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Evening out grain patterns under Tru-Oil

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mprasek, Nov 8, 2004.

  1. mprasek


    Jul 2, 2004
    I have a quarter-sawn maple neck, that has some grain that has been "disturbed" by knots in the planks that were sawn adjacent to the piece that became the neck. I sanded the neck nice and smooth starting at 150 grit and ending at 400 grit, followed by 0000 steel wool. The grain was raised at 150 and 220 using a light wipe of water.

    When I applied Tru-Oil (very thin coat, applied with 400 sandpaper, only thick enough to put a shine on the wood, the grain around the knots darkened more than the rest of the neck in a blotchy swirl pattern. It looks like dirt under the oil, but I know it is not, as the darkening moves as the light angle changes, and there is even a really cool "Cat Eye" effect in two places. It darkened the same as the end grain on the end of the headstock (which I want to fix, too!).

    My question is this... Leave it? or Fix it?

    If fix it, how would I even out the finish? I don't really want to obscure the grain (it sets off the "tiger striped" headstock), and not sure I want to stain it. I just want a more even appearance, without having to explain "It's grain!"

    Any advice? (Even advice that says, you must stain it will be welcome as I realize my wants may not reflect reality.)

    Mike Prasek