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Question about Tung Oil

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ChaosGwar, Aug 7, 2002.

  1. I'm doing a Tung il finish on the body I'm building, and was wondering about how many coats it will take for a good finish. I've just applied the third coat.

    After the second coat dried, it had a nice satin finish to it, but I'm looking to get a high gloss finish.

    also, will differnt types of wood accept the oil differently? The body I'm building has an ash core that has been stained, and a walnut top. Will one accept the oil any differently, thus resulting in fewer/ more coats to get the desired finish?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Tung Oil can produce a nice finish, though if you want a high gloss finish, tung oil probably isn't going to be the best choice. To maximize the gloss on the tung oil, you can use some 0000 grade steel wool and polish the final coat of tung oil using the tung oil to lubricate the steel wool.

    The number of coats needed really varies. I have seen anything from 4 to 8 coats have similar results. I would personally put on at least 5 coats.

    Different woods will accept the oil differently. Woods with higher natural oil content will accept the oil more slowly. This affects the drying time, but also would probably affect the rate at which the oil is absorbed. The stain you put on may also affect it. Ash and walnut should not be that different when it comes to accepting the stain, as neither of those woods have that high of a natural oil content.

    I hope this helps,
  3. Thanks Geoff,

    I've got 4 coats on it now. And i've been using #0000 steel wool in between coats.
    The bottle says, quite simply, one coat for a satin finish, more coats for glossy. I have some other stuff that will give me a glossy finish if the tung doesn't. Thanks for the help.

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