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Grain Filler under Tru Oil?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by ctelep, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. ctelep

    ctelep TDPRI Member

    29
    Jan 12, 2009
    Boston
    Does the filler need to be oil based as well, or can it be any standard grain filler (waterbased, etc.) ?

    It's an Ash body...

    Thanks!
     

  2. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    Grain filler is for film finishes that will be level and glossy. Shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath as Tru Oil.
     

  3. ctelep

    ctelep TDPRI Member

    29
    Jan 12, 2009
    Boston
    Does that mean that film finished are not attainable with Tru Oil?

    I've tested on a few scrap pieces and there are still gaps from the porous grain.

    Should I sand while it's wet to create a slurry that will fill the grain?

    OR, is there no way achieve a flat finish?
     

  4. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    Wipe-on oil finishes are thin, they're made that way so they'll penetrate the wood. Although it seals and protects to some extent, and it will eventually build up enough so you notice something is there, it does not have enough solids in it to bridge the pores. To get a glossy finish you need a film finish like lacquer or varnish (and guys, please don't flame me saying your Tru-Oiled guitar is shiny, you shouldn't be offended by the idea that oil finishes are matte at best).

    Don't be afraid of real finishes. Spray equipment is not a huge investment and it opens doors to so many possibilities. Even a rattle can will give you great results on a small scale (the cans are expensive compared to the finish material itself). I would suggest, for the sake of argument, that oil finishes are popular because people with no experience in woodfinishing see it as a non-daunting way to get started, and they're happy with the results based on their expectations. Very, very few professional guitarmakers offer an oil-finished neck option, and almost nobody sells a solidbody electric guitar with an oil-finished body.
     

  5. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    I don't find that "slurry of sawdust and oil" ever fills the finish pores.

    Normally guys that oil their guitar parts are willing to accept lots of pores. They want a less glossy type of finish and some guys achieve a bit higher sheen than do others but it is basically not designed to produce what I call a "hot" gloss.

    If you wanna try and split the difference, I suggest an oil based grain filler like Bartley's; certainly not a grain raising water based filler.
     

  6. fender_bender

    fender_bender Tele-Meister

    114
    Jan 21, 2005
    Yes you are right. Tru oil cannot give you a gloss finish. Which explains the matte finish in the following pics from TGP

    Here is a tele neck I did recently. I didn't want to spray the headstock with lacquer like I normally do so I applied about 10 coats of Tru Oil on the headstock.The rest of the neck got about 6 coats. Later I wet sanded the headstock just like I do on lacquer and polished it.The back of the neck was steel wooled and then burnished with denim.

    [​IMG]

    it can be done, lots of coats, but worth the effort.
    [​IMG]

    Now this guitar body isn't done (still has some imperfections that need some Tru-Oil and buffing) and I'm redoing an area of the back.... but this picture should give an idea of what kind of mirror-finish can be achieved with Tru-Oil.
    [​IMG]

    mirror finish? ... you bet! this is mahogany and all Tru Oil
    [​IMG]
     

  7. mojo2001

    mojo2001 Tele-Holic

    687
    Feb 5, 2008
    DC
    Hey Fender bender...niiiiiiice!

    Did you fill all of the pores on that spalt with tru oil alone?

    I am a big fan of truoil on necks but never tried it on a pore-ous body. Got an ash strat body to do and I'd truoil it as a base coat if it fill pores. Think it would work?
     

  8. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    OK I stand corrected, that's a spectacular finish. But I wouldn't encourage novices to think that's going to be the result from Tru Oil, particularly since you could finish three other guitars with lacquer in the time it takes to put on so many coats of oil (unless you have the talent and experience and are willing to invest the time that Fender Bender must have).
     

  9. Jimo

    Jimo Tele-Afflicted

    May 7, 2004
    Actually....

    [ To get a glossy finish you need a film finish like lacquer or varnish (and guys, please don't flame me saying your Tru-Oiled guitar is shiny, you shouldn't be offended by the idea that oil finishes are matte at best).

    With all due respect, this is incorrect, I have a Tru-oil guitar that shines like a diamond in a goat's butt. :lol: JIMO
     

  10. iansmitchell

    iansmitchell Tele-Afflicted

    Tru-oil produces a very thin, hard finish, when done in many thin coats with buffing correctly, a gloss finish is attainable. Gran filler can help. When you're tru-oiling over grain filler, you can get gloss and protection and the guitar still "breathes" better with a thinner finish.
     

