Oil finish help

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Stevosimpson, Jan 27, 2013.


  1. Stevosimpson

    Stevosimpson

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    Hey guys I'm wanting to do my first build and I need some advice.
    Right now I want to make a bass with a serious low end and low mid punch, with some high clarity still there. Sustain is also really important.

    The wood combination I have so far is a wenge and bubinga neck with an ebony fretboard. The tonewood would be likely walnut and the top wood would be either ziricote or b&w ebony.

    I really want to have a dark natural color, and preferably some kind of a oil finish. How exactly would I go about that?

    Also if you guys have any suggestions wood wise let me know, I'm new to building.

    Cheers.
     
  2. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    A tutorial on applying a sanded-in oil finish is attached to my signature (below). Hope this helps a little.
     
  3. Stevosimpson

    Stevosimpson

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    Thank you for the quick reply, I will try your method when I get to that stage of the build! My only other question is walnut is generally recommended to have a hard finish on it, will the minwax antique oil work for this?
     
  4. sargebaker

    sargebaker

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    May 2, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal QC CA
    Disclosures:
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Mix linseed oil, varnish and mineral spirits in a 1:1:1 ratio. Wipe it on, wait a couple minutes. Wipe it off. Repeat (5-6 times)
     
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  6. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging! Supporting Member

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    When I've used this technique on mahogany and walnut basses, I've followed-up a few weeks later with a durable clear coat. That said, Warwick apparently has scores of customers who are perfectly happy playing instruments with an oil finish that is relatively impermanent and vulnerable. A sanded-in finish is far easier to repair/renew than a bullet-proof clear coat.

    To each his own; in the end, you've gotta choose the finish that works best for YOU.
     
  7. Stevosimpson

    Stevosimpson

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    Dec 31, 2012
    Location:
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    A lot of my concern dubs from the fact I'm using wenge.. if I mix in some varnish or lacquer will I have a bit more protection?

    I still want to maintain the 'good' feel of the wenge and I'm not sure if the varnish added in will take that away.

    Cheers.
     
  8. sargebaker

    sargebaker

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    May 2, 2004
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    If you're referring to my suggestion, it will not take away from the feel of the wenge. It will also add adequate protection if you build up enough coats, and it's very easy to re-apply or touch up. Many builders use this.

    You could also purchase a bottle of tru oil
     
  9. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado
    I use tung oil or lemon oil.

    I apply the oil with a soft cotton cloth.

    Oil finish is thin. To make it stronger and more glossy add mineral spirits.

    The beauty of an oil finish is that an unskilled amateur can successfully apply it.
     
  10. Stevosimpson

    Stevosimpson

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    Dec 31, 2012
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    What advantages would tru oil add? Sorry for all the questions but I'm a total newbie to the shop.
     
  11. GlassOnion

    GlassOnion 1.21 Gigawatts Gold Supporting Member

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  12. FatherG

    FatherG

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    Dec 16, 2009
    Tru-Oil (not to be confused with tung) is originally made for rifle stocks and works really well for guitars too. I'm using on a solid walnut bass I'm building. It is a rub on product and also very easy to maintain once it is applied.
     
  13. Stevosimpson

    Stevosimpson

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    Dec 31, 2012
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    So in addition to using the pore filling method and possibly adding some lacquer and spirits, a final coating of carnuba wax would do a good job protecting the coating?
     
  14. sargebaker

    sargebaker

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    Location:
    Montreal QC CA
    Disclosures:
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Don't over complicate/mix would be my advice. Either lacquer or oil. If you choose oil, you can finish the finish by buffing it with some wax. Oil is nice because it preserves an "organic" "woody" feel, and as was stated is almost idiot-proof. And also doesn't need any dedicated setup (ie: spray booth)

    And seeing as this is your first build, you're going to have your hands full with... well, a number of things.
     
  15. Stevosimpson

    Stevosimpson

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    Dec 31, 2012
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    I guess I'll stick to the method jazzdog highlighted, and if it needs touching up or repair it would be easily done. Maybe I'll coat it with tru oil as a final protectant or something of that manner before the wax.

    When the wood comes in and I get started I'll post a thread on the progress. Thanks guys!
    Cheers.
     
  16. GlassOnion

    GlassOnion 1.21 Gigawatts Gold Supporting Member

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    Seriously look into the feeder wax I displayed in the photo. After hours of researching and listening to people's opinion, this stuff is tops coming from warwick owners. It's oil and wax combined. Does exactly what you are looking to do. Hydrates the wood and seals it out without getting heavy as some oils can and will do. I use this about every 6 months on my thumb 6 body and neck. Living in Arizona, the driest state, I have no issues with a wenge 'wick that is from the mid '90s using the product. Making some crazy concoction that may or may not work is a risk you might be willing to take, but if you are looking for easy, safe and expect an exceptional product, get this stuff.
     
  17. Stevosimpson

    Stevosimpson

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    Is it a complete replacement for an oil finish? Im looking to darken the wood slightly :)
     
  18. GlassOnion

    GlassOnion 1.21 Gigawatts Gold Supporting Member

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    I would call it an all in one kind of package. Most oils naturally darken the wood just rehydrating it. I like the ease of all in one product. Hydrates and protects. Plus it smells really good.
     
  19. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Minneapolis by way of Chicago
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    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    I'd strongly recommend picking up the Jewitt book on wood finishes - you're going to save a lot of time and experimentation.

    Lonnybass
     
  20. preside

    preside

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Location:
    Scottsdale Az
    Hi GlassOnion I'm right near you in Scottsdale, where did you get that Howards Oil? Lowes, H.D.? I have a wenge neck as well and would like to try it.
     
  21. GlassOnion

    GlassOnion 1.21 Gigawatts Gold Supporting Member

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