Tung oil finish?

Sirens Bay

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Hi!
This weekend I will be starting the build of a DIY kit from Gears4music, and since the Paulownia body is actually really nice looking I was thinking of using a black stain, sanding it back a bit to give it a worn/faded look, then finish it with tung oil mixed 50/50 with mineral spirits. Already bought all the materials.
I'm looking to get a natural, satin finish.
I've searched online and found dozens of different approaches, with or without sandpaper, 3 or 10 coats, pure tung oil or diluted.

For a very simple satin natural finish, whats the best and easiest solution using tung oil?

Thanks!
 

CalebAaron666

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I stripped the thick poly finish off of an ash tele body, stained it and then finished it with Tung oil. The Tung oil was the easiest part of the process. I think I did 6 coats.
I bent a wire coat hanger and used it to hang the body from a neck screw hole.
I think mine came out okay, but I wasn’t striving for perfection.
I can say that after scraping off the candy coating of factory poly, the guitar weights about a pound less!
It’s still a wicked heavy guitar though.
28D88DC3-7AE2-4FA3-B8AE-A4DFBCFE45CB.jpeg
 

Sirens Bay

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I stripped the thick poly finish off of an ash tele body, stained it and then finished it with Tung oil. The Tung oil was the easiest part of the process. I think I did 6 coats.
I bent a wire coat hanger and used it to hang the body from a neck screw hole.
I think mine came out okay, but I wasn’t striving for perfection.
I can say that after scraping off the candy coating of factory poly, the guitar weights about a pound less!
It’s still a wicked heavy guitar though.

Wow, now that looks amazing!
Did you use pure Tung oil or diluted? If so, could you elaborate on the process? Specifically how much time between coats, if you sanded/wooled it etc :)
I'm trying to find the right process to get the result I want, which is very similar to what you went for :)
 

KeithDavies 100

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I stripped the thick poly finish off of an ash tele body, stained it and then finished it with Tung oil. The Tung oil was the easiest part of the process. I think I did 6 coats.
I bent a wire coat hanger and used it to hang the body from a neck screw hole.
I think mine came out okay, but I wasn’t striving for perfection.
I can say that after scraping off the candy coating of factory poly, the guitar weights about a pound less!
It’s still a wicked heavy guitar though.
View attachment 1016093
VERY nice!!
 

Si G X

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Hi!
This weekend I will be starting the build of a DIY kit from Gears4music, and since the Paulownia body is actually really nice looking I was thinking of using a black stain, sanding it back a bit to give it a worn/faded look, then finish it with tung oil mixed 50/50 with mineral spirits. Already bought all the materials.
I'm looking to get a natural, satin finish.
I've searched online and found dozens of different approaches, with or without sandpaper, 3 or 10 coats, pure tung oil or diluted.

For a very simple satin natural finish, whats the best and easiest solution using tung oil?

Thanks!

It might depend on what product you have, 100% pure tung oil or one of the many 'tung oil finish' products which have blended solvents, thinners and drying agents already.

It sounds like you have pure tung oil, if so you probably will want to dilute it with something, especially at first to get it to penetrate the wood and dry in a reasonable time.
 

Sirens Bay

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It might depend on what product you have, 100% pure tung oil or one of the many 'tung oil finish' products which have blended solvents, thinners and drying agents already.

It sounds like you have pure tung oil, if so you probably will want to dilute it with something, especially at first to get it to penetrate the wood and dry in a reasonable time.

I have pure tung oil, which I wanted to dilute with mineral spirits around 50/50.
If so, how many coats should I apply? And how much time should I wait between coats?
 

CalebAaron666

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Wow, now that looks amazing!
Did you use pure Tung oil or diluted? If so, could you elaborate on the process? Specifically how much time between coats, if you sanded/wooled it etc :)
I'm trying to find the right process to get the result I want, which is very similar to what you went for :)
Okay, let’s see if I remember what I did…

Scraped old finish off with heat gun and a scraper

Sanded the body down, but I didn’t go nuts. Just smooth enough.

I did not fill the grain, cuz I didn’t even know that was a thing. (I’m not a pro, or even an amateur, just a total dummy).
DDE0611D-4867-4F51-9065-46BE6424B9CA.jpeg

I stained it with black stain. The stain I bougnt went on very thick (maybe I was supposed to dilute it?) and looked more like paint. I used a rag and some mineral spirits to wipe it down before it dried, and then it looked like stain.
I think I let it dry in the sun for 4 hours or so.
I hung it on my porch with a bent wire coat hanger thru a neck screw hole.
C9C0CAB0-1A5B-4C5E-8D2A-9C427D9E0472.jpeg

Then I started with the Tung Oil. I used Tung Oil finish from the hardware store. It’s for wooden furniture. I remember it had a picture of a wooden chair or something on the label. I didn’t mix it with anything. Maybe I was supposed to?

I slathered it on with a staining brush and let it dry for maybe two-three hours max between coats. I’d feel it, and if it wasn’t tacky, I’d do the next coat.

Please understand, I am not an expert at all. I’m not sure I did this correctly.
I do know that the Tung Oil set nicely, and the finish looks as good now as it did 4 years ago when I did the job.

A week after the job:
421B719D-E2B4-408E-9598-C407FA19E467.jpeg


Now:
9F1D3EA8-5899-459A-96AD-4AA9D93C8BBB.jpeg

With some patience and common sense, I bet yours can look better than this mess.
 

