Long term care of Tru-Oil finish advice please

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by rze99, May 29, 2019.

  1. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just finished a roasted maple neck in Tru-Oil.

    What advice do you have about long term care? Looks like it will be easy to scratch and Mark which is fine just don't want it flaking off or chipping in chunks.

    The guitar will live in London England so, aside from the odd heatwave and cold snap nothing too extreme.

    Thanks
     
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  2. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    It pretty much acts like a very thin urethane once it is on and dried. It's very tough stuff.

    If it ever starts wearing through, you can always clean, steel wool, and add more layers.
     
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  3. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    good point :)
     
  4. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

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    Don't leave a clip on tuner with rubber tip on the headstock for more than a day.
    They tend to react with the finish and leave a mark like they do with nitro. I occasionally clean my tru oil necks with a squirt of Gibson pump polish to keep them looking shiny. Other than that there's not much to do.

    How did yours turn out? Happy with it? Got any pics?:)
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
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  5. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Don't leave a clip on tuner with rubber tip on the headstock for more than a day.


    ... good one thank you, @Chunkocaster !

    Turned out pretty sweet I reckon. See thread pics previously posted, link below.

    I rolled the fretboard edges and smoothed the fret ends before the Tru-Oil. It is as light as a feather too! Since these pics I've finished the bone nut pending further adjustment when strung.

    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/bought-my-first-roasted-maple-neck-anyone-just-oil-theirs.950516/page-2
     
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  6. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

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    Cool, I will check it out. Must be a relief to have finished it and had everything come together.

    Edit, I recognise that neck. I have already seen and commented on it.:rolleyes::lol:
    Man, my memory is getting really bad. Think I better start trying to get more sleep and maybe do something healthy now and then.
     
  7. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Holic

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    For that matter, be careful of what stand you set it on. Some foam rubber may not play nicely with TO.
     
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  8. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    My mahogany neck that I finished with TruOil is going on two and a half years. I did something like eighteen to twenty separate coats, hitting it lightly with steel wool every three or four coats. It seems to be holding up pretty well so far, although it is a "soft" finish.....even though I'm very careful and gentle with it, I still get little "depressions" in the wood, nothing that affects the feel when playing, but definitely there. I DO like the way it feels to play.
     
  9. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Wow ... I only did 3 coats! maybe I should do more.
     
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  10. tvas22

    tvas22 TDPRI Member

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    It might be good to look to people really into guns for this question. I’m not a gun fan myself, and live in the UK, but when I was looking at how to use tru oil I watched a lot of videos on people refinishing tru oiled gun stocks.

    I’m positive that I watched a video where a guy just sanded back his current finish and reapplied tru oil. Although I couldn’t find that exact video just now..
     
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  11. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    The label on the bottle I used actually says......TruOil Gunstock Finish.
     
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  12. joealso

    joealso Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Definitely. I don't think I would stop at anything fewer than a dozen coats at a bare minimum. More coats (with proper drying time and sanding between) will give you a richer gloss and more durable finish.
     
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  13. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Holic

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    This is about 12 coats, thinned 2-1 with naphtha:
    20190112_224008.jpg

    And this is 8 coats straight:
    20190323_151245.jpg
     
  14. Knowcaster

    Knowcaster Tele-Holic

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    I think people use Tru Oil in a couple different ways. Some people use it more as a sealer and just put on a few coats to protect from moisture but to leave more of a bare wood feel. Others build up many coats to what resembles a glossy lacquer or poly finish. I have built a couple of instruments (a Tele and a mandolin) and used Tru Oil to build up a full thickness gloss coating on the necks. In fact, I did the body of the mandolin that way as well. I don't do anything special to maintain the finish, just like if it were lacquer or poly, and so far have not had any problems - certainly no flaking or chipping. In fact, on the Tele the Tru Oil on the neck has held up better than the body which is Minwax spray lacquer. Maybe if you just put on a couple of coats as a sealer you would need to occasionally reapply, but I don't have any experience with this.
     
  15. Tomasi

    Tomasi Tele-Meister

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    RedHot.jpg Three years of pretty much daily playing on this one without any trace, still looks like new. One of my favorite guitars. I admit there are dozens of thinned coats on this one as I colored the neck mixing artists oil colors with tru oil to get a genuine red neck guitar. :twisted:

    I finished both neck and body completely with tru oil and used a fresh pair of latex glove doing a single layer to avoid getting contaminants in the mix. Ended up using a box of 100 pair of gloves doing the guitar.

