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For those who use oil finishes, what finish do you prefer and what's your technique?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Tcjbrown, Oct 19, 2017.


  1. I thought I'd give an oil finish a try on a QLD Maple P bass body that I'm working on right now; I've got access to a spray booth but I like working with oil more than lacquer.
    Seeing a lot of contradictory stuff on the interwebs in regards to oil finishing, so I thought I'd ask what people here try.

    Thanks everyone!
     
  2. T_Bone_TL

    T_Bone_TL

    Jan 10, 2013
    NW Mass/SW VT
    I use boiled linseed oil and/or walnut oil - either works (but remember to put a tree-nut allergy warning if using walnut oil...) I'm also prone to mixtures of oil with carnauba wax (well, actually with carnauba wax and turpentine, since that's what bowling alley wax is and that's my usual source of workable carnauba.)

    Wipe on, wait a few minutes, wipe off any excess, wait a few hours to a few days, wipe on more, repeat until it suits.

    If you use rags, lay them out flat or hang them up, don't wad them into fire-starters. Or do wad them into firestarters and put them in a wood or coal stove, they won't hurt anybody there. You can store them in a zip-lock bag to keep the oxygen away from them for re-use, also.
     
    Tcjbrown likes this.
  3. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
    I am me
    I use the oil/varnish blends or the oil/beeswax blends.

    I typically use the sand in oil technique where you wet sand using your oil, let the sledge stand on the wood for a about 15 minutes to a 1/2 hour, then hand rub off. After you take the layer of sludge off, you periodically go back and hand rub the finish again removing the stuff that sweats out of the pores. Let it sit for a day, and repeat the process with a lighter grade sandpaper. I usually start with 150 grit sand paper, and work my way to 320, or 400. Once I get it to 400, I'll apply more coats of oil until I get desired results.

    Ditto to what Bone said about the rags
     
    Tcjbrown likes this.
  4. rudy4444

    rudy4444

    Mar 13, 2012
    Central Illinois
    I typically use a heat-application process for pure wax for necks on my instruments.
    I've used pure beeswax several times and lately have used pure Carnauba (no oil or softening agents). I describe the process in the short scale bass build topic I posted a while back; you can check out the Carnauba post #102 in the topic if you like:
    30” Scale Compact Semi-acoustic Fretless Bass Build
     
    Tcjbrown likes this.
  5. rwkeating

    rwkeating

    Oct 1, 2014
    Chicago
    none
    I use Watco Danish oil. I follow the instruction (more or less) from this page:
    Oil Finishes
    Scroll down near the end where it says "WATCO FINISHING INSTRUCTIONS"

    If I am working with one type of wood, I wet sand. If there are multiple pieces of different woods glued together, I don't wet sand as I am not sure what a mix of light and dark woods would look like when wet sanded.

    I don't wax afterwards because I want to be able to easily fix any problems that may arise in the future from use by applying more Watco. I don't believe that is possible if you seal the surface with wax, but I may be wrong.

    I haven't experimented with any other finishes so my endorsement of Danish oil isn't based on a comparison with other oil finishes. I like Danish oil as it offers some protection, allows you to still feel the wood, is easy to apply and is easy to repair/maintain. The only down side I see is that it offers only "some" protection.
     

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