Minwax "tung" finish

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by t3h_kgb, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. t3h_kgb


    Sep 1, 2017
    First off, pics! :D
    (eBay "mahogany" DIY kit)


    Just wondering, for anyone who may have used this stuff before, did the finish come out somewhat dull on maple? Cuz my neck is somewhat dull, whereas the body still retains a very glassy wet look that I absolutely love... I honestly don't hate the dullness of the neck; in fact, it reminds me of real basses like you'd see at a shop...

    But, I've noticed a bit of roughness in the (mostly) finalized finishes. Dust flecks, I'd wager. Is there a best way to rub these out without dulling or rubbing through as with sandpaper? Tried some 1500 super-lightly on the pick guard after many many coats (probably 6 or 8 heavy wiped applications on it, some tacky some dry), and it cut through to the wood without hesitation... I do have some buffing and polishing compounds from my misspent youth repainting hot-rods, was considering that... Any thoughts from experienced minds?

  2. #0000 Steel Wool between coats lightly, to knock down the high spots. Wipe off the dust from the steel wool between coats. Super thin coats.
    t3h_kgb and Jisch like this.
  3. t3h_kgb


    Sep 1, 2017
    ^ Thanks! I initially put a really heavy coat on, and definitely learned a lesson... Took me a good while to scrub it down to an acceptable smoothness again, but the second coat is looking amazing! Can't wait to scrub that one down and do a few more! Is there an ideal amount of coats I should be looking at doing? Is there a minimum I should do? Maybe a maximum? Any side effects of too many?
  4. I have used that finish on a few instruments. I would typically do 3 or 4 coats, do a wet sand with a coat then do 3-5 more. The wet sand fills in any grain and gives you a really smooth finish. Usually after the 3rd coat after the wet sand things start to look good, then I just stop when I get a perfect coat with no drips or dry spots. Coats are extremely thin and you're never going to get a really thick finish with tung oil. I've had to sand back to wood after 7 or 8 total coats and it's amazing how thin the finish is, you sand through it in seconds. I'm not saying that's bad, just that putting 15 coats doesn't mean you're going to end up with a thick coat.
    t3h_kgb likes this.
  5. t3h_kgb


    Sep 1, 2017
    Yeah, I was giving it a steel wool, and was getting really fed up with it... Takes too much effort for not enough pay-off... Ended up taking my 1500 and gave it a light, quick wet-sand, to perfect results. The grain is still deeper than an ice crevasse on the South Pole, but that's mainly because it's mahogany (most likely phillipine mahogany, aka meranti) and I decided to just roll with not filling it. Was kind of hoping this tung would fill it, but it's probably not going to... Seems to have filled much of the end-grain pinholes up, but the long grain is probably never going to fill, thanks to it being super-thin layers... Dunno, maybe the rest will fill with the final coats, I'm only up to about 2-ish now...
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
  6. It will fill it in if you wet sand it. After 3 or 4 coats put a coat on and while applying it sand with 400 grit, sand until it starts to get sticky. You're basically making a slurry with the sandpaper. You can use more tung oil than you would use on a regular coat. When you get done it will look terrible.

    Once dry, sand with 400 lightly to take off the high spots, your next coat should pretty close to flat. Of course different woods have different grain degrees of openness, but I've filled in mahogany and black walnut grain using this method.
    rwkeating and t3h_kgb like this.
  7. t3h_kgb


    Sep 1, 2017
    Dunno if I did the above right, but it definitely looks poopy right about now! Gonna throw another coat on, then wet sand that one down and see how many shiny low spots I still got left... I ended up using 800, cuz the closest I have to 400 is 320, and that's more rough than I want to go, after the amount of love I gave this thing stepping from 80 to 1500... :p