Finishing Help - blotchy danish oil

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Augustinus, Jul 23, 2019.

  1. Augustinus

    Augustinus NEW MEMBER!

    Jul 22, 2019
    I'm on the last leg of my first build (from scratch!). All I have left is to get the finish on, dress the frets, and install hardware.

    I'm using a spalted maple top on basswood, and I have a maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard. I started finishing the body with a clear Danish Oil (Watco) to get some color, planning to coat it with wax or poly after. I think I was a bit over zealous and didn't give it enough time between coats, and I hated how yellow it was turning out. I decided to apply some black walnut colored Danish oil to get a bit more brown, but it didn't absorb evenly. The basswood ended up very blotchy and inconsistent, especially on the end grain. I wiped this coat on and off quite quickly (~10 minutes). Any suggestions on getting this to an even color? I've been lightly sanding and wiping with mineral spirits, and I currently have it outside to make sure it's fully cured. I'm planning on trying another light coat of the walnut maple to see if I can even it out. Am I on the right track? How can I even out the color?

    On the neck, I've applied two light coats of the clear Danish oil (not on the fingerboard), and I'm happy with the color. I'll probably do one more coat and then sand with high grit paper or steel wool and call it good.

    Is there anything I can do to even out the body color? Wax or poly to finish? Anything else I should do on the neck? Any recommendations for a rosewood fingerboard conditioner? Is mineral oil ok?

    Pictures of the body:
  2. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

    May 28, 2008
    i don't think you can use poly after Danish oil
    i use rustins Dansih oil and it has a little wax in it, and i think this will interact with the poly.
    watch out for end grain, it will soak op more stain than the top ore back and will look darker so you have to lighten the stain first for those parts.

    did you prep the wood before you oiled it?
    did you degrease it with someting like white spirit?
    i think you have to sand it again degrease it and than maybe color the oil before you apply it.
    Rustins has color stains for its dansh oil.
    i myself have used powder stain that you have to mix first.(with boiled water i think)
    when it was cold, applied that and then used Danish
  3. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Dec 3, 2009
    Coolum Beach,Australia
    I'd be sanding that body back all over to get it really smooth and round the edges off more before putting any finish on it.....

    then seal it with some shellac and see how that looks, you can add some brown tint to the shellac if you want... then any finish or stains should go over the top evenly...

    while you do that leave the neck finish to harden up it should be ok with a fine sand/buff later... with D/oil I wipe it on wait no more than 15 mins and wipe it back off to a glossy shine... let it dry a few hours and do the same thing a few times over a few days.... 3 or 4 coats is plenty on a maple neck... :)
    Blue Bill likes this.
  4. drumtime

    drumtime Tele-Holic

    Mar 17, 2018
    the mountains of Virginia
    If it's blotchy, that usually means it wasn't sanded enough. I'd go back and sand it progressively down to 400 grit.
  5. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2008
    Some wood doesn't stain well ... I don't mean some kind of wood, just some individual chunks that got made into a table or a guitar. I try to start with the back of the instrument, because it's the least noticed part and there's the most opportunity to sand off mistakes and scrub the wood with mineral spirits if need be. Some staining jobs just go South. If you get unlucky with the wood, you might have to cut your losses. Getting the back just the way you want it gives you some practice on the wood you are stuck with.
  6. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 15, 2014
    Welcome to TDPRI! I agree with Trev, your only hope is to sand it until the blotches are sanded off, then do not try to use any stain or colored varnish, until the end-grain and open-grain places are sealed.

    If you have scraps of the same boards left over, use them to experiment with, until you find a path to the finish you are looking for. Take notes, or you will forget.

    Keep the pictures coming, it looks like it's going to be a beauty.
  7. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    Watco Danish Oil should be nothing more than thinned down varnish meant for application with a rag instead of a brush. Of course when Minwax bought the license to the brand name, then stopped producing it, and later reintroduced some sort of DIY finishing product using the name all over again - who knows? Having said that I doubt that it has any wax in it and you can probably recoat over it with another type of faster-building brush-applied varnish if you desire. You'll just need a light sanding between coats in order to get it to adhere (320 or 400 sandpaper or grey 600 grit scotchbrite works well for this, you don't need to remove much material and you don't want heavy sanding scratches).

    In terms of splotching, if you were to sand back until it's even, then seal the wood with a coat or two of finish that does not have dye/stain in it, you will probably now have a "conditioned" workpiece that won't splotch with subsequent coats of stain or finish. it's simply the type of wood that's prone to splotching. Pine is even worse. Cherry is bad, too, even though there are figured varieties. maple can do it sometimes as well. Not to discourage you, just be aware of it. it's probably the reason why most commercial furniture is sealed first over the wood "in the white," then the color that you see is applied as part of the toner/shader topcoats where the dye or pigment is suspended in the coating and not soaked into the wood.

    For end-grain, sometimes it's a good idea to hit it with the appropriate solvent first, then come back over it with your wiping or brushing type finish. So if the product calls for you to clean your brush with "paint thinner" then use mineral spirits or, preferably, naphtha (Naptha is less oily, evaporates faster, and is probably more refined - I only use paint "thinner" or mineral spirits for cleaning brushes, but for actually thinning the finish or applying solvent to the wood, I stick with naphtha so long as we're talking oil-based finishes).
  8. ppg677

    ppg677 Tele-Meister

    Oct 16, 2018
    Poly after Danish Oil works fine. You have to let the oil dry for several days

    My experience with Danish Oil is that it can be blotchey on some woods like maple
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