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Tru oil finish?
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Matt Grieshop

Total Topics: 6
Total Posts: 27
Has anyone here tried tru oil finish/varnish (or a similar tung oil finish)?

Is the final product as delicate as French Polish or tougher (I realize it is not as hard as a lacquer)?

Can anyone share their experience?

Also LMI suggests using a waterbase pore filler for varnishes (microbead paste filler) is there any reason why an epoxy won't work here or for that matter why a microbead paste filler wouldn't work under KTM-9 or Nitro????

I'm a long way from finishing (a guitar at least) but have a few unfinished carpentry projects around the house I thought I might practice on.....none will require filling though (they are all pine).

Thanks,

Matt.

Jun 06, 06 | 11:26 am
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
Matt,

Bill Cory's 000 guitar that appears when you log onto kitguitarbuilder.com is a tru-oil finish. Seems very impressive to me, although Bill will say that it is more a reflection of his photography skills.

Bill tells us he is currently working on a KTM-9 finish. I may be mistaken, but I think he said that he is doing it to get a 'harder' finish than Tru-Oil provides.

I look at the picture of Bill's Tru-Oil 000 and think 'that's for me'. The I read about wiping varnish and think that's it. Then I read a post by the KTM-9 crowd and think it's the one.

Bottom line is I suspect any of the above (and others) will give a great finish. The challenge is to just commit to one; not as easy as it sounds!


ejko

Jun 06, 06 | 2:29 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Ed -- you are SO right there. I decided on the current 000 I'm working on, that I'd go with KTM-9 (Yes, because it's a harder finish .) Well, I started today, having done all the other stuff I was putting off -- and I'm not optimistic.

It's hot here and the humidity is low. For the latest coat (I'm putting it on by hand) I moved everything into my indoor basement room, that I keep humidified. It's 45% in there, and about 70º, and the latest coat seemed to go on better than the first coat. I had to sand, etc., before I could go to the second coat.

TruOil is easier than KTM-9, in my experience. I just hope this stuff works, though. I'll report back with either aaargh or yahoo ... or shrug.

Bill

Jun 07, 06 | 1:39 pm
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
Bill,

Just curious about your Tru-Oil experience. What does it look like around the rosette... I would think the abalone and/plastic would react differently than the wood.

Thanks!

ejko

PS: That Miata sure looks like a lot of fun, especially cruising the canyons in your area. It's a shame when we have to give up one hobby for another.

Jun 07, 06 | 4:43 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Ed -- around the rosette looks about the same as everywhere else. the top, including the fiber herringbone rosette ring (no abalone in it) and the plastic bindings and fiber herringbone purfling, etc., were all sealed with 1 lb cut of Zinnsers clear waxed shellac, so they all took the finish about the same.

Also -- probably germaine to this -- I finished and sanded completely off three times before I was able to get a finish that I could live with. (Lots of practice on one little guitar.)

The TruOil is a good finish, and easy to do. I thought it might be a little soft, so I added one coat of oil-based wiping polyethylene from Home Depot. It looks okay, but the finish is still not very hard.

I'm somewhat encouraged on the KTM-9. After the first day (four coats) it is crystal clear, looks pretty thick. I'll sand it back to a flat look, wipe with a damp cloth with DNA, and do four more coats today.

Any of you guys who have used KTM9 (Pat Foster? Robbie?), did you sand it level right after the very last coat, or did you wait until the finish had cured for a couple of weeks, and then sand it level?

Bill

Jun 08, 06 | 7:24 am
Dennis Weatherly

Total Topics: 73
Total Posts: 651
Bill -- Mike Doolin recommends not doing anything to the final coat for about two weeks. He did some test panels where he sanded and rubbed out the finish after differing wait times. He said that there was significant shrinking into the grain if he sanded/rubbed less than a week after the final coat, and some sinking was even noticable if he waited a few days longer. Two weeks seemed to be his magic number. I waited three weeks on my bass and have not seen any sinking of the finish at all.

Of course, it helps to leave on a 2 week business trip right after you spray the final coat :-)

I will be interested to see and hear about your results with padded on KTM-9. I may try that approach on my next project.

Jun 08, 06 | 7:56 am
patfoster

Total Topics: 5
Total Posts: 45
Bill,

My experience with KTM9 amounts to exactly one guitar, but I sanded about three weeks after the last application (padded). All that time, the guitar was kept at around 70 deg, with an oscillating fan blowing on it, because the fan had made a big difference in the time to touch dry. Whether it made a difference over that three weeks I have no idea.

Now, after 6 months, there is an almost imperceptible amount of shrinkage in the pores of the EIR back and sides. None on the mahogany neck.

