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Do necks with Tru Oil have stability issues?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Vespa_One, Feb 11, 2018.

Tags:

Do Tru Oil necks have stability issues?

  1. YES

  2. NO

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  1. Maricopa

    Maricopa Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    51
    Feb 4, 2009
    Phx, AZ
    My TO-finished mahogany neck has been gigged hard for 5+ years and has never needed adjustment. Of course it's got about 20 coats and is 3-piece construction.
     

  2. lammie200

    lammie200 Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 11, 2013
    San Francisco
    I think that the main reason is that a couple of quick coats isn't the correct way to apply TruOil. In my experience it takes 5-6 coats minimum and that takes at least about a week to achieve. Furthermore it takes weeks, if not a couple of months, to fully cure. The strength of TruOil isn't the speed in which you can achieve the actual finish. The strengths are the ease of the application and its near foolproof procedure to achieve decent results.

    BTW, not that it is a good idea, but Music Man/Ernie Ball used to offer production guitars with bare maple necks, not even roasted. Not sure if they still do, however.
     

  3. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    The reason is that you can’t just wipe on a couple of quick coats, it takes time, at least the way I do it. No major gun manufacturers use tru oil, either, for the same reason. It’s a material that doesn’t lend itself well to fast, mechanized, high volume production, but is a nice touch for handcrafted, artisan production.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
    RomanS and Ekko like this.

  4. Ekko

    Ekko TDPRI Member

    Age:
    30
    72
    Jul 31, 2017
    Texas
    Not to hijack the thread and I know there is a wealth of information on Tru Oil here, BUT how many coats would you recommend for a “stain-y”/non-glossy, but still durable finish?

    I only ask here instead of utilizing the search bar because most threads I’ve read on thin, non-glossy TO finishes say 2-3 coats, but this thread questioning the durability of TO seems to suggest that is durable, but you’ll want 6-7 coats and I’d think you’d start getting pretty glossy with that thick after final sand/buff.
     

  5. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    yep.. but the correct way is rarely the way amateurs apply ANY finish... the main reason it's chosen is because of the infection of "thin finishitus" that has become a plague making it way through the world of guitars...Does anyone really think someone in the "thin is in" camp will be applying five coats of anything?

    r
     
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  6. Ekko

    Ekko TDPRI Member

    Age:
    30
    72
    Jul 31, 2017
    Texas
    As a first time builder VERY slowly :( making progress on my first build that is definitely in the “thin is in camp”, I’m looking at Tru Oil and more than willing to give proper amounts of coats and patience. I think the mantra should be more of a “as thin as wisely possible”. I personally would sacrifice some thinness to protect my work.

    But again, first time guy, what do I know... yet.
     

  7. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Dec 29, 2010
    Illinois
    Consider this: A Tru-Oil finish requires more than 'wiping on a couple of quick coats'. It's far more labor intensive and time consuming than spraying on a big gob of plastic. That's why large, production oriented plants don't use it. Our insatiable appetite for thin finishes doesn't mean beans to guitar manufacturers. If it did, they'd manufacture thin finish guitars in far greater numbers than they do, and charge us accordingly.

    I've never done a Tru-Oil finish five coats. Probably thirty or so is the norm.
     
    nojazzhere and RomanS like this.

  8. lammie200

    lammie200 Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 11, 2013
    San Francisco
    Yeah, but your question was why manufacturers don't use it, not why amateurs use it. TBH, 5-6 coats doesn't end up all that thick if you apply it correctly. A Tele body might take a table spoon of finish for each coat after the first one, and maybe not even that much. Would most amateurs want to wait about a week to finish a body and/or neck with TruOil, and then deal with what they have for a month or two for it to fully cure? I can't answer that question.

    Also, I can't imagine doing 30 coats unless I wanted a thick poly-type of gloss. That has never been my desire when using the product.
     

  9. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    As I posted above, the manufacturer of the product, Birchwood Casey, recommends 5 or 6 coats.
    The manufacturer of the product, Birchwood Casey, states that for maximum protection, they recommend 4-5 coats; this is for gunstocks intended to be used outdoors, but they also suggest using a wax (their product, of course!) on top of it to further protect the wood. In lieu of the wax, which would defeat the feel of the TO on the neck, I usually go to a maximum of 6 coats, and a light buff after a few days with 0000 steel wool to degloss, although 6 coats on maple is of questionable glossiness. I like the feel of the neck, and think it is adequately protected.
    https://www.birchwoodcasey.com/manage/literature/refinishing-guide-2013.aspx
     
    Ekko likes this.

  10. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    That would suggest that thin is wise at all... what possibly could support such a contention?

    r
     

  11. jvin248

    jvin248 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    You'll have more trouble with 'stability' of your tuning if you mix wood varieties than you will with the finish on it.

    Put that ebony or rosewood board on your maple neck and you've created a 'bi-metallic strip'-kind of device just like the old time thermostats, a few of us folks lived in houses heated and cooled with these control devices.

    Wood reacts to temperature as well as humidity... compound that issue with the fact that a rosewood/ebony fingerboard gets 'oiled' and that it 'dries out' while the back of the neck gets a proper long lasting hard finish or worse yet a 'thin finish' and it makes for a neck that twitches around at the slightest provocation.

