Koa + no finish (or tung oil)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Moopahtroopa, May 3, 2017.

  1. Does any one know how koa wood would do without a finish or with only tung oil?
  2. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    I used to have a Peavey Unity in some sort of un- or barely-finished Koa. Absolutely gorgeous, both visually and tactilely.
  3. do you have any pics?
  4. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    If anything there's a sealer coat.My Koa Washhie has a matte finish.
    JJR58, NYCBass and allenhumble like this.
  5. totally fine.. no problems.

    the challenge with a tung oil finish is that it wears off in spots.

    I've seen much nicer long term results using mineral oil (baby oil)... keeping it clean... then oiling... the finish is more of a satin... and looks renewed when a small dab is put on it.

    I put tung oil on my Foundation... made it shiny... then highlighted the nail rash.

    I've seen patriots etc that have no finish.. been gigged.. they they get a beautiful gig worn patina to them... dirt, funk and all.
  6. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    Astoria, NY
    I bought this Koa body in 1982 and it came with a light sealer coat on it. I used to wax it periodically, but haven't in many years, so it's back to its original matte finish.


    Here's my Peavey Unity Bass - same deal:

    Last edited: May 5, 2017
    jaysbass2002, NYCBass and mech like this.
  7. mech

    mech In Memoriam

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    I use mineral oil on my koa. Rub some on, let sit for about 30 minutes, buff off. Do not recommend tung oil for the reasons above.
  8. What about tung oil on quilted maple?
  9. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    No, but it looked exactly like bassclef112's, except mine had passive pickups with exposed polepieces. And it had been defretted.

  10. Engle

    Engle Supporting Member

    I like tung oil on maple.
  11. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    Should be totally fine for a solid body. For a neck or a hollow body it might be iffy but I have never seen either.
  12. Thanks
  13. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot

    Aug 13, 2014
    Richlands, NC
    Really? Kiesel tung oils all their necks as standard as per their website...unless I am mistaken.
    Doner Designs likes this.
  14. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    A lot of vintage Carvin were made with Koa neck and body in tung oil. My Warwick is all satin/oil finish and it is just fine.

    I had a Carvin with walnut body and neck for 10 years finish in tung oil and it was perfectly fine if you put some oil on it from time to time.
  15. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie

    Aug 21, 2013
    I use this MinWax product on bare wood stuff...

  16. Badwater

    Badwater Guest

    Jan 12, 2017
    I had a Hawaiian Koa table with oil finish, and looked much like any other mahogany table that had a dull finish. That was until it was refinished with high gloss poly. Then the various colors of the wood came to life. And, the high contrast of the woods dark brown tones were more defined, and made the Koa stand out among other tables. It also gathered much compliments. The color difference was like looking at standard analog TV, vs Ultra HD digital 4k.

    On the other hand, you may want the feel of oil finish over high gloss. It's all about personal preference.
  17. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    You are probably right. I'm thinking of Warmoth which will not warranty a neck unless it has a hard finish, BUT come to think of it that's because they use a sealer which, as an unintended consequence, makes it so that oils will not penetrate enough to form a hard enough finish.

    Also depends if you are talking about real tung oil, which is pure oil, vs varnishes that are called stuff like "tung oil finish".
  18. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    IMG_3813.JPG I finished this body with Tru Oil and gunstock wax. I reapply a light coat of wax every few years and it keeps a nice sheen on the body.
    gebass6 likes this.
  19. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    I've used that. Eventually sanded it all off three years later. Horrid, I strongly recommend against using wax on wood. It's sticky, it shows every bit and speck of grime.
    I also think tung oil is seriously overrated. I have been using danish furniture oil (much more similar to what they use on violins than tung oil) and been very happy with it, though it does take a month or two to stop smelling.
  20. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie

    Aug 21, 2013
    Hmmm. Well, okay - you obviously had a different experience. I have used it regularly to 'speed-neck' uprights (and a few guitars too) specifically because it doesn't get sticky. Maybe there are different grades or something?