Pat

Jun 08, 06 | 1:30 pm
Robbie O'Brien

Total Topics: 38
Total Posts: 110
Bill,
you want the last coat of KTM9 ( or any product for that matter) to go on as smooth as possible. Especially if it is a reactive finish where the danger exists of sanding through layers when leveling and getting "witness lines" In Colorado when using KTM9 I like to wait 10 - 14 days before leveling and buffing

Jun 09, 06 | 5:10 am
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
I am brand new to this forum so forgive me if I step on anyone's toes. I would like to weigh in on the Tru-Oil discussion. I was in the gunsmithing business for about 25 years as a second job and learned how good TO can actually be. If applied correctly, it does provide quite a hard finish that is difficult to destroy and easy to repair.

First of all, TO is available in two convenient sizes in the rub-on variety (and some giant containers, also) and two sizes in the spray can. I always buy the smallest bottle of rub-on because it oxidizes reapidly due to its high content of Japan drier. Conversely, I buy the 13 ounce can of spray because it is a little more cost-effective.

My technique with gunstocks has always been to apply the number of coats of rub-on, necessary to fill the pores, wet sanding with turpentine and 320-400 grit paper between coats, sanding down to the wood (barely). The pores will stand out as shiny dots. When all the dots have disappeared, the pores are filled. Then I spray 3-4 light coats directly from the can, using a tack rag and being sure to spray in a dust-free atmosphere. The results have always been spectacular, usually requiring a rubdown with rottenstone to take the high gloss shine off the stock. Incidentally, I use a sealer of shellac before starting with the TO.

About 25 years ago, just for grins, I bought a unfinished white pine (read soft wood) bedside table and finished it as described above. I am here to tell you that the table is still in use and the finish has never been damaged by soda, coffee, snacks, beer, other alcohol or damaged in any way other than the time I dropped the clock radio on it. I find the finish to be quite hard if allowed to cure properly.

Incidently, I have a fine HVLP Apollo spray system for shooting lacquer or poly, but I do NOT thin bottled TO to spray it. I have tried it and the result does not cure properly for me, using mineral oil or any similar thinners. I have come to believe that the formulation of the spray-can versioin is a bit different from the bottled variety.

I have begun to use TO on the guitars I make instead of water-borne lacquer (which I like very much also) simply because the luster and feel of the instrument finished with TO appeals to me.

If you want to see something really sparkle, finish your instrument with TO and then go back over it with that prepared, one-step french polish. It is fairly easy and gives a shine to the instrument that you wouldn't believe. Also, it is easy to repair if some damage occurs.

Frankly, I had never thought about using TO for the necks, as I have been using lacquer all along. Now, I must try it.

Jun 22, 06 | 10:48 am
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
I should say that my previous remarks concerning Tru-Oil had to do with the backs and sides of the instrument. For the spruce tops I use, a shellac sealer, then very thin sprays of TO, just enough to bring out the luster and still leave a film when I block sand it with 500-600. After that I do a french polish until I get the shine that the top deserves. Once again, this is a fantastic finish for several reasons, it is varnish, not a synthetic and it can be easiy repaired if you spill your martini on it.

Jun 23, 06 | 7:26 am
Cameron Reddy

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 20
Some company from Canada finishes with oil, and I'd swear it lets the wood sound better. Can anyone comment on how the oil might effect the sound?
Anyone use Waterlox?

Jun 23, 06 | 9:34 am
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
Try not to think of it as oil - rather it is a varnish very close to that used on ancient violins. The wood is not going to become oil soaked, so the issue is one of protecting the wood and appearance, rather than one of tone.

Jun 23, 06 | 1:03 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Cameron -- I have a can of Waterlox (gloss) and haven't used it yet. The guy who sold it to me (at a Woodcraft store) gave me some hints -- don't shake the can -- when applying it, do additional coats over an almost-dry (but still wet) coat, do three coats. It looked good on his dulcimer, but I don't know how this stuff would effect the sound.

Jun 24, 06 | 4:39 am
Cameron Reddy

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 20
Bill,

I've used Waterlox a bit on woodworking projects, including a couple of floors I installed. I haven't looked to see if I can post a couple of pictures. If I can, you will see that you can get anything from a thin, "in the wood" sheen, to an almost glass surface. Some folks over at http://www.forums.woodnet.net/ have posted pictures at various times for anyone interested. It's a very active woodworking site and quite informative.

Jun 24, 06 | 7:01 am
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
dbaseman,

Thanks a bunch for sharing your process. A few questions...

