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honza992

95% Tru oil finished guitar - A How to Guide

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I tru oiled my stratocaster neck some years ago - totally oblivious to any kind of process apart from what I found on youtube at the time (which wasn't anywhere near as clear as your advice).  The results look like it, too.  Tru oil is a great product though, I really liked using it.  I would love to have an opportunity to do the finishing again but I can't get tru oil out here...at least not for a reasonable price.

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Just wondering about the differences between the various oils. I've used Danish oil on a body  with great results, but the finish seems to retain a slight gumminess, even after a couple of years - pretty sure I could scrape it visibly with a fingernail if I tried. While this is fine on the body, it does make me unsure whether it would be robust enough for a neck.

I'm planning an oil finish for through-neck project & wonder if products like Tru-oil harden off better, or if they're much of a muchness in this regard.

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37 minutes ago, Bassassin said:

Just wondering about the differences between the various oils. I've used Danish oil on a body  with great results, but the finish seems to retain a slight gumminess, even after a couple of years - pretty sure I could scrape it visibly with a fingernail if I tried. While this is fine on the body, it does make me unsure whether it would be robust enough for a neck.

I'm planning an oil finish for through-neck project & wonder if products like Tru-oil harden off better, or if they're much of a muchness in this regard.

In my experience, much of a muchness.  BUT they only do this if you are building up a layer of the varnish itself - and with this technique you are not doing that.  If you read @honza992 's excellent run through of the process you will see that, in effect, all the oil is actually wiped and buffed off.

So what you are effectively left with is oil-impregnated wood.  Which is why the finished result feels not only silky smooth (due to the oil, sawdust dried and polished fill) but organic, because it is the wood you are actually touching, not a layer of oil or varnish on top of the wood.

In the experiments I have done myself, I have found that you can apply this same technique to a number of oils and varnishes.  And, actually, for necks, nowadays I tend to use Danish oil myself, although for bodies I still tend to use Tru-oil.  But the application is identical.

 

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Cheers Andy - the finish I ended up with wasn't what I expected - didn't think I'd get as much of a coating as I did. Applied it thinly with a cloth, but once it started building up, I kept going to see what it would do. Must have had 15 - 20 coats over the course of a couple of weeks or so.

sr500refin01.thumb.jpg.2f14e6360a19dd38ca54df548a1b731d.jpg

Quite pleasantly taken aback at how glossy it turned out, thought it would be more subtle.

So I'm thinking now of using different techniques on the through-neck, using Danish for both areas but slurry/impregnating the neck. There will be a build dairy for this, once I get around to starting.

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20 minutes ago, Bassassin said:

Cheers Andy - the finish I ended up with wasn't what I expected - didn't think I'd get as much of a coating as I did. Applied it thinly with a cloth, but once it started building up, I kept going to see what it would do. Must have had 15 - 20 coats over the course of a couple of weeks or so.

sr500refin01.thumb.jpg.2f14e6360a19dd38ca54df548a1b731d.jpg

Quite pleasantly taken aback at how glossy it turned out, thought it would be more subtle.

So I'm thinking now of using different techniques on the through-neck, using Danish for both areas but slurry/impregnating the neck. There will be a build dairy for this, once I get around to starting.

Yes - you can build Tru-oil up but, as you say, it will give a completely different finish.  After 20 or so coats it will start off pretty glossy but settle down closer to a glossy-satin over time.  And yes - the finish will harden but only relatively.

The slurry and buff method produces a completely different finish.  I know @honza992 did quite a bit of experimenting and I'm sure will be able to add to the discussion.

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I did a finish where I diluted the gun oil with spirits, and wet sanded it in for a few goes and then used the patented rub in with fingers method, gently sanding with high grit paper and rubbing off with a non lint cloth between coats And doing the same till I got the finish I wanted.

Started with a blank, bit of stain and rub ‘n’ buff paste and oil ended up with what you see.

same for the neck (aside from rub n buff) to pop the grain.

i had done a high grit sand before, I think up to about 1500

22BDDDA6-DDFF-44E8-B31A-14FF29535943.thumb.jpeg.722f03d7b5d2140de6a73ea5ab7d858b.jpeg7406F893-2E90-47A1-8549-86DC7A8F6DC1.thumb.jpeg.5a56f8c7a3fed5cfbff9f3443e99cd80.jpeg74A36285-6956-4112-840C-B4A0C28A41E5.thumb.jpeg.b53b1f5c768694fb6dd74bb1824517e8.jpeg

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50 minutes ago, SpondonBassed said:

Can I do the milking please?

I knew you could be catty, but I didn’t know what an old cow you could be

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11 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

I knew you could be catty, but I didn’t know what an old cow you could be

This is an udder disgrace...

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6 minutes ago, Frank Blank said:

This is an udder disgrace...

But you yourself have semi-skimmed the issue.....

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Just now, Cuzzie said:

But you yourself have semi-skimmed the issue.....

