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Oiling - pointers?


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Hi All,

I have on order a swamp ash warmoth body and a maple warmoth neck. As this is my first project guitar I'm not going to attempt to paint it! Plus I like the look of natural wood guitars.

I'd really like to oil it to obviously seal and protect it somewhat from the years of sweat, blood etc it will be subjected too (I hope!) and I've been doing a bit of reading. I realise the three main types of oil are danish, tung and gun oil (I think?) but I have a couple of questions if any of you would be so kind:

1) Which would you recommend for ease of application, quality of finish, and longevity?

2) Could you point me towards any simple step by step tutorials (assume I know nothing!)

3) I'm in the UK - where is the best place to find these products?

4) The chap at warmoth said I would probably need to lacquer the neck - do I do this as well as oiling it or instead of? He recommended reranch.com to get the lacquer.

Sorry if these are obvious but I really want to do a good job of this guitar, and I'd rather do my research now rather than mess it up due to lack of preparation...

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IMHO;

1) I find tru-oil to be the easiest and most durable oil finish. I think that's what you mean when you refer to 'gun oil' although it's more of a varnish than an oil. (polymerized linseed oil)

2) Tutorial for Tru-oil finish

3) Tru-oil distributor

4) I would use Tru-oil on the neck as well because it feels nice and slick not sticky like laquer when your hands get sweaty.

There is also another guitar building forum that has alot of good info on how to use Tru-oil.

Musical Instrument Makers Forum

Go here and sign up for free and use the search function for "Tru-oil"

Tru-oil, like many oils, gives the wood a slight amber glow and enhances the 3-D look of the grain very well. :D

With enough coats you can get a finish that is almost as high-gloss as laquer or poly. (even though the tutorial states only 3-4 coats).

It's also available in an aerosol and it's my understanding that the aerosol is thinned to allow it to be sprayed. I used the bottled kind and wiped it on with a lint-free rag and noticed a few brush marks so I used the spray. After spraying, I still didn't like the effect so I used the rag to wipe it when it was still wet. I think since the aerosol was thinned it allowed the oil to flow out better and gave my flamed maple scrap piece a glass finish.

BTW, always test a finish on scrap or in an inconspicuous area to avoid any unwanted results.

Good Luck! B)

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At the bottom of this thread you can see what a scrap piece of flamed maple looks like on top of a walnut stain.

Tru-oil thread

Here's the pic. You can kinda see my reflection holding the camera.

AAAA0384.jpg

This pic shows unstained, tru-oiled maple on the left. Unfinished maple in the middle and a light walnut stain under tru-oil on the right.

AAAA0389.jpg

It's hard to find the truth behind what DYE can be used with tru-oil because so many people call stain, dye and dye, stain so it gets confusing.

I think that water-based anyline dyes will work with tru-oil and water-based stain I know will but it's my understanding that dyes enhance the grain better when applied directly to the wood before oiling than a stain will.

Sorry, a little info over-kill on the stain vs dye since I think you just want the wood look with no color. :D

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yes tru oil is nice...very easy to apply.

wipe on in VERY thin coats,let dry,repeat until thickness is achieved(about 20 to 40 thin coats)

the reason for the thin coats is that tru oil does not get hard worth a damn in thick coats(found this out the hard way)

not gun oil....gun oil is actually oil...tru oil is a gunstock finish..

and tru oil is technically a hard finish,rather than an oil

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it's my understanding that dyes enhance the grain better when applied directly to the wood before oiling than a stain will.

not really...dyes are commonly used in a glaze coat(translucent color coat)of whatever finish you choose...i mix my dye with shellac,use it as a sealer coat,then topcoat it with clear nitro.

this leaves the chatoyance(?sp) alone so that the grain has more of a "sparkle"(can't think of a better word)

you can stain black,then sand back,directly on the wood,but that hides the chatoyance

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Warmoth says that they get complaints about warpage on 1 in 10 oiled necks, and on 1 in 200 lacquered necks.