1. Do you use sanding sealer at all, or just go with the shellac?
2. Do you dilute the shellac, or use it straight? Spray or brush?
3. Do you find white or orange shellac to be better, or is just a color preference?
4. When you wet sand the initial coats, is it the TO filler or TO you are using?
5. How long do you wait before using the off-the-shelf french polish?

Regards,

ejko

Jun 24, 06 | 7:08 am
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
Hi ejko,

The shellac becomes the sealer for me. Recently, I have been using the Zinsser Bullseye French Polish right out of the can to seal. I'm sure I could thin it a bit with denatured alcohol, but it works for me, as prepared. I usually rub on a couple or three coats, right from the bottle (can) until it begins to gloss out. Then sand it lightly to remove any major swirls or bumps and start with TO. I know there is a TO filler and actually have some, but I find the TO, itself, works for me and I am loathe to change. I like to let the final coat of sprayed-on TO cure for about a week before I do the final french polish.

Hope this is useful to you.

Tom

Jun 24, 06 | 8:36 am
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
Tom,

Thanks so much. This is great insight!

ejko (Ed)

Jun 24, 06 | 3:14 pm
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
I'm getting ready to start finishing with TO followed by the french polish method tomlang describes above. When doing some additional reading, I found that Kinkead (in his book) does not pore fill when doing an oil finish.

Anyone have experience not pore filling when using TO? After reading all of the tales of woe on this forum re' filling pores, it got me to wondering whether an unfilled finish is better than a poorly filled one.

Thanks!

Ed

Jul 14, 06 | 3:01 am
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
Hi ejko,

When using TO for a finish (other than the top of the guitar), I let the TO do the filling. I apply the stuff right out of the bottle with my fingers, wet sand it down to the wood using 320/400. After sanding, you can see the TO in the pores as shiny little dots. I repeat this process until the dots disappear (once the pores are filled, they sand down to the same level as the wood - no dots - no pores. Only then do I start to build up a finish. Most of the time I use turpentine to wet sand or mineral spirits (paint thinner) if don't have turpentine on hand.

Jul 14, 06 | 5:36 am
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
tomlang,

Thanks for the quick response! I've done my first coat as suggested (preceded by a Zinnser French Polish seal coat).

How many coats does it typically take to completely fill the pores?

Thanks!

Ed

Jul 14, 06 | 5:48 pm
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
It depends a heck of a lot on the wood, but you can expect at least 3 to 4 coats. When you wipe on the coats, it is a good idea to try to work it in a bit with your hand. I think the heat generated by this helps it get down into the pores better. While it isn't absolutely necessary, after the pores are filled, if you can use the spray can of TO to build up the finish in light coats, you do get a beautiful, easy to gloss, finish.

Jul 15, 06 | 5:51 am
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
tomlang,

Thanks again! I'm two coats into the neck, and it looks fantastic. I'll want to take some of the gloss off the area my hand will ride on. You mentioned rottenstone. I've never used this. I assume you make a paste somehow and rub it on the gloss finish? Is 0000 steel wool an equal option?

Ed

Jul 15, 06 | 12:42 pm
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
The 0000 steel wool is a little more aggressive and I think it is what you will want to use for deglossing the back of the neck. I have not figured out how to get a true satin finish with TO but someone I know swears by steel wool and a touch of acetone. I have not had the guts to try it since I know the acetone will certainly take a wicked toll on the finish if you don't know what you are doing.

Jul 15, 06 | 2:50 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Ed and Tom -- I use TruOil on two necks and rubbed it to a satin with just 0000 steel wool. It worked fine all over the neck and the action is fast.

Jul 16, 06 | 4:27 am
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
Hi Bill,

I also use steel wool 0000 to degloss necks when I finish with TO. When I think of satin finish, though, I think of the satin finish that Martin uses on their necks. I can get that look and feel when I shoot with satin lacquer, but I don't know a way to get there with TO. I don't worry about it anyway because the TO neck feels so good. (I have a Martin D45 with a glossy neck and I tend to avoid the guitar because that glossy neck gets sticky after playing for a little while.)

Jul 16, 06 | 4:58 am
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
Once again, thanks guys!

I am really loving this TruOil product. Put the third coat on the neck and it is just stunning (IMHO). I used my fingers to apply the oil as tomlang suggests, and rubbed pretty hard. The finish is flat and even.

It's off to the hardware store to pick up some 0000.

Regards,

Ed

Jul 16, 06 | 6:06 am
ms960

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 107
tomlang -- couple questions for you, as I'm getting very close to starting to finish my guitar.

You state that you have used Tru-Oil as a finish for both the body and top of your guitars. For the back/sides, do you use a pore filler before using TO? Do you seal the back/sides with shellace also? What steps do you take for the back/sides? How do you spray on a coat of TO finish?

