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Tinting Tru-Oil

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by dman, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. dman

    dman Tele-Afflicted

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    First, let me apologize if this has previously been answered. I tried the search engine but didn't find exactly what I wanted.

    I've got a couple Mighty Mite necks that I want to amber up a bit. As Tru-Oil has gotten such good reviews here, I was thinking of adding a tint to Tru-Oil and rubbing a couple of coats on. The question is, can Tru-Oil be tinted and if so, with what...I was thinking possibly artist's oil colors?:confused:
     
  2. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

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    You can really only add a dye to it if you premix the dye first, with a type alcohol...I have a bottle of it at home, just can't remember the exact name. The reason for this is because of a compatibility issue between true oil and the dye. The alcohol makes it compatibility.

    Kinda like running programs in Vista in XP compatibility mode....only this method actually works. ; )

    Edit...I think it's ethoxylated alcohol.
     
  3. dman

    dman Tele-Afflicted

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    So would Trans Tint or Stew Mac's Color Tint work? Both have some sort of alcohol in them. Baring that, which dye would one use...and where the heck would one get ethoxylated alcohol? Fer sure the liquor section at Piggly Wiggly doesn't carry that!
     
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  5. Sharp5

    Sharp5 Tele-Holic

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    Dude, I didn't know Piggly Wiggly went that far west! Awesome.
     
  6. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have only used transtint mixed with ethoxylated alcohol first, then mixed with tru oil. I have not tried any other dyes or tints with tru oil, as I was told none work very well.
     
  7. Stratified

    Stratified Tele-Meister

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    I think Lockwood has some powder dyes for tinting oil. Have never used them, myself.

    http://www.wdlockwood.com/main.html

    Lockwood Oil Soluble Powders

    Excellent for oak, ash, chestnut, elm, pine and other open grained or resinous woods. The powders dissolve most readily in benzol, toluol and similar coal tar derivatives; next best in turpentine. Also used in benzine, naphtha, varnish, filler and lacquer. They do not roughen the wood, therefore require no sanding after staining; do not need to be wiped and will not bind the filler or interfere with wiping it off cleanly.

    The OIL STAINS must be "first-coated" with shellac, to develop and set the color. They are the most durable of any soluble, transparent, penetrating oil stains, and although not as permanent as Lockwood Water Stains, however, the dark shades meet ordinary requirements as to fastness-to-light.
     
  8. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't think they meant you coul mix their stain directly with the oil.
     
  9. WrayGun

    WrayGun Tele-Afflicted

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    You can mix TransTint with catalyzed varnishes. Tru-Oil (I believe) is catalyzed linseed oil, mineral oil, and petroleum solvents. It's a fast-drying linseed varnish.

    I have mixed TransTint with Tru-Oil, and it was a little odd. It did not seem to mix well at first, so I didn't use it. I let it sit in a closed container for a couple of weeks and then opened it up, and it seemed to be mixed just fine. I just used some of it on a Strat body I'm finishing, and it brought out the grain of the alder very nicely, IMO.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. fraser

    fraser Tele-Holic

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    ive mixed the stew mac colortone liquid stain with tru-oil-

    http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Finishi...ains/ColorTone_Concentrated_Liquid_Stain.html

    im not sure- but i think its the same thing as the transtint dyes that the others mentioned.
    it worked just fine-
    i did find however i prefer to apply the stain to the wood prior to tru-oiling.
    i felt like i had better control over the outcome- but i prefer to only use maybe 4 coats of tru-oil at most on my necks - hard to get a good consistent colour, and then seal it in with only a few coats.
    but i understand the mm necks are seal coated, so maybe youre looking for a way to avoid sanding-
     
  11. Stratified

    Stratified Tele-Meister

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    While the Lockwood website is pretty sketchy as to usage directions (I read it as dissolving the powder in turpentine, then add to oil, and a little varnish for good measure), the website for Tools for Working Wood, under the subject "How to Use W. D. Lockwood Dyes" suggests:

    "The dyes we carry dissolve in water, denatured alcohol, or oil. We suggest using water-soluble dyes if you are applying the stain with a cloth or brush and then wiping off the excess. Use alcohol-soluble dyes if you are spraying and leaving the dye unwiped. (You can also spray water-soluble dyes if you like.) Restorers also use the alcohol based dyes for tinting shellac for touchup. The oil soluble dyes are used for tinting varnish and other oil based materials but are in general not typically used for the regular staining of wood."

