Jump to content

Scratches In Oil Finish?


Recommended Posts

I'm using a tung oil-based varnish. The guitar has been sanded to 1000 --I'm certain it was more or less scratch free (wiped it down with naphtha) before I started applying the varnish.

I've applied a couple of coats of the tung-oil using the methods people have described here.

But now, when I look at the guitar--mostly the top--I see tons of scratches there---I can only assume that what happened is that when I was wiping off the first coat of tung oil, the cloth I was using, a bit of old tee shirt, must have scratched the oil...maybe I didn't put enough on, or maybe I waited too long to take off the excess?

The question now is, will these scratches somehow polish out, or should I just give up and sand everything back again? I'd hate to sand back...I've stained the top and back and it looks really nice. The scratches are only visible when you look really close, and only then from certain angles. But still...

If/when I do sand back, how do I avoid this problem?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

assuming its the same thing thats happened to me; oil as a finish doesnt scratch, it both lets scratches through, and highlights the tiniest scratches in the wood; thats why i gave up on tung oil, im too clumsy;

but i got many perfect, but its patience, and going thru an entire catolog of sandpaper;

using the traditional (after machine sanding) 100 grit to 220; i continiue up about every 200 grit (ie 400, 600, steel wool 0 s.w. 00 sw. 0000) and i raise the grain in between each of these higher sandings, cause i belevie that constantly swelling the wood closes up some would be scratches; as in , i find i get a better sheen; then after the first couple of coats wet sand w/oil as the lube (a tip i got on here) and finish by sanding it with a brown paper bag; and after the first few sandings w/ oil, dont go the direction of the grain, your gonna want your scratch patterns every direction for an even sheen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I skipped the step of wet-sanding with the oil...didn't think it was necessary because I'm working with maple...but if I had done that, I wouldn't have needed to wipe off the excess --I'm pretty sure what happened is that the oil was already too dry...so the scratches I'm seeing now are scratches in that first coat of oil, not the wood (I'm positive there were no scratches in the wood before I started). If I had wet sanded, the grain fill would have been a lot more consistent.

Guess I'll have to sand it back again.

It's a shame because it looks really good--you can't see the scratches at all, unless you're within a foot of the guitar.

If I'm lucky I'll be able to sand off the oil without screwing up the stain job I did.

Interesting tip about the brown paper bag.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yur your own toughest critic;

but why let something go your not 100% on

id love to see some pics

Actually it's you guys that are pushing me--I'm planning on posting pics soon, and considering the high level of work people have been doing lately...

I experimented a little with sanding it -- 800 grit (dry) takes the scratches away, and seems to leave the stain alone.

Now I need to hunt down some paper bag (they don't have much of that here).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I warned you this would happen - you're getting the bug.... must.... strive.... for .... perfection....! B)

Pushers. Dealers. Dr. Roberts. That's what the lot of you are. :D

Not too worry, though. I'm still far from perfect! :D:D

Another question though --is it going to be possible to stain the guitar again, now that I've put oil on there? Seems like that will be too deep into the wood?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I decided to go ahead and sand back the top and restain...it only took a few minutes to do, and the stain seems to work ...in fact, I was able to correct a couple of problems with the original stain job.

Then I oil sanded with 800 grit wet paper, rubbed it back with a piece of tee shirt...and instead of waiting for it to dry, I immediately brushed on a new coat of the varnish.

And this time I forced myself to step back -- I think what's been giving me problems is that I kept fussing with the varnish after I applied it.

Took a lot of willpower for me--because of all the bubbles and brush lines I could see...but I managed it...and of course, all of the bubbles have disappeared, as well as the brush lines...whew!

I guess the next step will be to oil-sand again with a finer grit, then brush on the next coat?

It's all one big learning experience --if nothing else, I've finally figured out how to sand, and also what it takes to get the grain filled and sealed.

Another thing that I think I've figured out is that I'd tried applying the varnish to the entire guitar all at once--it was too much and impossible to control what was going on (luckily the back and sides of the body worked out all right, and the neck is really nice too).

This time, I taped off the sides of the guitar and only worked on the top. I'm a little worried about having a tape line there, but hopefully I'll be able to correct any lines there with the next coat. I'm going to let it dry for a few more minutes before taking off the tape.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

if you level sand; re-apply and rub out the finish; you dont have to worry about brush lines or anything, just make the coats thick enough that you dont sand thru

That's the part of rubbing out that I don't get --seems to me that when I do that, I'm pretty much taking off most of the oil...

Unless I'm supposed to do this only after the coat is dried?

Which would mean that the rubbing out part comes just before I level sand and apply the next coat (which I then let sit the 24 hours it takes for that to cure)?

Because with the stuff I'm using, I can't rub it out when it's fresh --it's way too sticky for that, and I end up with a big mess. Like I said, this is much more of a varnish than an oil.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...