You also said that you use a shellac sealer on the top, then thin sprays of TO, and then do a french polish. Again, I'd be interested in as many details on this process as possible.

I bought some KTM-9 but the thought of a TO finish appeals to me, but I have heard that the TO can soak into the spruce top and cause sound dampening. My goal is a satin finish on the neck and body -- can this be achieved with TO? The KTM-9 was the satin finish. I know there are other brush-on satin finish laquers -- are they any good?

Any help and insight would be greatly appreciated.

Mark

Jul 18, 06 | 5:30 am
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
ms960,

I've been following tomlang and Bill Cory's advice on using TruOil and so far I am very pleased with the results.

I hand rub the oil in with my fingers after a shellac seal of top/back/sides. As tomlang suggests, I've sanded the wet oil using paint thinner as a lubricant and this is gradually filling the pores.

Using your fingers to rub the oil finish on results in a remarkable high gloss finish. I completed my neck, and per some advice above, used 0000 synthetic steel wool to take the area where my hands will be from gloss to satin. Was very easy to achieve. In fact, I liked it so much I did the entire neck (headstock and all) that way, then used the 'white' synthetic steel wool to bring back a nice luster where I wanted it.

I'm admittedly a novice at this, but I'm really pleased with the results I'm getting with TruOil.

This is almost sacrilegious on this site, but I'm tempted to not completely fill all the pores on the back and sides (still unsure). The 'real wood' look of a slightly open surface has its own appeal. It would be great if Robbie O'Brien could weigh in on this.

Ed


Jul 18, 06 | 4:38 pm
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
ms960

I tried to respond to this yesterday but as luck would have it, I managed to dump it all into the bit bucket while I was running the spell check. Let me try again.

When using TO, I let the TO do the filling. I apply the stuff right out of the bottle with my fingers, rub it in with my hand to generate a little heat and push the TO down into the pores. After each coat dries, I wet sand it back down to the wood using 320/400. After sanding, you can see the TO in the pores as shiny little dots. I repeat this process until the dots disappear (once the pores are filled, they sand down to the same level as the wood - no dots - no pores. Only then do I start to build up a finish. Most of the time I use turpentine to wet sand or mineral spirits (paint thinner) if don't have turpentine on hand.

There is no need to worry about putting TO on the top of the guitar. It won’t soak in any more than the varnish that many luthiers use on a regular basis. TO is no more penetrating than fiddle varnish. With respect to the satin finish, 0000 steel wool will get you there.

I seal everything with shellac. If I have the time and/or inclination, I would use a 1# cut of shellac. Lately, I have been using the Zinsser Bullseye French Polish right out of the can to seal. It is more costly, of course, but it is also ready to go when you are and handy as can be.

The french polish technique is somewhat involved, not difficult, but will take several pages to completely describe - especially the traditional way, using shellac, oil, alcohol, pumice, rottenstone and all that. I would suggest you follow the directions on the can of Zinsser's. It will give you as good a finish as you are willing to put into the effort. Also, I would recommend http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/shows_dhmm/episode/0,2046,DIY_16997_31920,00.html . This will take you to information about a 4-part series of programs, showing a professional luthier build a type D28 guitar, including french polish.

I can't speak to brush on water-based lacquer. I haven't tried it - in fact I haven’t used a brush-on finish in many years. IMHO, even a cheap spray outfit is better than a brush. Failing that, the aerosol cans of nitro cellulous lacquer are a decent way to go.

Hope this helps.

Tom

Jul 19, 06 | 4:59 am
ms960

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 107
tomlang -- thanks very much for that additional info. I'm pretty close to deciding to go this route myself. One final question -- do you use the TO as a pore filler on the body of the guitar as well? I have a mahogany body, with some decent pores. Would the TO be sufficient by itself?

Thanks much!

Jul 19, 06 | 5:29 am
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
ms960,

Absolutely. The spruce top is not porous, so it needs no filling. The TO is perfect for mahogany or rosewood. It is also good for padauk which is what I am working with right now. I would not use anything else to fill if you are going to use a TO finish.

Tom

Jul 19, 06 | 5:36 am
ms960

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 107
Tom -- Again, thanks very much. Does the TO finish go on thick enough to provide enough protection for the spruce top and keep it somewhat safe from small scratches, etc.? I know a lacquer finish is thick enough to provide protection, but what is your experience with TO's protective abilities on the top?

