Oil and wax finish question

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by cjmodulus, Jun 1, 2020.

  1. cjmodulus


    Jul 15, 2010
    Hey everyone, I’m new to this corner of TB and haven’t really been on much recently at all.
    The long and short of it is that we ended up with some extra chalk paint and I’ve been bored lately so I figured I’d build a kit for the first time- a fretless 5 string jazz to be precise. I ordered the kit from the fretwire, it came promptly and is pretty nicely put together, Maple neck, rosewood board and alder body.
    I ended up doing the neck with teak oil and gunstock wax (it just ended up being what I could get ahold of) and it came out pretty nicely, the back feels great to the touch.
    As for the body, this is where I have questions. I assumed the process would be the same as using the chalk paint on the furniture, which was dead simple (kind of the main impetus for this build truthfully, it made finishing an instrument seem less daunting)- I did 2 coats of the paint and 3 coats of beeswax with buffing in between coats.
    The end result feels pretty nice- but in retrospect I’m realizing I probably should have applied some sort of oil or other finish to this as well before waxing. So to boil this all down to my actual questions:
    1) could I use the teak oil to finish the body as well? It’s watco brand if that makes a difference. If I have to get tung oil or the like I can, but I’ve still got plenty of the teak oil left that I’d like to use if possible.
    2) would it be possible for me to just apply it over the wax and then apply more wax over it, or would I have to sand it back down to the paint first?
    3) is oil on the body necessary at all?

    thanks in advance for looking at the thread everyone- here are a couple pics of the process thus far, I’m pretty happy with how the paint came out given how little experience I have with this sort of thing. It’s been a lot of fun working on this thing so far!
    4F00454A-BD56-4FF9-BB9A-4870FD8F5E79.jpeg 6F179B3A-5C2C-4174-9811-73F459892075.jpeg 41470312-34DA-4231-8504-3178F52A2338.jpeg 812BF2DF-93EF-46B2-B0DA-B5B7A3055449.jpeg

    Attached Files:

    Beej likes this.
  2. cjmodulus


    Jul 15, 2010
    Le bump, anyone?
  3. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Since it's already painted and waxed, I'd personally probably just leave it as is. Tung Oil doesn't really offer any protection to the surface the way that polyurethane does for example. It just protects the wood itself from getting inundated with finger oils, dirt, etc. No idea what that would look like over the paint/wax combo, but you could do a test piece if you wanted to see what it did for colouring, etc. :)
    dwizum likes this.
  4. cjmodulus


    Jul 15, 2010
    Thanks for the input- I guess my main concern is longevity of the body/finish and how it will hold up with weather changes without any other kind of treatment.
    It’d likely darken the paint I think (I used some teak oil on the headstock that’s painted to match the front) but then again I didn’t wax the headstock. Of course you’re right on testing it first though lol
    Beej likes this.
  5. cjmodulus


    Jul 15, 2010
    What about something like tru oil? I had forgotten I’d ordered some and it just came in, I know it’s used on necks pretty frequently and I’ve seen some stuff online about people using it on bodies as well- would it be worth the effort to sand thru the wax and put a coat on?
  6. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    With paint in place, oiling is pointless, IMHO. Natural wood finish see the grain, feel the wood, = oil, oil+wax, or wax.

    It's finished, play the thing.
  7. James Collins

    James Collins Guest

    Mar 25, 2017
    Am I wrong that 3 layers of wax is the same as one? Additional wax just removed the old wax as it is applied and buffed.
  8. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks I build Grosbeak Guitars and Basses Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Grosbeak Guitars
    Well I know old fashioned milk paint is sometimes coated with oil/wax because apparently that type of paint still leaves the wood open to absorb the oil.

    You can probably wax that finish but I don’t think any oil will absorb.
  9. cjmodulus


    Jul 15, 2010
    Thanks for the responses everyone- it ended up working out fine- just went thru the final assembly with a friend who can solder way better than I can and it came out sounding and feeling awesome.
    Dark Horse, dwizum and Beej like this.
  10. cjmodulus


    Jul 15, 2010
    I’m tempted to say it depends on the composition of the wax, but maybe someone more knowledgeable than either of us can chime in- I will say that compared to the cabinet we have that I finished with only one layer of the same stuff, the bass is a lot more ‘solid’ to the touch if that makes sense, and I’d say it’s holding up to scratches a little better

    Edit- also didn’t mention that the only real ‘buffing’ I did was with a lint free cloth, nothing particularly abrasive.
  11. James Collins

    James Collins Guest

    Mar 25, 2017
    What I mean is wax has a solvent in it that keeps the wax soft. As it dries, it hardens. When you add more wax, you are also adding more solvent so it softens and blends out part of the old wax. That is what furniture websites say anyway.
    Beej likes this.
  12. cjmodulus


    Jul 15, 2010
    interesting- definitely good to know for future endeavors.

    all in all this was a lot of fun to put together- the stock pickups aren’t half bad either.