  11. fender_bender

    fender_bender Tele-Meister

    114
    Jan 21, 2005
    I can't take credit for those beauties. I found them in various threads over on TGP when I was looking for easy ways to finish a partscaster. TGP member Quarter is resonsible for the custom lap steels with the amazing tru-oil finishes.

    I don't know if he grain filled them or not but I do know he applies many coats (like a dozen). I have heard that using a sanding sealer first can cut down on the # of coats.
     

  12. GearHund

    GearHund Tele-Meister

    389
    Apr 9, 2008
    East, Tx
    I used to think the same about Tru-Oil, - that it couldn't be shiny or fill the grain. But then when I started using it thinking I'd have a muted finish it would get all shiny after about three coats. Steel-wooling only made it shine more!

    You can fill grain with Tru-Oil too. I got this process off the manufacturer's website. Apply Tru-Oil to the wood until it won't soak up any more. Let it sit 24 hours. Then, working in about 4" x 4" sections apply more Tru-Oil and wet sand with it until you get a slurry. Work the slurry into the grain by using your fingers in small circular motions. Wipe it off the excess slurry perpendicular to the grain and repeat until the pores are filled. Let it dry. Repeat the whole process as necessary if some spots are still unfilled after the first sanding.

    It works. The attached photo is an Ash semi-hollow that now has a glass-smooth and very shiny Tru-Oil finish - which my inferior camera just can't seem to capture. (Actually it's probably my inferior camera skills.). I did the neck and back w/ Tru-Oil too. It’s my favorite finish because it’s so easy and requires only your fingers to apply.

    I think the name is deceptive because Tru-Oil does not seem like a Tung oil or other matte finish to me. It does not look like them and does not feel like them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010

  13. PhilUSAFRet

    PhilUSAFRet TDPRI Member

    7
    Dec 29, 2006
    Florida

  14. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    Tru Oil finishes can be just as glossy as a lacquer finish. I have done it before.

    I would recommend using Birchwood Casey Sealer/Filler as a grain filler under Birchwood Casey Tru Oil. That is what it was designed for. Plus its cheap and readily available.
     

  15. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

    My first project on here was a stained ash body with 12 or 15 coats of Tru Oil and the neck which was qs maple which I used your advice on Colt and did the Sealer/Filler and then Tru Oil. Both pieces were wet sanded and polished with various products I had in my garage. I don't know why people find it hard to believe that T/O can have a glossy look. It was/is shiny like a mirror.
     

  16. jrfrond

    jrfrond Tele-Holic

    955
    Aug 11, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    The Gunstock Sealer/Filler does a respectable job of LIGHTLY filling grain in woods with fine open pores, but you would need a boatload of it and a lot of time on ash. I've used it on mahogany and obtained results in which the grain was still readily discernible, but with a softened appearance.

    If you want a dead-level finish, there is absolutely NO reason you cannot grain-fill under Tru-Oil. I've done it and it works.

    Tru-Oil is really a wonderful product, and since I latched onto it a few years ago, tung oil isn't even in my vocabulary. It's also a very tough finish and gets harder as time passes. Remember, this is a product meant to finish gunstocks, which are handled constantly (hopefully not TOO constantly! :eek: ).
     

  17. Tom Pettingill

    Tom Pettingill Tele-Holic

    667
    Sep 5, 2010
    California
    Cool to see a couple of my lap steels representing :)

    On grain fill, the previous examples were with the wet sand with TO / slurry method. It can take a couple sessions, but is definitely doable.
    Lately I've been using Zpoxy Finishing Resin for some of the harder to fill woods like swamp ash and some mahogany.

    The bottom line is you can take Tru Oil to a high gloss mirror surface. Think of the process as a level as you go exercise. Tru oil does not burn into previous coats like a solvent lacquer does, so you can't do your leveling and polishing at the end.

    The below example took about 10 - 12 days to do. I did about 3 light coats a day, wet sanded the next morning with some 1000 grit and mineral spirits as a lube before that days coats, rinse and repeat till all is flat.

    .
    [​IMG]
     

  18. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

    I did all of my leveling and polishing at the very end. I may have scuffed up the tru oil inbetween coats now and again, but I never wet sanded until everything was done and cured.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

  19. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    I've been using it to fill Ash, walnut, and oak for a while now. ussually takes 3 applications for me.
     

  20. Guitar_Alec

    Guitar_Alec Tele-Meister

    131
    Aug 1, 2011
    Lakewood, CA
    What sort of grain filler would I use for a mahogany hollowbody with a walnut laminate top? Would I need to grain fill both of these or just one of them? Then should i level as I go or just at the end with the tru oil? Sorry to intrude on your post, you guys seem pretty knowledgable though.
     

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