Help - Tru-Oil process

VicenT-Tele

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Hello again!

I'm reading a lot about finishing with Tru-Oil. I have chosen Tru-oil for finishing my project (maple neck and alder body) because I don't need machinery and I don't have a place to use spray.

I have seen many publications and I have almost totally convinced how to do it but I can't find any specific information, that's why I'm asking for your help.

The process I will do.

1 - Sand the body and the neck with 240/320/400 grit. Between them I will lightly dampen the wood.

2 - I will stain the body with a Butterscotch water based stain, I will probably do 2 or 3 coats of stain and let it dry.

3 - I will apply tru-oil and sand with 400 grit sandpaper to create a slurry that can close the pores. Once sanded I will remove the excess tru-oil with a cloth rubbing quickly. Leave to dry for 24 hours.

4 - Apply tru-oil and sand with 600 or 1000 grit sandpaper. Once sanded I will remove the excess Tru-oil with a cloth rubbing quickly. Leave to dry for 24 hours.

5 - (this is where I have doubts). I will apply layers of Tru-oil with coffee filter paper. When I apply these layers, which should be thin, should I wait until it is sticky and rub quickly with a clean cloth? Or leave the oil on without wiping with a paper or cloth?
In many construction threads they always talk about thin coats, but do they leave the thin coat or do they remove it with a cloth when it is hardening? I'm not sure about this detail. I understand that if I am looking to build up layers for gloss I won't have to clean the oil, right?

6 - When I get the desired gloss, I will apply one or two coats of 50% Tru-oil with mineral spirits to make it more liquid. 24 hours between coats.

Is this a correct process? The doubt that worries me the most is if I have to remove the oil once applied in thin coats or better to let it accumulate and sand with 2000 grit sandpaper when I have about 8 accumulated.

I want a gloss finish, but not PRS style.

Thank you very much!
 

RogerC

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You don't need to sand to anything higher than 220 when prepping the wood. Also, There are no pores in alder or on maple that need closing, so that step isn't necessary.

Just sand your wood to 220 and apply a very thin coat of oil. Let cure for 24 hrs and apply another very thin coat. Repeat the process until you're good and tired of doing it. You can lightly sand with higher grit paper once you have a good film built up and then add more very thin coats.
 

bullfrogblues

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If you do #3 I would think you could easily sand through your stain.
You can wipe off excess if you want, or wait until you have some build up before level sanding.
 

VicenT-Tele

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You don't need to sand to anything higher than 220 when prepping the wood. Also, There are no pores in alder or on maple that need closing, so that step isn't necessary.

Just sand your wood to 220 and apply a very thin coat of oil. Let cure for 24 hrs and apply another very thin coat. Repeat the process until you're good and tired of doing it. You can lightly sand with higher grit paper once you have a good film built up and then add more very thin coats.

Hello Roger.

Thanks for the recommendation.
My main question is when I apply the thin coat should I wait and remove the excess or apply the thin coat and leave it for 24 hours.

Thank you very much!
 

VicenT-Tele

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If you do #3 I would think you could easily sand through your stain.
You can wipe off excess if you want, or wait until you have some build up before level sanding.

Hi!

Thank you very much for your participation. I think I'm going to do the test on scrap metal to see how it looks by applying thin layers without removing the excess.

Thaks!
 

Sconnie

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When applying coats of this stuff, you shouldn't even be able to remove any excess because there shouldn't be any. If you have excess you think need removing, you've applied too much. Coffee filters are the best applicator in my experience, and be prepared to take a month or more to complete this job. You'll need more than 30 coats to have anything thick enough for buffing to a gloss, I think my neck project had 40ish coats. I jumped the gun and added a coat 12hrs apart a few times but wouldn't if I were doing it again. The only issues I've seen were from using epoxy to pore fill the edge of the rosewood fretboard, I think that needed a week or more to outgas, I gave it maybe three days, oops and oh well.

Let your first coat dry for a few days, no sense in rushing the project!

Don't sand with anything coarser than 1200 grit wet-dry and some mineral spirits for lube, that can be done every few coats once you have some film built up. You'll undo everything you worked on if you are aggressive with pressure or frequency of wet sanding.

