at a time, let dry overnight, scuff with 1000 grit, repeat. I've managed to fill the grain with just TO (no oil-sanding) with 30 coats at full strength. My plan is to top it off with some 50/50 cut coats. It is hard enough that I should be able to buff it out to a high gloss (but I haven't tried this yet).

Tru Oil is actually a kind of varnish, so it will add a slight amber tint.

Cutting with naptha will allow it to flow easier and reduce streaking, but it will dry very fast.

Cutting with mineral spirits will do the same thing, and will dry a bit slower than with naptha (but still faster than full-strength TO).

If I can manage to buff this out to a mirror shine, it is quite possible that I may never use anything else again on natural finishes....it is cheap, locally available, dead easy to apply, and the fumes won't kill you (I'm actually doing the tests in my basement in the winter).

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That's been the best thing about TO for me is i've done them in the house and no one complains.

Given that it's so heavy on the varnish component, and that you can tint it.. I'm wondering if you could get away with adding some universal pigment to the undercoats. That's the only thing I haven't tried.

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I have lost track of how many coats of Tru-Oil I have applied, but I can second erikbojerik's recommendation on its ease of use and how to apply it. On the front, I have put on 2 final coats cut 50% with mineral spirits and it shines like glass already because it levels so well. :D I may not even bother buffing it out.

I applied it on the back and sides at full strength and it gives a satiny sheen which I'll probably leave as is. I agree with erikbojerik that for natural finishes, it's the way to go.

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I have lost track of how many coats of Tru-Oil I have applied, but I can second erikbojerik's recommendation on its ease of use and how to apply it. On the front, I have put on 2 final coats cut 50% with mineral spirits and it shines like glass already because it levels so well.  :D  I may not even bother buffing it out.

I applied it on the back and sides at full strength and it gives a satiny sheen which I'll probably leave as is. I agree with erikbojerik that for natural finishes, it's the way to go.

How long have you let it cure? and do any of you do a wax treatment? I just want it to get to where you can't mar it with a fingernail. Like I said, on maple it's great.. but ash for somereason has made it really difficult to harden.

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If you didn't grain fill it the reason the ash is more difficult to get a harder finish with may have to do with the nature of oil finishes. They only cure where they are exposed to air. Maple is as pourous as glass, pretty much. Ash has gigantic crater like pores. It just takes a lot longer in between coats for an open grained wood to dry all the way. Use thinner coats and wait.

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