    It does not mean you necessarily need huge amount of coats though. Your's look really nice already and roasted maple should be stable. It's not that hard to add some later on if needed. Beautiful neck BTW!
     
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  16. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    3 coats os Tru oil doesn't even create a protective film - it simply soaks into the wood, fills micropores and adds some shine. Tru Oil is NOT really a "film forming" finish like lacquers, urethanes, varnish or shellac. It's much more like a Danish Oil - a stain with wood hardeners and a TINY amount of varnish resin.

    It's a gun stock oil treatment adapted to guitar use. NOT a film-forming wood finishing product applied to guitars.

    The actual film build per coat is essentially zero on the first coat; about .0001" (1/10 of a mil - or one-tenth of a thousandth of an inch!) on a second coat *if* the first fully sealed the wood and the wood is relatively hard and non-porous (like maple) and .0002-.0004" on the third coat. This was determined using both wet and dry film thickness measuring tools.

    On comparison, a coat of lacquer gets you about .0006" (dry) and several coats usually builds to around .0015-.0025" (1.5-2.5 mils total) because of the way it melts into previous coats.

    In practical terms, lacquer's protective film is roughly 20-1000 times thicker than Tru Oil, depending on the wood. Its wood strengthening and filling properties are the main features as it is not designed to (and doesn't) build much of an abrasion or impact resistant protective film. It's linseed oil, a proprietary hardening oil blend (probably based on tung oil) - and mostly solvent, which evaporates away.

    3 coats add color and really no protection at all. When I use it (I only use it by request on maple necks) I apply at least 10-20 coats and give the client a disclaimer against any scratches or damage.
     
  17. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Holic

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    I think the thin buildup is part of the attraction to T.O.

    Some folks don't care for the plastic-like feeling of a neck with a more protective finish like poly or even laquer.

    After working with it for a while now, I'd say Tru-oil is somewhat of a compromise between no finish and the more commercial finishes that the bigger manufacturers use.

    I still like it for my own necks. If it does start showing objectionable wear, it's very easy to refinish.
    Just clean the neck thoroughly with naptha and rub on another coat of two :).

    There have been some folks on this forum that have taken a T.O. finish to a very high level. Tom Pettingill (sp.?) comes to mind. I have to believe that with the dozens of coats that Pettingill applied, you'd surely have some pretty good protection. Beautiful work, but simply too much effort and time for most of us, and that includes me ;).





    Best Regards,
    Geo.
     
  18. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    I finished a strat body with 5 coats of tru oil and it wore off on the arm cut after about 6 years. Didn't have any more tru oil so I patched it up with a wax that's meant for sealing chalky paint, which I then polished. Really nice finish, hasn't worn off a year later.

    My point being that 5 coats of tru oil is not going to last.

    But hey, totally unsuitable paint wax might . . .
     
  19. Stubee

    Stubee Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    So I’m a gun owner and a guitar player. Many years ago I refinished my first deer rifle stock (a Remington 788) with Tru Oil. It was just a piece of beech or birch and the original finish was really wasted from hunting in rain, wet snow and a fall in a swamp. Plus it was a crappy finish.

    I put on multiple coats, quite a number IIRC and it is a beautiful and very tough finish. That gun still hunts with my grandson and has again seen rain etc and it looks as good as when I put it on way back when.

    For a multiple coat guitar I’d think it’ll hold up better than many conventional finishes.
     
  20. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

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    Tru oil does not continue to soak in to the wood. One coat will leave a visible light sheen. It builds layer after layer. If you apply 20 coats you end up with 20 thin separate layers. This is what gives it it's excellent chatoyance capabilities as light reflects through the separate layers popping the grain etc. Similar to French polishing. You can see this when wet sanding, there are remnants of each layer as it sands through uneven surface irregularities due to previous coats. They disappear when the final coats are applied but they are still there under the surface.

    Who better to ask about tru oil for guitar necks than people who have used it for years on guitar necks.

    3 coats on a roasted neck is enough to seal it provided you don't sand through when levelling/ polishing it. If your final coat was left untouched with just a light polish it should be sealed as is.

    It's easy to test, just wet your finger and see if it shows a darker damp mark when pressed against the neck.

    You can apply additional coats any time you like. You would just need to be sure there was no contaminants on the finish, grease or polishes etc.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
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