Patience pays off with this stuff though, it is like silk when you're done!
 

RolandG

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The slurry coats will need wiping over to remove excess. Later coasts only need wiping if you think you’ve put on too much.

If you want to bring out the grain then use very fine wire wool instead on sandpaper at the slurry stage. Iron particles will lodge in the grain, making it more visible.
 

RogerC

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Hello Roger.

Thanks for the recommendation.
My main question is when I apply the thin coat should I wait and remove the excess or apply the thin coat and leave it for 24 hours.

Thank you very much!

Sconnie summed it up nicely below:

When applying coats of this stuff, you shouldn't even be able to remove any excess because there shouldn't be any. If you have excess you think need removing, you've applied too much.

And as he also iterates, make sure you're leaving a full 24 hrs between coats. This isn't going to be a quick process, but your patience will be rewarded.
 

redddog

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I wouldn't say that 24 hours between coats is necessary. You can get 3 coats on a day with a few hours in between each coat. I wouldn't sand for at least 24 hours but the coat building phase can go faster than 24 hours between coats.

It would take FOREVER to get this done if you wait that long.

IMHO.
 

Mark617

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Every coat is applied thin ! I wet sand each coat , going up in grit after 2 or 3 coats of the same grit. I finish buff in old jeans, cut up
The back took 6 coats
The top took 17
 

ponce

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I've never had any problems with french polishing on the neck. Works faster than Tru Oil and is less smelly. Easy to repair and pretty durable. Visual result is a tad better too.
 

jhundt

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Two comments:

I think I could finish a guitar that would look much better than some of the examples above, using simple water-based poluyrethane products available at the local hardware store.

I have never used tru-oil. If you choose to use it, please read the instructions carefully. It it is a drying oil, the rags that you you use to apply it and wipe it down can ignite through spontaneous combustion, if you just throw them in the corner after use.
 

Mark617

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Two comments:

I think I could finish a guitar that would look much better than some of the examples above, using simple water-based poluyrethane products available at the local hardware store.

I have never used tru-oil. If you choose to use it, please read the instructions carefully. It it is a drying oil, the rags that you you use to apply it and wipe it down can ignite through spontaneous combustion, if you just throw them in the corner after use.
We above, eagerly await
 

Fenderbaum

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i apply thin layer with a rag. Rarely sand. I would let the first coat dry well because the fiber in the wood lifts up when it gets the first layer, then sand and apply a few coats after. No more than 8-10. Thing is the, body will never fully saturate.
I am not particularly fond of overly oiled bodies. If a high sheen is need, i would go over to wipe-on poly.
I like oil for a matte/lightly sheen finish.
 

Freeman Keller

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My experience with TruOil for reference. I finished two douglas fir guitars with it several years ago. I sanded to 320 and no other preparation - fir is not a porous wood and does not require pore filling. I applied a total of at least 30 very very thin coats, one a day, using a soft cotton rag (old tee shirt). Only a couple of drops of oil on the rag, wiped very thin. Hung to cure each day. A couple of times during the process I very lightly sanded to 320, just to knock off the little bit of dust that had settled on the finish.

After the final coat I hung the bodies for at least another 30 days, then attempted to wet sand starting at 1200 and going to 2000, then I tried to buff with my usual compounds. I could not get a deep gloss, the finish is what I would call semi gloss and it looks fine on the fir but I would not want to put it on fine timber like rosewood or mahogany.

Here is one of the TruOiled guitars

IMG_3720.JPG


I also built three other guitars from that same fir timber (it is some hundred year old barn wood) and finished them in my usual nitrocellulose lacquer. Here is a dozen coats of lacquer, wet sanded and buffed

IMG_6910.JPG



The lacquer is much glossier, a thicker film thickeness. I do use lacquer on almost everything else I build, but I have French polished a couple of classical guitars. In many respects FP and TruOil are similar, at least in application - many many very thin coats over a time period with little or no sanding between coats. With FP you do a "spiriting off" step at the end which brings out the final gloss, TO doesn't have that step. Neither has quite the gloss or depth that lacquer does. I see no reason to use TO on any future guitars, but then I am set up to spray lacquer.

Obviously your mileage will vary.
 




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