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Buffing Tru-oil?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by deanr22, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. deanr22

    deanr22 TDPRI Member

    36
    Jul 25, 2012
    North Branch, MN
    What is the best way to buff a tru-oil finish? I have built tru-oil on mahogany tele, I lightly rubbed it out with 0000 steel wool. I tried buffing it with fine cut cleaner but I can't seem to get it real shiny and the compound leaves a residue on the body. So what's the trick to buffing an oil finish?
     

  2. Count

    Count Friend of Leo's

    The trick with Tru-Oil is not to buff it. Each coat should be rubbed back in the same way as if your were French Polishing. In other words the finest grade wire wool you can find then apply the next coat and so on. The final coat should be left as is to give you the final finish. At the most hand rub it with a soft cloth. The number of coats you put on will determine the depth of shine but do not expect a polyester type shine. Buffing an oil finish with anything mechanical will generate heat which will partially melt the oil.
     

  3. Jack FFR1846

    Jack FFR1846 Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 18, 2011
    Hopkinton, MA
    I'm no expert and mostly use tru oil for necks, but with the 1 basswood body I did, I applied 3 thick coats, let it cure and then did the same wet sanding/polish by hand that I do with lacquer.

    [​IMG]
     

  4. Count

    Count Friend of Leo's

    Thick layers work, and give depth, but thin layers built up gradually work even better giving a much greater transparency and feeling of depth, When using traditional french polishing techniques with an oil such a Tru-Oil you get a terrific grain enhancement without the need for cutting back and polishing the final coat. It takes much longer, two days between coats at least, but the results are well worth the effort and time. I use the technique on rifle and shotgun stocks which have originally been coated with linseed oil. The old finish gets soaked out using a heat gun and then metho. The surface is filled, scraped, then rubbed smooth and the layers of Tru-oil applied, up to 8 or 9. The appearance is silky rather than shiny but is like looking at the timber through a sheet of glass.
     

  5. deanr22

    deanr22 TDPRI Member

    36
    Jul 25, 2012
    North Branch, MN
    Can I coat it in poly over the TO after buffing it smooth with the steel wool? At least then I could do a regular wet sand and buff.
     

  6. tommyd73069

    tommyd73069 Tele-Meister

    258
    Dec 21, 2012
    Norman, OK
    Keep adding thin coats and it will level and be beautiful. Each layer refracts the light a little differently and the more there are, the more pop and shimmer you get. A thick clear coat won't show the grain as well.

    Think of a bar top with the poured acrylic over stuff like pictures and labels or the menu. That is the extreme, but if there were multiple layers, the light would polarize in some places and make the menu hard to read. It might look really trippy and wavy, like distorted glass. Which, on wood, is a good thing. It carries light into the grain pattern and bounces it around, sort of like inside a faceted diamond.

    Many properly applied thin layers will always treat the light better than a single thick layer. That's why beautifully hand-rubbed fine furniture is expensive and takes a long time to build. It's not construction, its preparation and finishing that takes so long.

    The opposite is a factory production guitar painted in the newer polys. One thick coat, UV light cured and crystal clear in 15 minutes. It's like looking through glass. The light goes straight in and bounces straight back out. Does nothing to make the figure in the wood pop. If that's the look you want, I'd use a 2 part automotive urethane.

    This is all dependent on your prep before any finish was applied. If it has high spots, low spots or any other spots that need to be wet sanded out, it probably wasn't ready to finish. It must be in final form, before anything is applied. Wet sanding is a very quick task if the prep work was done completely. It should be nothing more than leveling any orange peel. Not leveling the wavy surface of the guitar. Only exceptions being trash or bugs that fall in the wet paint.

    Just my way of thinking. It's still your project and your choice.

    The finish will never fix a problem, it will only change the color and make it more obvious to the trained eye. Isn't that really the guy we all want to admire our work?
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
    TeleAnon likes this.

  7. tap4154

    tap4154 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Southern California

  8. tommyd73069

    tommyd73069 Tele-Meister

    258
    Dec 21, 2012
    Norman, OK

  9. gr81dorn

    gr81dorn Tele-Meister

    335
    Oct 29, 2009
    Central MN - USA
    i usually do like 5-8 thin coats and some light steel wool in between and it comes out perfectly level and glossy and looks deep. I've done it for others and they don't believe it's hand-rubbed oil finish, they are convinced it's spray lacquer. it's easy to get impatient, but if you do it right and take your time, I believe its the best finish there is.
     

  10. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

    I finish it just like laquer. I usually apply around 15 thick coats...letting each dry for a while. Then after a few days of curing, I'll wet sand and polish with the same Meguiar's products I use with regular lacquer.

    Sometimes I will use a little steel wool inbetween coats, but not normally. I have never had any trouble doing it this way, and I get a super high gloss end result. I'll apply a good wax after to protect it.
     

