Tung Oil Finish over dyed wood?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by scottythered, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. scottythered

    scottythered TDPRI Member

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    First time poster, amateur finisher.

    I have a kit guitar I'm working on; the body is basswood with a flame maple top. I'm planning on doing a dye job for the maple, and a natural finish for the rest.

    Since its maple + basswood, I'm led to understand it probably won't need grain-filler. I'd like to confirm this from you pros on the forum.

    I've had good previous experience applying tung oil finishes to homemade cigar box guitar necks. Will the dyed top take a TO finish well? Does the undyed body need any prep work before the tung oil, besides the obvious sanding? (Sanding sealer sounds like a bad idea for this particular job...)

    Any info would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. JimmyJam

    JimmyJam Tele-Afflicted

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    welcome!

    which kit are you using? because some kits already come sealed and applying stains might not work too well.
     
  3. scottythered

    scottythered TDPRI Member

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    It's an Alston PR-style kit. I have no idea if it's sealed or not, but I haven't found anything that firmly suggests it is...
     
  4. GigsbyBoyUK

    GigsbyBoyUK Friend of Leo's

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    I tung oil over dye/stain and never use grain filler, but I am never bothered about a smooth finish. I go for the quick and easy route to finishing and it looks just fine.
     
  5. JimmyJam

    JimmyJam Tele-Afflicted

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  6. scottythered

    scottythered TDPRI Member

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    Well, I knew the quality going into it. I won it for $65, shipping included, on eBay, so that I could practice without ruining a $300 kit.

    However it turns out, I can always use the experience!
     
  7. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    It won't hurt a thing to seal the maple - highly-figured maple is most likely to have inconsistent porosity (the differences in density along with pattern are what give flamed, birdseye etc part of the "look"). I've filled flamed maple and had almost no change, and the next time around had it suck up filler like a sponge.

    So if it doesn't need filler all you've lost is a bit of time and some filler. OTOH, if it needed filling and you didn't do it you might not like the results.

    I'd fill basswood simply because it's so soft it tends to absorb things very rapidly. I fill pine for the same reason (tinting the filler a dark brown or near-black can get you some nice graining that otherwise would be invisible).

    Whether or not the top is already sealed will affect the penetration of anything - I'd try wetting the top with water and observing how quickly it is (or isn't...) absorbed. If it sucks in quickly it's likely unsealed - if it goes slowly it may be sealed and if it beads up at all (even in just a few areas) it's a pretty good indication it's sealed. If it's sealed and you can't get information about what was used you might be better off with a tinted lacquer or polyurethane.

    Also be aware that the thickness of and glue used in attaching veneer can have quite an effect on finishing - you may not know WHAT effect until you apply something. It's a bit of a crapshoot with inexpensive veneers.

    Last, as far as "tung oil finish" penetration, much depends on the preceding info - but it also depends on what "tung oil finish" you use. There is no legal requirement for labeling this type of product, and some are 100% tung oil; some tung oil blended with other oils; some partially polymerized tung oil (to have it dry) blended with additives that also assist drying and increase hardness; and some have absolutely no tung oil at all!

    It's a unique situation, but with "tung oil finish" penetration, dry time and all other performance and application-related information cannot be provided that's even in the ballpark without knowing the specific brand and label. Even then manufacturer's (an/or repackagers) often provide spotty information, so unless it's a well-known product you may get answers that are pure guesswork.
     
  8. Bulldog87

    Bulldog87 Tele-Afflicted

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    I had been wondering this same thing. I'm working with a basswood body right now and when I went at it with my first few layers of paint, it really sunk into the pores of the wood and left somewhat deep grain lines.

    I read in several places that it wasnt necessary to fill the grain in basswood, but I really wish I had this time. I dont know if I'll be able to do anything with it right now, or if I'll have to sand the first few coats of paint off, fill, and then repaint. Ugh. :neutral:
     
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