Mark

Jul 19, 06 | 5:41 am
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
Mark,

Given time to dry, the TO will be very hard. Weather it is just as hard or harder than lacquer, I don't know. I have no way to test. However, it will become hard and very serviceable. As I said in my June 22 post, "About 25 years ago, just for grins, I bought a unfinished white pine (read soft wood) bedside table and finished it as described above. I am here to tell you that the table is still in use and the finish has never been damaged by soda, coffee, snacks, beer, other alcohol or damaged in any way other than the time I dropped the clock radio on it. I find the finish to be quite hard if allowed to cure properly."

If you have worries about its strength or hardness, finish a little piece of scrap wood and let it dry for a week and see what you think.

Tom

Jul 19, 06 | 8:31 am
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
Whether (duh)

Jul 20, 06 | 5:10 am
ms960

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 107
Tom,

Thanks very much for the info and help. My finishing supplies should arrive today, so I'm going to start on this very soon. I appreciate the assistance and will keep all posted here.

Mark

Jul 20, 06 | 5:21 am
Larry Reitz

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 14
Tom,

I am building a Rosewood/spruce jumbo and I am intrigued by the tru-oil finish you describe. When you say that you finish with a one-step French polish to get the sparkle I am concerned that it won’t be clear. What product do you use? Can't you just buff the tru-oil to get it shiny?

Jul 28, 06 | 11:38 am
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
A good experience to share...

I finished my OM using TruOil per Tom's directions above. I used my fingers to force it into the pores, then sanded back. Repeated this 4 times. I then used 00 followed by 0000 synthetic steel wool to take it back to a very smooth satin finish. This left a very nice finish that many would probalby consider 'done'. Next, I diluted the TruOil by adding about 20% Mineral Spirits. I then used an old tee shirt to create a 'ball' and wiped on a coat of the diluted TruOil. It returned a nice, but not overpowering, gloss.

This applies to the neck, sides and back. Once I glue on the bridge, I'll be trying the diluted TruOil over a Zinnser shellac base for the top. I'll also take the neck back to a satin finish for a non-'sticky' feel when playing.

Ed

Jul 29, 06 | 3:15 pm
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
A good experience (continued)...

After pondering the finish I described above, I've decided I like the satin finish better than the full gloss. I used the synthetic steel wool as described above. I then used the 'white' synthetic steel wool (no abrasive) to get a nice polish. A rub with a microfiber cloth shined it up a bit more.

I read on one of the forums about an instrument wax (can't recall the name). I'm not sure I will need it, but I might experiment with it.

Anyone have any experiece with this?

Again, the above pertains to the sides and back. Also, this is my first build so don't take anything I offer as anything more than the observations of an inexperienced newbee.

Ed

Jul 30, 06 | 6:46 am
mishmannah

Total Topics: 16
Total Posts: 67
Where can I get Tru Oil in the UK?

I really want to use this as a finish. I have heard it does not compromise tone, as it sits on the surface of the guitar wood.

Jul 30, 06 | 7:20 am
jhowell

Total Topics: 37
Total Posts: 676
Tru Oil is made by Birchwood-Casey and was formulated for finishing gun stocks. It is available through LMI, but I don't know if it can be shipped by air. You might try store/businesses in Britain that specialize in shotguns for the skeet/trap shooters.

--Jim

Jul 30, 06 | 8:32 am
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
mismanna,

If you cannot locate it in UK, TruOil can be ordered directly from Birchwood Casey, but there might be some difficulty in getting them to ship internationally - who knows. A superb mailorder source that I use all the time is <url>brownells.com<url/>. They are a gunsmith supply house but they carry TruOil in several sizes, including two sizes of the aerosol version.

Jul 30, 06 | 10:31 am
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
crap. make that brownells.com

Jul 30, 06 | 10:34 am
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
Larry Reitz,
Very sorry for the delay in responding. Have been backing up my system and it takes quite a while these days.

I understand your concern in not coloring yoru wood - but the product I use for my french polish is about as clear as it gets. In fact it has no more tint in it than the TruOil.

I use the Zinsser Bullseye French Polish for sealer as well as the final finish - most of the time. I usually thin the Zinsser with denatured alcohol for sealing purposes - 3 or 4 quick coats, wiped on with a rag. Then after sanding smooth, start with the TruOil.

Yes, you can get a very nice gloss with TruOil and while I don't power buff it, a hand rubout can be beautiful. ------ However ----- I do not like to put that much Tru Oil or varnish on the soundboard of an instument. I do the sealing, as above, then spray on 3 or 4 very light coats of TruOil to make sure I have leveled the surface. This is wet sanded until it is dull and I then start the french polish. French polish is very beautiful but also very thin so it does not materially affect the tone or sustain of the top.