  11. bender66

    bender66 Friend of Leo's

    Jan 18, 2010
    on my bike
    Tru-Oil is one of the few finishes I'm missing. Been using Zinnser amber & tung-oil on a variety, but I like some of the Tru finishes I've seen on here.

    Slightly OT, I just removed a Squier '51 neck off the body to do some fret/nut work. It has some great figuring in it that I would like to bring out. Any recommendations? Buffing wheel & ??? I was tempted to do another amber finish on it after seeing pics with a re-finned neck on the same burst as mine, but if I could get the figuring to jump out more, I'd like to leave it.

    Thanks all.
     

  12. Wileyone

    Wileyone Tele-Holic

    642
    Dec 10, 2011
    Right Coast
    Stock Sheen or Conservators Wax on an heavy Old Wool Sock. Especially on a neck. Rub it in till it actually gets hot. Then sit it in a Sunny Window.
     

  13. bender66

    bender66 Friend of Leo's

    Jan 18, 2010
    on my bike
    Thanks wileyone. I'd had that Stock Sheen window open since post #7.
     

  14. Wileyone

    Wileyone Tele-Holic

    642
    Dec 10, 2011
    Right Coast
    I had also mentioned Conservators Wax which works better than Stock Sheen.

    And please don't forget the Wool Sock applicator. :)
     

  15. Cat MacKinnon

    Cat MacKinnon Friend of Leo's

    Nov 13, 2011
    Colorado
    i don't like Stock Sheen because it gives sort of a satin finish (unless that's what you're going for.) i never had a problem buffing TO out to a high gloss with fine sandpaper (MicroMesh), followed with polishing compound. basically the same process as any other clear finish.

    the thing with TO is that it still takes a few weeks to fully harden, even if it "feels" dry after a couple days. if you don't give it at least a good 2-3 weeks before buffing/polishing, it won't come out as glassy as it could. also, if you try to do all of the finish-sanding and buffing by hand, it'll take forever to get it to a high gloss: it's better to spend a few bucks on a buffing bonnet or if you've got a random orbital sander you can just use the round MicroMesh pads from 1000 up to 12,000. if you go all the way up to 12,000 grit MicroMesh, you often won't even need buffing or polishing compounds.
     

  16. Cat MacKinnon

    Cat MacKinnon Friend of Leo's

    Nov 13, 2011
    Colorado
    ironically, Tru-Oil isn't actually a "true" oil finish. it's a drying varnish that happens to have a little bit of linseed and/or tung oil in it (i forget which one specifically, but it's mostly other stuff anyway.) actual oil finishes either take forever to dry (like, years), or they just don't dry at all: this is good for some things like cutting boards, but they're not very protective finishes at all. they're meant more for waterproofing and keeping wood from drying out, but they don't really protect it from any kind of use or abuse.

    pure tung oil, mineral oil, and (non-boiled) linseed oil typically fall into the category of "non-drying" finishes (even though they can dry out after really long periods of time. they don't harden or cure into a tough finish though.) many of the "oil finishes" that you see these days (like Tru-Oil, Danish Oil, Tung Oil Finish, Teak Oil, etc) are basically varnishes that do dry and harden. some of those don't even contain any of the oil that's named on the can (Teak Oil contains no teak oil, and Danish Oil contains no Danes :D.) some of them are name for the woods that the manufacturer says they'll work well with, but honestly if you compare the MSDS's of them they contain almost identical ingredients! (hint: a lot of those names are simply a little thing called "Marketing" ;).)
     

  17. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    69
    Dec 31, 2009
    Queensland Australia
    Tru Oil

    This is a TO only finish I did a while back. While not glowing in the dark shiny, it shines up the rosewood nicely without leaving all those nasty finger marks. That was about 8-10 coats from memory. I apply the first couple of coats with 800-1000 grit paper which makes a slight slurry to fill the close R/wood grain a touch. After that just the TO and a rub with an old T shirt when properly dry.

    DC
     

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  18. Tele130

    Tele130 TDPRI Member

    62
    Mar 11, 2013
    Milwaukee
    OK, I've read this thread and I'm questioning where to go from here.:confused: This is my Ash body with a final coat of Tru-Oil......it's dry in the pic's. It has some very small bumps in it (dust?). I purchased the 4 different polishing componds from StewMac. I was going to wet sand with 2000 grit paper and the polish.

    Right now I'm letting it dry-cure for a week before I go any further.. Any suggestions? Oh yea, this is my very first build/finishing job.

    Thanks guys:D

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     

  19. blimpo

    blimpo Tele-Meister

    492
    Mar 29, 2009
    southern indiana
    I see nothing wrong with that. It looks great.
     

  20. GuitarPlayerAZ

    GuitarPlayerAZ TDPRI Member

    52
    Jan 6, 2010
    Phoenix, AZ

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