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Shellac vs. Tru-Oil

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Whozure, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. Whozure

    Whozure Tele-Meister

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    I threw away all my Shellac and replaced it with Tru-Oil and Tru-Oil Wax for all my finishing needs.

    I don't especially care for painted guitars so 95% of my builds will be natural grain finishes unless I buy a painted body off Ebay. Tru-Oil is more time consuming than Shellac but if done correctly will give a nice hard finish. In many ways Tru-Oil is easier to apply than Shellac by virtue of just rubbing it on in a circular motion whereas Shellac is best applied with the grain. Also Tru-Oil doesn't dry while applying it and Shellac will get rather sticky as it is applied.

    Not only that Tru-Oil doesn't have a shelf life as strict as Shellac.
     
  2. Tom Pettingill

    Tom Pettingill Tele-Holic

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    I love my Tru Oil, but I'd be bummed not to have any shellac on the shelf. I very often use the shellac as a color coat and or as a sealer under Tru Oil.
     
  3. Big tuna

    Big tuna Tele-Holic

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    I have switched to tru oil also. I used amber tinted shellac and it was hard to get even coat it would build on edges and time consuming to fix. I have been tinting the tru oil and works much easier. I will use the shellac I have left for wood sealer .
     
  4. songofthewind

    songofthewind Tele-Meister

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    Have you guys used Tru-Oil on an acoustic? I've got a refinish job I've been putting off.
     
  5. rip_topaz

    rip_topaz Tele-Meister

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    I use shellac for grain filling but not much more. I prefer Formby's to Tru Oil.
     
  6. Whozure

    Whozure Tele-Meister

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    I just spent a couple of days looking at Tru-Oil applications on You Tube and come to the conclusion that if one looks at a dozen videos there are a dozen different ways to apply it. Probably the major difference I see is the set up time and to sand or not to sand between coats. Of all the videos I looked at not one mentioned the use of Tru-Oil wax once the final coat of Tru-Oil is complete.

    In view of that I am going to try a few different ways on some scrap wood and see which is the easiest and less time consuming in order to get a nice glossy hard finish. That will also provide information which wood species Tru-Oil works best as a finish.
     
  7. Whozure

    Whozure Tele-Meister

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    I can't see that applying Tru-Oil to an acoustic would be any different than a solid body. If you have any doubts there is a Video on You Tube that covers applying Tru-Oil to an acoustic. Just search for Tru-Oil finish on a guitar.
     
  8. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks Tom you just answered a question that's been boucing around my noggin. I too really like shellac for that initial color coat and since I just bought a thing of tru oil I had been wondering if this was possible, having seen the quality of your builds, I am very excited at the idea of using this on my necks, maybe even a body or two.
     
  9. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Tele-Holic

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    I use both, together I sue them way more than lacquer.

    Tru Oil is substantially more durable and protective compared to shellac.

    As far as shelf life goes, get some Bloxygen, and then invert your container for long term storage.

    You can thin TO with mineral spirits and use it as a sealer, but unless your subsequent coatings are oil based you might have problems. Shellac works well between almost anything.

    A coat of oil makes figure pop on some woods like nothing else.

    On the downside TO has no burn in so surface leveling will require a further coat to hide the witness lines.

    Shellac offers very natural looking color options, and the surface film has a clarity/sheen like nothing else.

    If you want your finish to show wear shellac wears better.

    IMO shellac feels better.
     
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