I would not recommend using only TruOil on the soundboard as it would be easy to get it too thick and dampen the sound somewhat.

Hope this helps,
Tom

Jul 30, 06 | 10:46 am
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
One more time

brownells.com

Jul 30, 06 | 10:48 am
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
Finished up the Tru-Oil finish of my rosewood back and sides. I'd say my satisfaction with the final job (my first) is about a 7 - 8 out of 10. From just about every angle, it looks great, but at a certain angle I can see some variation in the finish gloss.

I did 5 coats, 000 synthetic steel wool between coats, and then smoothed the final coat with micromesh, ending with 8000 grit.

Any advice for next time, or is this typical?

Ed

Jul 31, 06 | 4:37 pm
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
ejko

In my experience, I don't see a variation in the luster or gloss unless I have varied the treatment in some way. Chances are, you have rubbed through the finish in a place or two, which is showing up as slightly different from the rest.

As I recall, you are shooting for a satin-like finish. If you want to experiment a bit more, you might steel wool the whole thing down a little and shoot another ample coat onto the guitar. Let it dry for a few days and then try rubbing compound - the red stuff you can get at the auto parts store. Don't be too aggressive with your rubbing so you won't cut through the last coat. Then use the white polishing compound.

Did you mean 8000 grit or 800? If it was 8000, it will be hard to get a satin finish afterwards.

Tom

Jul 31, 06 | 8:33 pm
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
tomlang,

You're absolutely right. Appears in my zeal to get to a satin finish I removed all of the TruOil in some areas.

I put on another coat of Tru Oil and I must admit it looks real good with the gloss. Maybe this is because I put it over the 8000 grit finish?

I've got a few spots where I must have sanded through the most that still appear to have taken the TruOil a bit differently. Do you think another coat or two will do it, or do I need to re-seal these with shellac?

Thanks for your patience as I work my way through this!

Ed

Aug 01, 06 | 1:37 pm
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
Ed.

There should be no need to reseal unless you went all the way down to the wood. Rub a damp cloth over the surface. If that process raises wood fibers, then I would reseal that or those areas. I don't think I caught whether you are using the liquid TO or spray version, but I strongly recommend the spray-on for the last few coats - like after all the pores are filled.

It may be that you did not sand all the way through. Think about this - if you used 280 or 320 grit between coats of TO and 8000 on the top coat, you only needed to sand though the top coat in a place or two to experience a different "texture" after rubbing it out.

One of the great things about TO is that you can fix a bad spot or spots without stripping all the finish off the guitar.

Best Regards,
Tom

Aug 01, 06 | 6:20 pm
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
Thanks, Tom.

I put a coat on this morning and another earlier this evening. Boy, does it look nice!!! I am a happy man!

I think I'm out of the woods on this and again want to thank you for all your support and guidance.


Ed

Aug 02, 06 | 2:53 pm
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
Ed,

Try to let the new coats dry for several days and let it "gas-out" and get harder before you start working it down to the finish you are looking for.

I think you will be pleased with the result.

Tom

Aug 02, 06 | 4:50 pm
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
Back and sides came out excellent!!! I originally was going to take it back to a satin look, but I've now decided I'm staying with the gloss finish; several people have commented "I can't believe that finish is not from a factory!". I'll probalby use some 0000 on the neck, but nowhere else.

Now, the top is another story. I used a seal coat of shellac, followed by a thin coat of TruOil. Then I started with Zinnsers BullsEye french polish. It must be a technique thing, but after 3 coats of Zinnsers, I was really disappointed. You could see the flow lines from using circular passes. I tried using more and less denatured alcohol on the pad, but nothing was satisfactory to me. So after a few days of curing, I sanded it back and am going to go with a TruOil finish.

This experience mimics my experience with the back and sides. When all was said and done, using a pad to apply the final several coats of TruOil resulted in a great finish. I hope I'm able to report that about the top after I get a few coats on it.

I also now realize why finishing first and then scraping back for the bridge makes sense, at least when wiping on a finish. It's really hard to get a uniform coat around the bridge!

Ed

Aug 10, 06 | 5:31 pm
ms960

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 107
Ed - funny as you're still a step ahead of me. I finished my back and sides with TruOil, and was going to go with a satin, but like you, will probably keep it glossy. I'm pretty impressed with the finish I got from TruOil. Probably not as good as a nitro finish, but for a rank amateur, darned good.

I'm going to start on the top tomorrow, and was considering lacquer and poly, but will probably just do a TruOil finish so it matches the back and sides.

Let me know how your top turns out.

