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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 3:27 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:21 pm
Posts: 50
Hi All,

Trying to do all my homework PRIOR to starting my first kit. I'm currently looking ahead to finishing options. I would prefer a rub-on method that leaves a bare minimum satin finish. In fact, if I thought I could skip the finish entirely I would, as I much prefer a raw, natural wood look and feel. I've seen several options out there. Rub-on satin poly, Tru-oil, Tried & True finish, etc.

Any product recommendations or processes that might yield what I'm looking for, suitable for a first-time builder? The Tru-oil seems to be a gloss option. The Tried & True looks promising--linseed and beeswax--but most people seem to be using it for necks (not sure if it's a penetrating option?). The poly option might work if I could perhaps limit the number of coats to a bare minimum?

Here's a link to the Tried & True:

https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_and_S ... ml#reviews

Any suggestions welcome.


PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:31 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2016 11:58 pm
Posts: 21
I've used Tru-Oil on a number of guitars and will continue. It gets little respect among serious, professional luthiers ("a beginner's finish"), but I find a number of advantages:

-- Tru-Oil can provide a finish ranging from matte to fairly glossy, depending on how many coats of Tru-Oil are applied
-- if the guitar get glossier than you want, a gentle touch with 0 or 00 synthetic "steel wool" will take you back as far as you'd like
-- if you mess up (and I frequently do), a patch/repair is very easy and doesn't show witness lines
-- no spraying equipment or skill is required
-- no power buffing (with dedicated equipment and a risk of catastrophe) is required

I thin the Tru-Oil with naptha (about 60 - 70% Tru-Oil) and apply with my fingers. I originally applied it using coffee filters, but the filter absorbed much of the liquid and my fingers got wet anyhow, so I now bypass the middleman. I wait about 4 hours between very thin coats and sand lightly the next morning, use a tack cloth to clean, and do it again. I get a good semi-gloss finish in three or four days and then let it dry for a couple of days before a final polish with 0000 synthetic.

I generally do not pore fill as I like the texture of the wood to complement the semi-gloss finish. If you're looking for the smooth, glossy finish (note that I carefully did NOT say "plastic") that's so popular, Tru-Oil may not be appropriate. Otherwise, it works well -- at least for me.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:58 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
Posts: 6205
Location: Hegins, Pa
I did a rub on poly that worked out well. You have to have some finish or the guitar will start to sound poorley here is a link to what I had done


John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
president of Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:15 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:21 pm
Posts: 50
Thanks John! You anticipated my next question. I was hoping to avoid the pore fill. I have a couple of Ibanez with open pore finishes and I like the look.

Is there a "minimum" number of coats of Tru-oil I could get by with? (Probably not answerable, but I figured I'd ask anyway.)


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