mixing oil and poly for a finish

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tjclem, Jul 8, 2008.


  1. tjclem

    tjclem Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Did I read in the forum where this had been done before? Any experience with it? I am considering mixing Watco with minwax wipe on poly. What do you all think?
     
  2. minwax wipe on poly is an oil and polyurethane mix, no need to mix it yourself. It works very well, for thin finishes ...takes a while to build up if you're gonna do pore filling and everything, but if you're going for that natural grain look, it's wonderful and easy to apply and buff up.
     
  3. praisegig

    praisegig Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    Stephenville, TX
    I would recommend Tru-Oil as a good protective wipe on finish. I've used on my bass necks for a really fast neck without the stickiness of nitro lacquer. Also finished a custom bass body and neck after spraying color coats

    [URL="http://www.birchwoodcasey.com/sport/index.html"
     
  4. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
  5. praisegig

    praisegig Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    Stephenville, TX
    Yeah, Tru-Oil is designed to be applied over bare or over dyed/stained wood. It can be applied over a Tung oil, Boiled Linseed oil, Danish oil finishes, after a rub down with 0000 steel wool and wiped down with Naptha. Applying it over nitro/acrylic lacquer or ureathane will not work. JMHO
     
  6. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    I think the intent of the OP was to oil first, then poly over the top...
     
  7. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass

    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    I did 10 coats of Watco danish oil and then 10 coats of Minwax poly on the flamed bubinga Psuedowsky I built in the fall. I'd suggest doing the coats separately rather than mixing them together - the danish oil goes IN the wood while poly goes ON the wood. Great results with this application...it just takes time.

    Lonnybass
     
  8. tjclem

    tjclem Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass

    Cool how long did you wait after you did the oil before you did the poly?
     
  9. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass

    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    About a week. It will depend on the temperature and humidity of the climate you are working in. Basic rule...if you can smell it, it's not ready yet.

    Lonnybass
     
  10. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Mixing Watco with Minwax Wipe On Poly will just give you a varnish with more oil in it, resulting in a softer finish. First, let us know what you want to accomplish. Do you want the look of an oiled finish? Do you want a high gloss finish? What type of wood? Is the wood stained?

    I've fooled around with various mixes of varnish, polyurethane varnish, linseed oil, tung oil, Japan dryer and solvents. I've probably re-invented some of the products recommended in the above posts. Some of my concoctions worked well for the purpose I had in mind. Some were less than good. In some cases I would have saved a lot of time by buying one pre made product

    Bear in mind that many of the recommendations you get will be from persons who have no or very little experience wih what they recommend. Many only know how to use one finish. Some will know what they're talking about. Others won't have a clue.

    So, let us know what result you're trying to get, then the recommendations and tips will come pouring in. Then it'll be up to you which one of us to believe. :)

    Edit to add--I should amend my above post to state that most of the people on THIS forum know what they are talking about and have experience with what they recommend. I've just been reading through the Amps forum and dealing with people talking about "Ohmage" and other nonsense and forgot this is the Luthiers forum. Sorry about that. Wilser and Shawn at SDB guitars are two among others who know what they're talking about.
     
  11. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    I'm using a mix of poly, linseed, tung, and naptha for my bass. Has a very durable finish but still looks like oil. I love it

    Greg
     
  12. I've used (with great results) a product here in Australia made by Feast Watson...a Scandinavian oil...it is a mix of polyurethane and danish oil...it's a wipe on, satin finish that is DEAD SIMPLE to use...
     
  13. ToxicAce

    ToxicAce

    May 17, 2006
    That sounds like a very cool finish. Could you go into more detail on the varnish
     
  14. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Mixing oils and varnishes by do it yourselfers has been done for a long time. Various combinations have been used. No one formula is a magic finish.

    Adding a drying oil, such as tung or linseed oil to a varnish which contains a resin such as alkyd or polyurethane, makes the resulting dried finish more flexible. It also soaks into the wood more before hardening. Using a thinner like mineral spirits (Varsol) or naptha thins it out so it is absorbed into the wood more and will wipe on in thinner coats.

    I've mixed boiled linseed oil, alkyd varnish and paint thinner in equal amounts and got a nice Watco like finish. You can't build it up to a thick film because it's much softer than the varnish alone. I've also substituted polyurethane varnish such as Minwax for the alkyd varnish. They both work about the same. I like the look of the alkyd varnish better.

    Minwax Wipe On Polyurethane is not a mixture of oil and polyurethane. It's Minwax polyurethane varnish thinned out with solvent to allow it to be wiped on with a cloth in thin coats rather than thick with a brush. It dries faster because of the solvent used and the fact it's thinned out so you get less dust contamination. it's very easy for almost anyone to apply.

    When fully hardened, say 3 weeks or so, it looks identical to brushed on, full strength Minwax polyurethane varnish. It's easier for a novice to apply. But it's not a Danish oil type finish like the oil/varnish/solvent mixtures are.

    I've used oils alone without any varnish. Boiled linseed oil by itself produces an interesting finish but it's way too soft to build up above the surface. It takes a long time to dry too. it's not very water resistant. And it darkens wood a lot.

    Tung oil alone dries a bit harder than linseed, is more water resistant, can be built up a bit on the wood and can be buffed shiny. It's a bit harder than linseed oil and doesn't darken with age as much as linseed. It's still not a hard finish like an alkyd or polyurethane varnish.

    It's fun to mix these things together and see what happens but it's unlikely you'll find any magic finish with beauty surpassing everything else, waterproof, hard and scratch resistant and easy to apply.

    If you want a nice traditional, water resistant finish that's pretty tough and can be buffed to a mirror shine then a good alkyd varnish is best. So is nitro lacquer. It's even harder but is less water resistant and doesn't stand up to alcohol or ammonia. And it's best sprayed on.

    But Minwax Wipe On Polyurethane gives a decent, glossy tough finish and just about anyone can apply it.

    Minwax Tung Oil, a mixture of oils, varnish and solvent is a nice, fairly durable finish that's also easy to apply. Not as tough as varnish but it's okay. It will mark easily.

    All the other formulations are just home brew variations that can work well if you know when and how to use them.
     
  15. praisegig

    praisegig Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    Stephenville, TX
    62Bass, the above post is great info.

    I've also dabbled with mixing my own finishes with great success, but it got old after awhile. The formulations of the off the counter stuff I use now works great for me without all the hassle. I work now mostly with dyes for coloring/tinting, Tru-Oil for a wipe-on finish and nitro.
     
  16. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jul 24, 2021

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