Cheers,
Mark

Aug 10, 06 | 8:04 pm
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
I have never been happy with a top finished with only varnish. The same could be said of TruOil. If you build up a sufficient coating to be the final finish, it will be beautiful; but will the finish diminish the performance of the top's acoustic properties? Only you can tell. Some of the finest violins have been finished with nothing more than varnish or linseed oil (TruOil is an improved version of linseed oil). No one could quarrel with that.

OTOH, the finish developed with a french polish is unsurpassed in beauty and the thinnest coating that can be applied - much, much thinner than the typical nitro finish. To do a good FP, requires a lot of time and a lot of work compared to a quickie finish that looks good but not as excellent as a FP can be.

Even though the bottled FP from Zinnsers makes the job less complicated, adherence to the tried and true FP techniques make for the best possible results. I located an excellent primer on FP at http://www.milburnguitars.com/fpintro.html[/url] There is also an excellent video on FP that can be rented at http://technicalvideorental.com/index.php?main_page=index

This is a most excellent reference and cost-free. Kudos to the host and writer.

Tom

P.S. Just to set the record straight, I do not always use TO and FP. Soem instruments are simply not worth the investment of that amout of time. I often use water-borne lacquer with good results. It all depends on the instrument and what the market will bear. But for a guitar I am going to keep, I devote a lot of time getting it just right - which means I don't coat it with lacquer or polyurethene.

Aug 11, 06 | 5:15 am
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
The first link in the above message doesn't work because I failed to put a close-bracket "]" in the right place. I miss my larger screen that is down for the count. Sorry.

Tom

Aug 11, 06 | 5:19 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Hi Tom -- This is a great wealth of info you are providing. Many thanks! I've been reading right along and had nothing to add. Now I have a question.

Querstion: In order for TruOil to be as hard as you said it is on your nightstand, how long does each coat need to cure, and how long overall before you do the FP?

I ask because the TO finish I used on my first guitar is not really "hard" in the same sense a nitro lacquer gets hard. It isn't mushy, but a light fingernail still makes a mark. I allowed each coat to dry for 24 hours. Not long enough? Adequate? ...

Thanks -- Bill

Aug 11, 06 | 4:02 pm
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
Hello Bill, As is the case in all finishes, it depends on the humidity, temperature and the TO. I have bought some TO, particularly that in bottles, that was clearly old and required several days for each day to cure. On the other hand, some fresh spray TO will harden sufficiently in 24 hours. TO dries and hardens more slowly than lacquer but the chemical action is pretty much the same. It dries from the top --> down. So --

Not only does it need to harden but also it needs to "de-gas" (release the solvents in the TO). Here is where it begins to sound silly -- if I put my nose up very, very close the finish, I think I can smell when the TO doesn't smell strong. Then it should be ready for the next coat. I have to emphasize that the rub-on variety takes longer than the spray. That is the reason I use the rub-on only to fill the pores and switch to spray, thereafter. Once I am satisfied that I have enough coats on the instruments to call it "done". I let it sit for a couple of weeks before I do anything else - even longer if I am going to seriously buff it.

In truth it will continue to dry, harden and de-gas for several weeks after I have finished with it and I feel like it is ready to be handled and played. But the same is true of lacquer, as evidenced by lacquer drying and flaking off more and more as the years go by. TO will outlast lacquer, but none of us may be around to prove it. I have to point to the violins that are hundreds of years old and still retain most of their varnish in spite of years of handling and use by numerous folks.

I hope this helps. I look forward to seeing pictures of your finished TO guitar.

Regards, Tom

Aug 11, 06 | 7:35 pm
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
Bill,

In my extensive experience of finishing the rosewood back and sides of one guitar, I found the cured TO finish to be similar to varnishes I've used in the past on other projects. To me, it seems pretty hard, at least to the point that a fingernail scratch would not leave a mark.

Different batches of TO maybe?

Ed

Aug 12, 06 | 6:31 am
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
Mark (MS960),

Tomlang has not steered me wrong yet, so I took to heart what he said in the post a few up from this one. I had started with TruOil for the top, but then sanded it back down to the original shellac sealer. I then finished the top with Deft Clear Gloss Lacquer in a spray can. I bought this at our local Woodcrafts store; it seems to have a more sophisticated nozzle than other pressurized spray products I've workled with and the results show it. I put down a thin base coat, then followed that up with 4 coats, sanding down with 6000 grit micromesh and a tack cloth between coats. I waited about 45 minutes between coats.

The end result, in my humble opinion, is remarkable. It perfectly complements the TruOiled back and sides.

I suspect Tomlang would prefer the french polish for its 'thinness', but by sanding down between coats, I think I minimized the thickness yet still achieved an end result that I was not able to achieve with French Polish (at my skill level).

