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Is Tung oil good protection?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Deep, May 9, 2004.

  1. Deep


    May 8, 2002
    Does tung oil offer as good a protection against climate and weather changes as a satin poly coated or similar finish on a neck? I tend to think it does not really keep the humidity and dryness from affecting the neck. Anyone?
  2. A laqured neck will move just as much as a tuig oiled neck but over a longer period of time... you often see on White Gibson SG's cracked rouind the heel where its moved so much its cracked the laqure.....

    Warwick necks hardly every move at all. and they are all (mostly) tung oiled....i think it just depends on the quality of the wood and the quality of the truss rods....
  3. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
  4. TheAmpNerd


    Apr 25, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Why tung oil?

    Why not a Lemon oil or a Mineral Oil?

    For that matter, why not use a nut oil on it which
    is a nautural considering that it came from a tree?
  5. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    From what I've learned, Tung oil provides a protective finish, the other products you mentioned are not...
  6. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Danish Oil will also provide a good deal of moisture protection. It is typically used on hardwood floors.

  7. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Most thing sold as "Tung Oil" are actually varnishes. I have used them on several basses and had good results. I use the Fornby's....Tom
  8. I put Formby's tung oil on the bare maple fingerboard of my fretless, per the manufacturer. Apply tung oil, dry 12 hrs, use 0000 steel wool to smooth the finish. Repeat two more times. Left a nice sealed satin finish and I'm completely happy with the result. :)
  9. Just used formby's high gloss on a neck, great stuff :)
  10. Pete skjold

    Pete skjold

    May 29, 2004
    Warsaw Ohio
    I have tried several oil finishes including various tung oils. The best oil finish I have found is Birchwood/Casey Tru-oil. It combines boiled linseed and varnishes as well as tung-oil. It is very easy to work with and is harder and longer wearing than the others. You can buy it at Wal-mart in the gun section as it is considered a gun stock finish. Rick Turner suggested it as a fretless F.B. treatment , instead of epoxy. I have used it for ten years and it is great! I still use it on our necks. You can build it up and get a real nice shine if you want.
  11. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I found tru-oil to be a lot more work than tung oil. It seems very popular. Are you rubbing it in with your fingers or using a cloth or????? I will have to try it again......Tom
  12. Pete skjold

    Pete skjold

    May 29, 2004
    Warsaw Ohio
    AHHH , Yes , I apply the tru-oil with one of those small foam brushes. The kind you can get at Home Depot in the touch up area. They work very well because it keeps reserve oil in the sponge tip and does'nt dry as you apply it. You also get more control over how much is applied .
    Also a small foam roller will work , the key is to not apply too much to the brush or roller at first. You can work alot of oil into the piece this way by going over the pieceand soaking up the excess.
    I have had some time to figure it out so I forget that it is a little tricky. When you first use it , put on real thin coats. They will come out better and you can always put more on. Buff between coats with #oooo steelwool and put the last coat on and let it cure for several days before you buff it out with compound or polish. sometimes the last coat does'nt even need buffing if you want a satin finish.
    I hope this is helpfull,
  13. diehardcrew


    Jun 8, 2004
    There are 2 main types of oils for finishing, drying and non-drying. Non-drying are like paraffin, mineral, "lemon oil", (which is usually mineral oil with colorants and perfumes added, etc.) don't really undergo chemical reactions.

    Drying oils, such as linseed, tung, or walnut oil, are a different matter altogether. These materials solidify, or "dry" by mixing w/ the air (oxidation). The drying process polymerizes the oil, making it increasingly intractable with time and more difficult to remove with cleaners or solvents.

    Danish oil is usually linseed oil and varnish or sometimes even tung oil and varnish.

    And yes, not all Tung oils are made equally, some may not even have much real Tung oil in it.
  14. PasdaBeer


    Nov 2, 2002
    Santa Rosa California
    SandStorm Designs
    so whats the genral concensus

    tung oil for fretless finger board, or polyurathane?
  15. Pete skjold

    Pete skjold

    May 29, 2004
    Warsaw Ohio
    I have used both oil and poly for fingerboards and even epoxy. I would go with tru-oil because all the finishes I mentioned will eventually break down and need to be dressed. The oil is the easiest to mantain and dress as it wears. If you steelwool the board with #0000 each time you change the strings you can apply a small amount with a clean cloth. over time you build up a nice protective surface that can be mantained easily. This is all providing you have a fingerboard that is suitable for fretless, ie ebony ,cocobolo or something like that.
  16. Skips


    Feb 19, 2003
    I could be wrong, but I think the tung oil finishes (formby's etc) aren't an oil or a varnish--they boil the two together to get a mixture with properties of both. The they add heavy metal dryign agents so that it drys fast and makes it very toxic--wear gloves if you're rubbing with a cloth!