1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Oil finishes -confused

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Laren, Nov 3, 2020.

  1. Laren

    Laren Tele-Meister

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    193
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2020
    Location:
    West Somerset
    Hi guys,

    Oil finishes, I'm confused.

    Basically the guidelines seem to be,

    Put the oil on.
    Give it 10-20 mins until gets 'tacky'.
    Rub it off

    It doesn't seem to 'build' this way (is it even meant to)?

    Should I put it on thicker, leave it to dry and then wet and dry sand it?

    Any feedback appreciated as usual

    Looking OK so far

    IMG-20201025-WA0002.jpeg
     
    Ted Keane, SecretSquirrel and Boreas like this.
  2. oldfish

    oldfish Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    661
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Location:
    uk
    looking nice what oil is it you useing.your much better off putting thin layers on that way you can decide when the finish is right . put it on thick and you will end up with a big sticky mess
     
    Boreas and Laren like this.
  3. Ghostdriver

    Ghostdriver Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Posts:
    341
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2020
    Location:
    England
    I have never sanded an oil finish, only buffed
     
  4. Blackshadowrider

    Blackshadowrider TDPRI Member

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    51
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2019
    Location:
    Detroit
    With Tru-Oil I will use many very light coats basically just rubbing it on, never thick. Depending on the quality and sanding level of the raw body, may need a light sanding of the first coat if the grain lifts. Some woods will have more grain lift and some have more open pores that may want a pore filler applied first then a sanding.
     
    Boreas and Laren like this.
  5. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    2,032
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    An oil finish isn't meant to "build" like other finishes. It is meant to preserve the wood without adding much thickness. It soaks into the wood and hardens and will fill some grain if you sand between coats. Some people actually apply it with 600 wet sandpaper. After several coats, you are mostly wasting oil as no more can soak into the wood. Anything extra will likely stay tacky or wear off.

    Oil finishes look and feel great, but they don't form a hard shell like poly and other finishes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2020
    Laren likes this.
  6. Tomasi

    Tomasi Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    186
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Location:
    Finland
    I guess it's debatable if tru-oil is really an oil product, but in my experience it can be built to a (visually) lacquer like mirror finish, does not stay tacky or wear off at least with four years of daily use. So it's not just something that soaks in the wood. I don't have experience with other oil based products though. I do agree Tru-oil is not as hard and definitely not as thick as other finishes, especially compared to typical "cast in plastic" poly shell found in factory guitars.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
    Boreas likes this.
  7. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    475
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2020
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
  8. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    2,032
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    Great article! I knew some of those "oil" finishes actually had a hardener (varnish) but didn't know what it was. I used to use a Formsby-like product (I believe it was Minwax Antique Finish or something like that) on antique furniture decades ago and it worked very well. It didn't resist cat claws and water very well, but otherwise has held up well. Recently my work with oil finishes have been with boiled linseed oil, but I have not used it on guitars.
     
  9. Ted Keane

    Ted Keane Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    238
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2015
    Location:
    Westminster,CO
    Just finished the 3rd coat of Tru Oil. 20201104_112924.jpg
     
    RiversQC, Laren, SRHmusic and 2 others like this.
  10. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,509
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Location:
    Washington, USA
    Some oil finishes will build a film. As stated above TruOil is actually a varnish. Polymerized Tung Oil will build. Waterlox is a polymerized tung oil and is used for hardwood floor finish and makes a great guitar finish. There are other oils that have a combination of linseed oil, tung oil, and poly i.e. the Sam Maloof wiping oil that Rockler carries or carried (don't know if they still do) that will build. Even Linseed Oil will build if you apply enough coats.

    With wipe on oil, the general rule is to apply thin. If you apply thick, your coats will not fully cure or dry and your finish will stay sticky pretty much forever.

    Apply the oil with a rag "rubber" and rub in thoroughly ideally until the rag gets warm from friction. After you've applied, take a rag that is not soaked in finish and wipe off excess, don't wait until the finish is tacky. Lay your oil soaked rags outside flat and not in a wad or bundle, and let them dry before you dispose of them. They will spontaneously combust if you just throw them in the garbage can in a wad. Let your project dry for amount of time recommended by the product container, and then rinse and repeat. Usually somewhere between 4 and 8 coats will start to build, but you'll never get to a point where it looks like thick coated lacquer or poly.
     
  11. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    1,677
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Location:
    Buffalo
    most oil products are really finishes, like Formby's Tung Oil (finish) or Minwax Tung Oil (Finish), same manufacturer and really the same product. I used to use McCloskey's Tung Oil and use almost a french polish technique. You can achieve a very nice gloss in that matter and you do get some build. No different than most spray finishes, light coats are better. It will not dry well if you put on thick. While boiled oil will work and harden the other products represent "improvements".
     
  12. Tomasi

    Tomasi Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    186
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Location:
    Finland
    This is a good word of caution with soaked rags I forgot to mention. I have a background with education in traditional art and this is something that was repeated to remember when working with something based on linseed oil. I was told many artist ateliers have burned down because of this in the history of oil painting. In my experience with tru oil 50-100 thin coats rubbed in will get you to a nice mirror finish resembling sprayed lacquer, but yes, still paper thin.
     
    CapnCrunch likes this.
  13. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,509
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Location:
    Washington, USA
    I have a good friend who lives about 1/2 a mile down the road from me. He put a new cedar deck on his house a couple years ago, and used a linseed oil based finish to finish it. He applied the oil heavy with a brush and the finish container recommended that the excess be wiped off with a rag, which he did. He then put the rags in his garbage can which sat right next to his garage which is attached to the house. He awoke at 1:00 AM to a strange noise, got up and opened the door into the garage which was completely on fire. The fire spread to his attic and by the time the fire was put out his house was completely ruined. He spent the next year rebuilding it.

    I couldn't believe that he did not know that oil soaked rags are combustible, but he didn't. So, I tell everyone now just to make sure they know. I believe that TruOil is a linseed oil based varnish. I treat rags soaked in any oil like they could spontaneously combust at any time. Better safe than sorry.
     
    Ted Keane and Tomasi like this.
  14. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Holic

    Age:
    68
    Posts:
    585
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2019
    Location:
    Midwest
    Check out the various TruOil Gunstock finish videos on YouTube and you'll get the drift. Typically applied cut 1:1 with Mineral Spirits for the initial coats including sanding wet to grain fill. Successive coats at full strength sanded with successively finer grits down to 0000 steel wool between coats, compound buff to high gloss or leave as applied for satin finish. Most finishers recommend TruOil Aerosol for evenness of application for final coats if high gloss is desired.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.