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I've been finishing a black walnut body in Tru Oil and have run into some problems.

Let me start by saying that my first mistake was not sealing the grain BEFORE applying the Tru Oil. :(

After applying 20 coats of Tru Oil and using 0000 steel wool between each coat, I thought it looked good enough to try applying a wax. Specifically Birchwood Casey wax. The same company that makes the Tru Oil.

Once I applied the wax, it brought out a lot of open grain the size of tiny pin holes that I didn't notice before. (see pic). I read some Q&A's from the Birchwood Casey website, which said the the wax could be removed with rubbing alcohol, so I did this and went over it again with 0000 steel wool, in hopes that I could maybe apply more Tru Oil to seal the grain, but it's just not working.

Does anyone know what I can use to seal this grain completely?

It looks pretty good but it could look so much better, and I'm SO close!

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much!



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That is the way a natural finish is supposed to look IMO.

But if you want it to not have the pores showing you are right,you should have sealed it.You can level,reapply,and repeat until it is all flat,but with tru oil it will sink in over time anyway in my experience.

Just so you know,there are many high end guitars with exactly what you have there.It is perfectly fine and is not a flaw

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You can level,reapply,and repeat until it is all flat ...

I think the problem I'm having is that it appears the wax that I applied (and stripped) is preventing the Tru Oil to fill the pours.

There's probably some wax residue in the pours that I just can't get to. And there's really not much to "level" as I've done a pretty thorough job with the steel wool process between coats.

Can I maybe wet sand with a mixture of Tru Oil and mineral spirits to try to fill it?

I'm just throwing stuff out there cause I really have no clue.

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You would need to do a compatibility test, but shellac with talc suspended in it is a useful clear filler.

I just found this ... http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001MQNJ40/ref=nosim/?tag=telecasterdis-20&link_code=as2&creativeASIN=B001MQNJ40&creative=374929&camp=211189

It's made by the same folks who make the Tru Oil and the bottle says it's a clear filler.

Filling the grain half way through this whole process wouldn't have been my first choice but it might just work.

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Wet sanding with TruOil is a common way of pore filling for TruOil. Sand till it thickens into a slurry and work side ways into the pores. After drying recoat a couple of times and then repeat until you're satisfied.


Thanks Scott!

I tried this last night before even reading this, looked at it today, and it seems to be working!

Thanks so much!

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If that winds up not being what you want, or takes too long, get some pumice and grain fill with it. Works great for open grained woods!

You can get pumice at lowes or home depot very cheap.

Thanks Bob! I might give it a try.

I wet sanded with Tru Oil last night and spent about two hours using steel wool tonight.

It looks better but it's still not 100%.

After 22 coats of this stuff, my arms are about to fall off. lol

Edited by DGW
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Although I haven't managed as nice a finish as Wez' there, the way I tested on scrap Sapele recently (relatively open pores) was to do an initial flood coat, then when almost dry I sanded with 600 grit paper lubricated with a little more oil. This ripped up the oil and a little dust, creating the slurry mentioned. Messy and ugly at this stage, but keeping this just wet enough to move around allowed me to pack it up the open pores nicely. I repeated this until the surface was closed enough to start the actual oiling. Your initial photos are better than most people achieve with oil as it stands, so don't be hard on yourself. Tru-oil is pretty forgiving stuff if you are willing to put in the graft and it sounds like you have.

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