Sirens Bay

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Okay, let’s see if I remember what I did…

Scraped old finish off with heat gun and a scraper

Sanded the body down, but I didn’t go nuts. Just smooth enough.

I did not fill the grain, cuz I didn’t even know that was a thing. (I’m not a pro, or even an amateur, just a total dummy).

I stained it with black stain. The stain I bougnt went on very thick (maybe I was supposed to dilute it?) and looked more like paint. I used a rag and some mineral spirits to wipe it down before it dried, and then it looked like stain.
I think I let it dry in the sun for 4 hours or so.
I hung it on my porch with a bent wire coat hanger thru a neck screw hole.

Then I started with the Tung Oil. I used Tung Oil finish from the hardware store. It’s for wooden furniture. I remember it had a picture of a wooden chair or something on the label. I didn’t mix it with anything. Maybe I was supposed to?

I slathered it on with a staining brush and let it dry for maybe two-three hours max between coats. I’d feel it, and if it wasn’t tacky, I’d do the next coat.

Please understand, I am not an expert at all. I’m not sure I did this correctly.
I do know that the Tung Oil set nicely, and the finish looks as good now as it did 4 years ago when I did the job.

A week after the job:


Now:
With some patience and common sense, I bet yours can look better than this mess.

Well, you clearly did something very right as it really looks gorgeous.
I'll probably dilute the stain too, let it dry (it helps that in this period we're having aroung 40°C, shouldn't take long) then proceed with the oil finishing.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to post photos and detail your process, it's been really helpful!
 

CalebAaron666

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Well, you clearly did something very right as it really looks gorgeous.
I'll probably dilute the stain too, let it dry (it helps that in this period we're having aroung 40°C, shouldn't take long) then proceed with the oil finishing.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to post photos and detail your process, it's been really helpful!
My pleasure.
Watch out for drips while you’re applying stain on the sides of your guitar. I had a few drippy bits that dried and I had to sand them and stain those spots again. And I STILL missed a few drips that ended up permanent under the finish. No one sees it but me if I look for it though.
 

VintageSG

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DSCF0610.JPG

My Twelvecaster has a Tung Oil finish. I can't remember how many coats I gave it, but it was -many-
I used plain Tung Oil, not diluted. I applied it with the sponge side of a pan scrubber, then rubbed it in with the scourey side. Gently. Many times. Allowed it to dry between each coat.
I think there's a dozen coats on there. When I got very bored of doing that, I used a lint free polishing cloth and a top coat of elbow grease to almost burnish the top, then put it together.

DSCF0596.JPG

The second picture shows the smooth finish I eventually achieved. Tung Oil seems to 'sink' into the grain over time too, giving a quite lovely effect as the colour darkens slightly. The basis of mine was a G4M kit too ( or Thomann, one of them ). I can't remember the wood it claimed to be.
 

kuch

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I'm doing a tung oil finish on a solid pine Princeton Reverb cab. I followed this guys method of thinning the 1st coat 50/50 with mineral spirits followed by undiluted. I let it dry completely and added 4 more undiluted coats.

 

DFB1

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I did a Carving bolt kit years ago. I didn't thin the oil,and it did come out nice.

I finished up this strat last month.
This time I went with Danish Oil.
It has a nice satin finish when dry.

IMG_20220722_165333400_HDR.jpg
 

Mongo Park

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I think gunstock finish is killer, thin coats rubbed on with your finger. Most people who play guitar have a good finger around.
Joking aside it is very easy to apply and very durable finish
Maybe on the next one if you have started down the oil pathway.
 

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Mongo Park

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Thin line with gunstock finish
 

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Sirens Bay

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Thanks for the input Mongo Park!

Quick update: I put the first coat of dye, and frankly it’s already looking good to me 😄
I’ll let it dry, sand it then see if I like how it looks or if it needs another coat, then proceed to finishing it 😄
Having lots of fun in the process, too!


EDIT: the second photo is with the second coat of stain applied, and I think the body is right where I wanted it in regards to colour and effect.
Can’t wait to put the first coat of oil and see how the grain of the wood looks like
 

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Bendyha

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I used straightoil, about 4, thin, surface covering coats of Tung-oil, rubbed on with a rag, on my birdseye maple, but it is a very compact wood.
BUT... with paulownia, I would want to use the oil to surface harden the wood, It is very thirsty wood, but without knowing the consistency of your oil, it is hard to make a recommendation, 50/50 would be okay for the first coat, but I suggest using far less thinner in subsequent coats, finishing with pure oil. Be sure to get plenty of U.V. sunshine on each coat. I have a U.V. light-box for the purpose when the sun is not shining, and like to give each coat three days, the first one even longer. With an open pored wood like you have, you don't want the oil to get cheesy, covering a not fully polymerized coat, slows the curing process by a long time.
cas head 6.JPG
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Bendyha

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I've been using this oil lately, what is in it I do not know... or care. It may well contain the oil of tung-nuts along with other things; siccatives and thinners.
In comparative tests along side Linseed oil furnis, Walnut oil, and Tung oil, I found it to be the best drying. The deciding factor for me, though, was its refraction; on flamed maple, and also on spruce, it gave the most transparent "window into the wood" effect of all.
1660395000550.png

I used it, exclusively, on this sapele guitar I made.
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