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Le Tonkinois ---tung Oil Varnish

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Sounds very interesting. I'm still debating finishes for my soon to be resurrected project and I would prefer something oil based such as this. I'm looking for something that is low toxicity and relatively easy to apply. That said, one of my concerns with oil based finishes is a certain degree of fragility. I'm not building a Stradivarius. I'm building a guitar that I can use and bump around without too much concern. I'm not terribly interested in having to do a lot of maintenance.

Apart from that, do you have any pictures you can share with us? I'd love to see, for example, how it brings out the grain in that piece of ash...

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I've been using Le Tonkinois on my current Les Paul Project.

I'm trying to do a burst on the top, but I have had lots of problems with the finish. I stained the birch top with orange water based stain. Then I brushed 4 layers of Le Tonkinois on the stain. Sanded the biggest bumbs on the surface between the layers.

After this I mixed some red pigment on the pinene turpentine. Then I mixed it with a bit of le tonkinois. This mix i spraryed on the edges with spray gun i borrowed from my father. On this i brushed again few layers of Le Tonkinois.

This I have now done twice. First time i managed to sand through the burst and i really was not happy with the color gradient of the burst. Yesterday i ended up sanding the top clean the second time. I have faux binding on the guitar. I just was not happy how the border where the wood color and red came together. There was also some unevenness on the finish.

I really love how Le Tonkinois tones the woods and colors. And i am going to use it to finish my guitar. I think I am not going to use spraygun on anything else than doing the burst on the guitar. The varnish evens it self quite nicely when using brush. And to be honest i am quite bad using the spray gun :D

I could try to get some shots of the back of the guitar so you could see how it tones brings out the grain of the mahoganny. I just need to to fix up some things on the guitar before I dare to show it here :D

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Mickster, I would HIGHLY recommend you buy the Bob Flexner book 'Understanding Wood Finishes'.

These threads about all these 'mystery' oils and the hype surrounding them is rather unnecessary when you have a good solid basic understanding of ALL popular finishes, what their properties are, and when to use them.

It will take the mystery out of your El Totonkis finish for you and massively help you understand what's in it and why it does what it does, you no longer need to experiment, you'll know by it's properties what it will do before you ever even use the stuff.

Trust me here, get the book and read it, you'll be far, far ahead of the game and save yourself a lot of wasted time and money.

Just trying to help. :D

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I believe the punishment for attempted individuality in Drakonia is being placed in a solitary cell lined with stained quilted maple.

Anyway, here's today's results for anyone who's interested:

Keep it coming! I'll risk incarceration as well. :D

So far, this is looking like a very promising means of finishing a guitar.

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I wasn't trying to say there was anything wrong with Tontonkanitis, just that if you understand the basic finishes and their properties, you will always know what it is you bought, no matter what the name says it is or what it claims to do.

See, the finishing market is very competative, and manufacturers will call their products all kinds of names and state all kinds of claims, when the truth is, there are several basic types of finishes that have been around a very long time, and they have pre-determined properties. I mean, there are a few new ones out there, but really not many.

But the manufacturers, trying to stay competative, continue to relabel and remarket the same old products with very small variances in the formulations, simply for sales reasons. When you understand this fact, and are also armed with the knowledge and information in that book, you will be FAR above most others, you will look at the INGREDIENTS and know what is in that can or bottle and how it will react and whether or not it will work for you or not, you will already know what is going to happen, how to apply it properly, etc.

There is really no need to experiment, it's all already been done for you, you're basically just trying to reinvent the wheel again, and at your own expense.

Tontonkinitis is probably a fine product, it's just is it the product you need or not, and there's simply no need to guess at it when you arm yourself with the facts of finishes and finishing.

One problem I have with your thread (and a lot of others like it) is that there are other people reading it, and you are not a finishing expert, and the information you give here can be very wrong sometimes. I'm not singling you out or anything, I have read MANY threads just like it over the years, Duplicolor was a big one a few years ago, and out of all the information I read in those threads, most of it was either misleading or plain wrong, because the people posting the info were complete amateurs at finishing, and even they didn't really understand what was going on.

So it's fine to experiment, but when you're posting about it, you can mislead other people out there, something I would try to avoid, even if you're posting with the best of intentions.

Read the book and become informed, THEN you can post about finishes with some authority as to if they're really good or not. :D

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I would HIGHLY recommend you buy the Bob Flexner book 'Understanding Wood Finishes'.

As a complete beginner, I appreciate the recommendation. I found a copy in our local library system and its on its way to me!


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Just a to clarify:

Le Tonkinois is not an oil finish - it's a varnish, very different animals. From what I undertstand from the website, it's sounds *very* similar to Tru Oil - a polymerised linseed oil varnish. As such, I'd be surpised if you achieve a gloss comparable to a high gloss finish like nitro or poly. Not to say you can't get a very nice gloss, and a look which some folks prefer to nitro, but not the same. You'll also want to be *very* careful not to get sandthrough successive layers and get witness lines.

FWIW Tru-Oil has a very strong following as an instrument finish, so if Le Tonkinois is similar you're in good company.

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