I’ve herd it all before you offal man.

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I had a suspicion you would take the Highland on this being a Jersey Royal disgrace. You have some guts to De-Liver jokes like that

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35 minutes ago, Frank Blank said:

This absolutely takes the brisket, any more and I cud take offence.

If I was a betting man I’d place a steak on you taking offence across a field of comments

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1 hour ago, Cuzzie said:

Nice, was that off the Hoof?

Not sure tbh. Can't really ac-cow-nt for it.

 

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6 minutes ago, Bassassin said:

Not sure tbh. Can't really ac-cow-nt for it.

Come on, you’re milking it now, this should be over and dung with.

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1 hour ago, Frank Blank said:

Come on, you’re milking it now, this should be over and dung with.

Fair enough. Time to, erm, steer the thread back on-topic... :ph34r:

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20 hours ago, Bassassin said:

Cheers Andy - the finish I ended up with wasn't what I expected - didn't think I'd get as much of a coating as I did. Applied it thinly with a cloth, but once it started building up, I kept going to see what it would do. Must have had 15 - 20 coats over the course of a couple of weeks or so.

sr500refin01.thumb.jpg.2f14e6360a19dd38ca54df548a1b731d.jpg

Quite pleasantly taken aback at how glossy it turned out, thought it would be more subtle.

So I'm thinking now of using different techniques on the through-neck, using Danish for both areas but slurry/impregnating the neck. There will be a build dairy for this, once I get around to starting.

@Bassassin Is this Danish or Tru-oil?  If Danish, exactly which one?

If it is Danish Oil then I'm surprised you were able to get such an obvious build.  Here's a mahogany tele with multiple coats of Liberon Superior Danish Oil.  I found that after a few (may 5 or 6?) there was really no point in going much further, it wasn't building at all and it wasn't adding to the 'depth' of the finish, so I stopped.  

IMG-20190711-091952961-1.jpg

One problem is that most finishes give you little clue as to what is actually in them.  Most of them that are called 'Oils', are in fact varnishes.  Really all you can do is try out each individual finish on scrap to see whether it provides the finish you like.  

@Andyjr1515 uses a 'slurry sand' technique which is really designed to seep into the wood (albeit to only to a tiny extent), and harden the wood itself.  The slurry sanding fills in the grain but there isn't much build of finish on surface of the wood itself.  This gives a natural feeling finish.  The 'oil' finishes which are in fact varnishes, or varnish-like, (like Tru Oil and the Danish Oil used by @Bassassin in the photo above) can be used for this type of minimalist finish, or they can built up to give layer of finish on the surface of the wood itself.  Tru oil can be built up in this way to give a completely gloss finish, or as I've done in my Tele at the beginning of this thread I've gone half way.  It's definitely building a layer of finish on top of the wood, but I haven't gone completely gloss.  There was a builder called 'Quarter' who built lap steel guitars and used Tru oil to get a shiny finish that from the photos looks much like nitro.  

The nice thing about the slurry sand technique is that you use the same stuff to finish and grain fill.  So no worries about compatability etc.  

@Andyjr1515 Can I ask why you've moved to DO for necks?

 

Ronseal Hardglaze and the 'slurry sand' technique also works very well, and I think is probably my preferred choice for necks if you want a hard, satin finish.  It doesn't feel like wood as it does build on the surface, but it's smooth and 'cool' to the the touch.  Polyurethane is harder than oil finishes, as I understand.  You do have to thin it with white spirit, and it maybe itsn't as instantly easy as tru oil....

 

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You can get a good build up with Danish oil, we used to get something similar to French polish with it. We used Rustins. A couple or three coats just wet and let it soak in before wiping it off just to seal then after that put it on quite wet but nowhere near flooded and leave it for about 20 minutes until it started getting slightly tacky then using the same cloth you put it on with rub over it a bit like using a French polishing rubber until it was a smear free then let it dry overnight. Depending on the wood about 5 - 10 coats. The trick is getting the tackiness right before polishing, tackiness probably isn't the right word, thickening is probably what I mean

Maintenance, just the occasional wipe with teak oil

Edit, no sanding at all apart from an occasional denib before a coat

Edited by Christine
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1 hour ago, honza992 said:

@Andyjr1515 Can I ask why you've moved to DO for necks?

Hi, John

I found that after around a year of playing, the backs of the necks on my own guitars and basses would sometimes start to feel slightly rough to the thumb in the heavily used areas .  Only needed a brief rubbing with micro-web to return to its silky smoothness but I talked to a few folks who use the same slurry and buff technique but with a decent quality Danish Oil (like the Liberon you use) and they find that it tends to resist this 'feature' a touch better.  So far, I think it probably does, but I think it does depend on the Danish Oil being used.  The other time I would use it is with very light woods where I find that the Danish doesn't tint the wood quite as much as Tru-oil.  But it's fine - tuning...Tru-oil remains my choice for most other tasks :)

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