Regards (and once again, thanks tomlang!),


Ed

Aug 12, 06 | 3:36 pm
ms960

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 107
Ed,

Wish I read your last post sooner. I did about two coats of TruOil, followed by about two coats of wipee-on poly. I don't know if the wipe-on will give a harder finish, but let's hope. I guess I could always sand it down and try the spray on lacquer.


On a related matter, I'm having a helluva time getting my headstock to look good. I have a rosewood headstock overlay, but cannot get any finish (TruOil, wipe-on poly, Deft brush-on lacquer, and spray nitro) to give decent results. I am always getting streaks and an uneven finish. Today I sanded it down to the bare rosewood and am going to start over. Anyone have suggestions on finishing a rosewood headstock overlay? Why is that so much more difficult than a mahogany body and spruce top?

Regards,
Mark

Aug 12, 06 | 3:52 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Thanks Tom for the timing info, and Ed for your anecdotal evidence .... Interesting that it has been exactly one year today since I finished finishing on my TruOil Triple-O (the one on the home page of www.KitGuitarBuilder.com), and a fingernail will still dent it. According to what Tom said, I did not let it cure sufficiently.

At least it is dry enough that the finish isn't mushy or sticky when it gets warm from my forearm and lots of playing. It still sounds good, too. Next time I'll know.

Mark -- are you using a sealer? A thin clear shellac wash coat might help.

Thanks guys -- Bill

Aug 13, 06 | 3:50 am
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
Mark,

I had no problem with my rosewood headstock veneer and TruOil. As Bill alludes to above, I've read in a number of places that oily woods such as rosewood sometimes need to be sealed first.

I'm no expert, but I think about a 20% dilution (80% Zinnsers/20% denatured alcohol) will do the job. This is what I used on my rosewood, giving it just a single wiped-on coat.

Let us know how your top comes out.

Regards,


Ed

Aug 13, 06 | 11:09 am
Larry Reitz

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 14
I apologize if this question is answered somewhere in this thread, but here goes anyway. If I am going to use TruOil on the top can I attach the bridge and finish around it, or is it still advised to wait to attach it until after the finish is done? It sounds like the Deft spray may be a better alternative and if I do that then I know that I will need to wait to attach the bridge. Just wondering about TruOil process.

Thanks,

Larry

Aug 24, 06 | 9:12 am
tomlang

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 28
It is far better to mask off most of the area where the bridge will go and then do the finish - it will save you a lot of time scraping off the finish down to the wood when the time comes to install the bridge.

I strongly suggest doing it this way because 1) you will never be able to get a good finish around an installed bridge when you rub on the finish; and 2) if you spray the top, you won't be able to mask off te bridge adequately - At least, I never could.

Best of luck,
Tom

Aug 24, 06 | 1:44 pm
Larry Reitz

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 14
Thanks, Tom

I appreciate the advice.

Larry

Aug 24, 06 | 1:58 pm
WiKur

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 2
Tom-......Or anyone else,

I am just starting to pore fill my zebrawood guitar with Tru Oil. How many coats do you think are necessary and how long should I wait between coats? Also, do you think the Tru oil would pore fill an indian rosewood neck?
Any tips are much appreciated.

Thanks,
Will

Apr 29, 10 | 12:35 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I have used tru-oils pore filler, and have had to add silica to it for the 2nd and 3rd coats in order tog et it to sand level. I was in a rush to get these mine finished for various reasons, and did not do as good a job as I should have on surface prep. Sand to the highest grit you can. I also like to build a few layers of sanding sealer as a quick builder, and then very lightly sand it level. You might get away with half the truoil coats then. If you are using the spray type tru-oil, expect 20 coats, with 24 hours between each coat. It gets tacky in seconds, but stays that way for at least 18-20 hours. Spray a coat on, maybe a quarter of the guitar at a time, and hand rub it in with just your fingers. After a few good smooth coats, it applies with a perfectly polished sheen, almost no need for buffing later.

If you are using the bottled oil, it stays thicker, and dries in hour or less. You can probably get away with half the coats. I just can't seem to find anything but the spray lately at the sprts stores. Need to try a gun shop.

Apr 29, 10 | 1:00 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Wow, I need to learn to type a little better!

Apr 29, 10 | 2:15 pm
WiKur

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 2
Ken-
Thanks for the advice. I went ahead and started pore filling with the bottled tru oil, just rubbing it in with my fingers. We'll see how that turns out. As for the bottled oil, I found an abundance of it at Dick's Sporting Goods, a big chain store out here in Colorado. Good luck in your search.


Apr 29, 10 | 3:43 pm



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