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How about Tru Oil as an upgrade option?
Ken Cierp

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This is part of a mag review off the Kinkade web site:

Although you can get this model in matt lacquer, what you can see from the photos is the painstakingly produced, hand-rubbed oil finish on this particular guitar. While not as protective as polyurethane, polyester or nitrocellulose, its visual and tonal advantages outweigh these shortcomings. The key is in the way the wood is prepared prior to application. After the normal progression from scraper to extremely fine (1200 grade) wet and dry paper, Kinkead moves on to micro-mesh paper invented for polishing Perspex in the aerospace industry āńž which goes up to an incredible 12,000 grade. This produces a mirror-polished surface on the bare wood, normally unnecessary for other finishes. Then several applications of a substance called Tru Oil, normally used in the gun industry, is rubbed in over several days. Finally, after a week of drying, the guitar is buffed to a shine.

This attractive, tonally transparent coating is not only time consuming, but conceals no flaws, gaps or blemishes, so it is even more of a credit to Mr Kinkeadís skills that the Kingsdown is so immaculate.


Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Apr 09, 09 | 8:56 am

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Interesting, Ken. Thanks for posting that.


Apr 10, 09 | 8:25 am

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It sort of makes me want to finish my first one with Tru Oil then... But I suppose the guy who literally wrote the book on guitar building may have better results than little ol' me...

Apr 11, 09 | 4:16 am
Ken Cierp

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Total Posts: 2262
I have never used the stuff -- but yes, it is an interesting take on the product. I should add that no matter what type of finishing product is used, meticulous surface prepartation is required -- defects are NEVER hidden and most likely amplified under the top coatings.


Apr 11, 09 | 5:20 am

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There have been several comments here in the past about Tru-Oil (and other varnishes) potentially dampening tone. I wonder if Mr. Kinkead applies a seal coat first.

George :-)

Apr 12, 09 | 8:02 am
Bill Cory

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George -- you're right about those comments appearing here, but I question them. Since TruOil is partially polymerized (partially "cured" at the factory), it doesn't soak like tung oil and others. I've applied TruOil on bare wood in tests and then sanded it off, and there is so little soaking that I doubt the TruOil dampens tone very much if at all.

Good point though. It should be the norm to apply at least a thin seal coat before finishing. Shellac is my choice for the top. On the back and sides, the seal coat and pore filler keep it from soaking.

Apr 12, 09 | 8:18 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
There is a very interesting article in one of the GAL quarterlies about famed makers Manuel and Alfredo Velazquez. Their stuff was/is impressive enough that Segovia wanted and ordered one -- long story but the deal fell through. Anyway -- their finish of choice is varnish, and surprising linseed oil is not considered a bad thing but rather a good thing and more surprising off the shelf Pratt and Lambert #38 is the product of choice! I don't know who said it, but none the less a very wise observation -- in the guitar making arena we should avoid the use of the word "best".


Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Apr 20, 09 | 5:01 am

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