It's true, a lacquered neck is more stable. However, some people simply prefer an oiled neck, to play on, and it's worth the risk to them.

On a side note, what's the difference between a finish like Waterlox and Tru-oil?

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Jeeps, I got nuthin' to add, most excellent advice already!

Except that Tru-Oil is made by Birchfield Casey, maybe you can look them up on-line and find someone to buy it from over 'there'. B)

Tru-Oil, if you build up enough coats, can be buffed out to look almost like a great buffed lacquer look. :D

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well it doesn't really say what it is ...but tru oil is polymerized lindseed oil...which means if i remember correctly that it is brought to 500 degrees in an oxygen free atmosphere ...which changes the chemistry of it,and when it isexposed to oxygen again,it hardens into a film finish

maybe waterlox is the same principle,but i doubt it...i think it is probably tru oil with some type of hardener added

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it's my understanding that dyes enhance the grain better when applied directly to the wood before oiling than a stain will.

not really...dyes are commonly used in a glaze coat(translucent color coat)of whatever finish you choose.

My stain vs dye info is aimed more at applying an oil finish without spray equipment.

When you say "not really" it seems that you mean stain enhances the grain when applied directly to would better than dye? Keep in mind someone without spray equipment.

I wanna keep all this straight since there seems to be so many opinions on this subject.

Should I mix dye in shellac and then clear coat with tru-oil? I thought it was more common to wipe on the dye or stain directly to wood then top coat with tru-oil?

I'm confused :D (I know, no surprise there)

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Should I mix dye in shellac and then clear coat with tru-oil? I thought it was more common to wipe on the dye or stain directly to wood then top coat with tru-oil?

I'm confused  (I know, no surprise there)

You can do it both ways. I don't honestly know what's 'more' popular.

I always use anilyne dye wiped directly onto the wood, then coat over that with clear, then shader coats over that, but Wes' way is just as valid.

As I said, there's 101 ways to do it.

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When you say "not really" it seems that you mean stain enhances the grain when applied directly to would better than dye
?

no that is not what i said....i was just talking about a glaze coat versus applying the stain directly...dye may in fact be more transparent,i am not sure.

but a shellac glaze coat can be applied with a rag or brush,you don't need a spray rig

really you can coat any paint with any method you want....you can brush or roll on nitro or poly...you just have to sand more

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Tru-Oil is a polymerized Tung Oil (lets say it's treated), which means it dries harder and faster than regular Tung Oil.

Most finishers don't recommend regular Tung Oil for very much, it offers not much protection and doesn't dry that hard at all.

What a lot of people don't know is that a lot of stuff sold out there as Tung Oil isn't really Tung Oil at all.

I have a can of real genuine 100% Tung Oil and it's nothing I would EVER use on a guitar body, so unless the can/jar/bottle is specific, what you are buying is most likely a blended finish that has some Tung Oil in it that they are calling Tung Oil, but really isn't. :D

Probably some kind of varnish with Tung Oil blended in.

The words 'Tung Oil' sells product, like it or not, so they use words that sell product, that's the name of the game.

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Some info and a question -

For other UK forum members, I found Tru Oil pretty cheap (£5.30 a bottle) at www.thegunshop.co.uk.

Couple more questions before I leap into the breach, if you'd all be so kind:

1) Does anyone know a good UK supplier of clear laquer, preferably aerosol, satin finish?

2) I'm going to be tru oiling a swamp ash body - any pitfalls I should know about with this wood?

Thanks again for all your help, you guys are great :D

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I have a can of real genuine 100% Tung Oil and it's nothing I would EVER use on a guitar body

Is that just your preference for type of finish you're after, or is there a more fundamental reason? I know it doesn't fill the pores of the wood; I've seen a good many people use it for necks and also some bodies, mainly multi-wood basses where they're after a natural-looking open-pore finish (not glassy).

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