    The solution? Go all maple. And figure out the thick finish Fender uses on the MIA maple necks to retard humidity.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Peltogyne likes this.

  12. Knowcaster

    Knowcaster Tele-Meister

    Age:
    53
    354
    Jun 30, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Probably my most stable guitar (tuning-wise) is a Tele style partscaster with a Tru Oil finished neck that I built 8 or 10 years ago. I built up the finish enough that it is pretty glossy, so a bunch of coats. It holds tune extremely well, though I do go ahead and tune it every few weeks whether it needs it or not. My least stable guitar is my Gibson SG standard with factory applied nitrocellulose lacquer, but I don't think that is due to the finish.
     

  13. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    Done correctly... multiple pieces of wood create a far more stable neck than a single piece... it's rather routine to bond a couple of pieces together to achieve a level of stability unachievable in a "one piece" construction..

    Done correctly the grain direction and strata of the core neck and that of the fingerboard when joined in a specific manner make a neck that darn near impossible to get any "by-metal" effect at all...

    Personally, were stability an issue, I'd always elect for a two piece over a one piece... any day..

    rk
     
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  14. Ripradiant

    Ripradiant Tele-Holic

    971
    Jul 31, 2014
    Alberta Canada
    When you're talking about a big chunk of maple... I think its just about impossible to have stability issues... even if you tried.
     

  15. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.

    In theory, this may sound plausible, but millions of instruments with mixed varieties of neck wood have been built, including rosewood and ebony fretboards, and this is the first I’ve heard of tuning instability due to mixed neck woods. My own Tele with a maple neck and ebony fretboard is rock-steady in the tuning department. Seems like if this were really a problem, it would be pretty well known by now, make this type of guitar unpopular, and manufacturers would have stopped making them. Possibly if you play out on a very frigid night and leave your guitar out in the car overnight then bring it into a heated room, but who does that? I love my guitars more than that!
     

  16. CFFF

    CFFF Tele-Meister

    255
    Oct 31, 2016
    .
    Think thick skin umbrella, thin skin umbrella and no umbrella.
     

  17. deadbeat son

    deadbeat son Tele-Holic

    775
    Apr 5, 2010
    Evergreen, CO
    Doesn’t this describe MusicMan guitars?
     

  18. maumari

    maumari Tele-Meister

    445
    Mar 6, 2008
    Rome, Italy
    Hi everybody, I haven't had any stability issue on truoil finished necks in the last 15 years (about 120 necks), both on guitars and basses, on maple, durmast or mahogany necks. I use to apply a lot of thin coats (about 12 to 25 maximum), without hurry, buffing with 0000 steelwool every circa 3 coats. Long procedure with EXCELLENT results, glossy or dull feeling. That's my experience.
     
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  19. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    Excellent, however, you're doing it correctly.... a "mistake" few amateurs ever make..:p ... those guys just think "Thin Finish . . must have thin finish.." while in a Zombie like stupor .. smear a coat or two on with a paper towel.. hang it up to dry and ride the wave into the future... with a thin finish.. Yeah!! I have a thin finish. . . :rolleyes:

    As I pointed out... on a number of occasions... the number one most expensive element in making a guitar for a large manufacturer is the cost of the labor to make 'em.. and one of the most labor intensive procedures is applying the finish, then polishing it... that alone takes several layers of skill, to go from finish standing to final polishing... eliminate any one of the guys required and "big numbers" drop to the bottom line.. eliminate several of them and the accounting department would declare a National Holiday.

    Guys forget the production mentality, they see their guitar as "their baby"... the manufacturers see it a just another unit... the manufacturer's accounting department also see employees as another parking spot, more resources in the break room, a bigger break room, more OSHA regs to meet, a work station, larger manufacturing facilities, Government regulations to meet, Tax, FICA, Liability, insurance, etc., etc., etc., .. fact is it CAN cost a manufacturers as much in such "intangibles" as they pay the employee... not that that's any kinda "worker's revolution" mentality, it's just the reality a manufacturer must consider when factoring the cost of making a guitar, vs what they will sell it for.

    In the quest to save $$$ in the 90's, a large manufacturer, most widely known for making guitars from Alder and Swamp Ash, was making a core from Poplar, not a bad wood, but then applying a veneer of Ash to give the appearance of a one piece body... it saved them about 80 cents per unit... the bad PR in the ensuing Decades haas cost 'em far more than it saved... some "actuary" dropped the ball on that one...

    Now if they would go to that extreme to save 80 cents... think . . . if a "wipe on" finish was evenly remotely advantageous, don't ya think they would "jump" on it like a blow fly on a Cow Pie... (if ya ain't a redneck, ya just don't know :D)

    Remember,, when a manufacturer produces a guitar, the last thing they want is to ever see it again, that means there's a warranty issue.. and fixing a warranty issue costs 'em more than making the whole darn thing in the first place...

    So.. here's the deal.. it IS your guitar, If ya wanna use Tru Oil, have at it, the only reason on the Planet ya need is, "I just wanned it darn it," but if ya want long term reliability.. Maybe, just Maybe, the large manufacturers are "telling" ya something here...

    Remember, the guitar is done.. no one is gonna find any way to make 'em that will substantially and predictably improve them... that includes the paint they apply.


    rk
     
    Smiff likes this.

  20. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    So am I understanding that in making necks you avoid figured maple?
     

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