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Tru Oil


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Does anyone here have experience using Tru Oil (I think it's also labelled as several other names) - basically polymerized linseed oil from what I remember.

I've been thinking about trying it on some scrap black limba to see if it alters the color, appearance,... in a bad way. What I really need to know is how it performs in the long run. Will it provide good protection for the average guitarist?

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Take a look at my Black Limba Guitar. That's the finish that's on it. I mistyped Tung Oil in the description but it's Tru Oil. I didn't really notice a huge color change it just makes the wood look as if it's been dampened. as for protection I have a Musicman John Petrucci guitar and thats what I use on the neck but maple is really hard. Limba is pretty soft but I'm not experiencing any ill effects from it. I do take very good care of my guitars though so a Hard finish really isn't neccessary for me

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Oh, OK - I thought tung oil was a dangerous choice for limba but I can certainly understand using Tru Oil. That's what I was thinking about using on my limba guitar. I was looking at a mirror that someone built (wood frame finished with Tru Oil) and it appeared to be a good looking and durable finish. I don't know where it fits in the hardness scale but it's got to be better than a tung or straight linseed oil finish.

I've also read random posts on mimf where some people were very much into it. I talked with someone at WoodCraft today and he was also very much into using it as well.

I guess I'll give it a try then.

Thanks Scott.

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I finished the neck of one of my guitars with Birchwood Casey Tru Oil and then sealed it with Birchwood Casey Gunstock Wax. It has been played alot and the finish holds up very well and is in nearly new condition after a year of playing. It did not change the color much as well. I would definately use it for hard woods like maple, etc.. For Limba I myself would NOT use it if you want a really durable finish. At least the black Limba I worked with so far was a little fragile and not too hard so I would definately put alot of dents and scratches in it without a really hard finish like PU or something like that. But if you treat your Guitars like Scott or don't play much gigs or rehearsals then the Tru Oil should provide a solid enough finish....

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There are those that use Tru-Oil just for the backs of their necks, it reportedly (I haven't used it for that personally) gives the neck a very comfortable and fast feel, and it's easy to apply (wipe on)

Then there are those that have used it to finish off their bodies. I look at these as 2 different camps of users.

Necks, not too many coats are necessary to get where you wanna be. Pretty easy to get great results.

Bodies, to get a lacquer-like build, you're talking about 20-30 coats, and from everything I've read, you apply it as thinly as possible for best results.

I have read that sand-thrus are -very- common because people started sanding back too aggressively or too soon, just a word to the wise. It really takes a LOT of coats before you're good enough to start levelling out.

For final toughness, you're about right, it's harder than pure tung or linseed oil, but not as hard as varnish, lacquer, poly.

Probably around the same toughness as shellac.

If I were going to Tung-Oil a body, I would absolutely use CA Hot Stuff for my pore filler first, it'll save you a lot of unnecessary pore-filling coats of Tung Oil, and will give you a nice hard substrate, as Tru-Oil isn't that hard. The CA will stop the easy dents. :D

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Well, here's what I was going to do for my experiment:

1. Use epoxy for a pore filler

2. Use Tru Oil for the neck and body

I think I need to do the epoxy no matter what (unless I use something else - limba certainly needs something to fill the pores). The Tru Oil will just be an experiment on "scrap" wood left over. If I like it, I will go with it - if not, it's nitro - that's pretty much my only finish that I have any experience with (and it's not a whole lot of experience).

Do you see anything wrong with that? Should I skip the Tru Oil and go with Nitro since I'll be putting on just about as many coats? I think the dry/cure time is much faster with Tru Oil but I don't want to sacrifice quality for speed at this point. It's just that I've heard so many good things about Tru Oil lately - it's got my interest.

Thanks for the info,


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My honest opinion is that the quality of your work is so good, that using Tru-Oil over them would be like putting jello pudding on top of the cake instead of real icing. :D

Pushing yourself to get really good at spray finishing, whether it be lacquer or whatever else, will take what you've already done and just make it waaaay nicer, really take it to the next level as the saying goes..

Spraying shellac is a good starting point. I don't know why shellac gets such a bad rap these days that it's barely even mentioned anymore, it's like lacquers' little brother, it's quite a nice finish, can be sprayed on, you can mix all your Solar-Lux anilyne dyes into it just like lacquer...a lot of acoustic builders still use it on a regular basis, the vapors from spraying shellac (alcohol) have to be the least harmful of all the thinners out there, it's pretty tough as finishes go, it lasts hundreds of years, you can level and buff it out just like lacquer...

Or you can just go right to lacquer. I think you'll be much more satisfied with your guitars once you start spray-finishing if you can.

I shoot everything hanging from the Maple tree out back, always have since day one.

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Just got back from Wal-Mart where I bought a 3oz bottle of Tru-oil for $5. It's very easy to work with. Wipe on, let dry, repeat. I tried on scrap and noticed it will look a little lumpy if you lay it on too thick so thin coats will get better results. I don't have spray equipment or a safe place to spray so for me, tru-oil is ideal.

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