    Does sound as if to discourage using it with oil, but a lot of dyeing, staining and finishing is in the experimenting until you get something you like.

    BTW Jeff Jewitt at Homestead Finishing (makers of Transtint dyes, I believe) suggests that they don't work correctly when mixed with Tru-oil or other mostly mineral spirit based oil finishes, but some people have liked the results. By my eyes, the results are a subtle but not unpleasing. However, it doesn't look like you would get vivid color by mixing it with oil.
     
  12. dman

    dman Tele-Afflicted

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    I left a call in to Mr. Jewitt; his answer was that Transtint would not work at all with an oil-based product. But judging from some of the answers here, it would seem that it does, at least to some extent. Fortunately, I'm not looking for vivid colors, just some light ambering to give the necks a more vintage look.

    Thanks to all for their input!
     
  13. dman

    dman Tele-Afflicted

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    Yep, that's exactly it...outside of a little scuff-sanding.
     
  14. fraser

    fraser Tele-Holic

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    if this is the case, then ill try to give yu more info on my experience with the stew mac product i linked too-
    its a lot of product for the cost- ive done maybe 4 necks, a few touch up repairs on acoustics with it, and a member on another forum used it for the amber portion of a burst les paul he finished- all this from the same bottle.
    its still 80% full- so you get good mileage out of the $20 cost-
    ive succesfully mixed it with tru-oil, as have a couple of other guys ive spoken with- one is a member here, and im sure he posted his results but it was maybe a year or more ago- if i can find it ill link it.
    one thing with the stewmac stuff is some folks find it a bit too yellow. i agree it is a bit yellow, but i like the result.
    i only point out the stew mac stuff because its the only thing ive mixed with tru-oil- as i said normally i tint the neck and then just use tru-oil, but i have mixed this product, so its the only one i can suggest-
    heres a neck i finished a few weeks ago-
    i stained the wood first, then after a coat of tru-oil, i decided to apply some more amber- i have a bottle premixed, so i added 2 coats of that, then another just tru-oil.
    my mixed bottle is maybe 4 drops amber in a full 3oz jar of tru-oil. pretty subtle.
    some experimenting is necessary-

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  15. dman

    dman Tele-Afflicted

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    Fraser, thanks much for the info. That Strat neck looks terrific! I'm going to give your method a try.
     
  16. HOBBSTER01

    HOBBSTER01 Friend of Leo's

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  17. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

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    Here's what I use to mix up tint with my Tru Oil. It's really the only way to do it properly. Extra credit if you can figure out which amp is hiding behind the bottle...small hint just the right of it.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Dropcheck

    Dropcheck TDPRI Member

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    Hi,

    I've added transtint color dyes to BC Sealer & Filler with good results. Then applied BC Tru-Oil on top.
     
  19. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sander/sealer isn't a good thing to add color to, because you have to sand it back...will lead to uneven coloring.
     
  20. Silverface

    Silverface Friend of Leo's

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    Tru-oil will take universal colorants (available either in 16 oz plastic bottles, or small tubes (under the "Tints-All" label) with no problem. I did some testing on the stuff about a month ago and that was one thing I checked.

    With any liquid product, though, there is a point at which it will not properly accept any more colorant - the pigments will simply not disperse properly as they have overcome the amount of additives that break down surface tension in the coating. You end up with something called "color float", where either you can see in the container that the pigment is not dispersing properly, or you *think* it has, coat the surface and every lap mark ends up a fairly distinctive line - sometimes hours later.

    There are ways to "cheat the devil", but generally I wouldn't add more than more than a teaspoon of colorant to an entire bottle of Tru Oil.
     
  21. czook

    czook Tele-Afflicted

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    I mix transtint directly with Truoil and lacquer with no problem. YMMV. It stays in suspension well in either with an occasional shake. I make it up in clear mustard/ketchup dispensers.
     
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