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Rosewood -how to get that "just put the oil on" it look

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by dagrev, Sep 24, 2008.


  1. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Kentucky
    I have one bass that I'd like to get that "just put the oil on it" look. You know how the color and shades of grain really stand out. I've read here to use Watco Teak Oil. I bought some but it looks like its eventually going to end up looking more dried than having a fresh wet look. (Tried TRU-Oil and that didn't work either.)

    Am I going in the right direction or asking for the impossible, short of having something sprayed on?

    Any advice and wisdom would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    I think to get that wet look you'd need to use a wipe on oil/varnish blend and build up enough layers to really fill all the pores. Minwax Wipe On Poly works (it's basically a thinned out polyurethane varnish) and is pretty easy to use and easy to get. What is on the bass now and what kind of wood is it? True Oil should work if you use enough coats. It's an oil/varnish blend. Some of the gel type wipe on varnishes will work too but have a bit more of a satin finish, but if you give it time to thoroughly harden you can buff it with 0000 steel wool and a furniture paste wax and restore some shine. Circa 1850 is one I've used before.
     
  3. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Kentucky
    Thanks for the advice. I may have to try the Wipe On Poly. I'm a little scared about not getting it smooth though.

    I've got two coats on of the Teak oil and the rosewood eventually dries to almost the same dry look. I'm not sure about putting 20 coats on it to get a shine or if that will eventually do it!

    Still open to the good wisdom here.
     
  4. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    The teak oil may not give you a smooth enough finish ever. I don't know. I don't use it. Wipe on poly will. I've used Minwax Antique Oil. Multiple coats still don't build to a gloss finish but it looks good to accentuate the grain. With the Wipe On Poly, if you wipe on very thin coats and lightly sand between coats with 600 grit sandpaper you'll get a very smooth finish. It'll take a number of coats. The stuff dries fast enough to get 2-3 coats on per day if warm enough-preferably above 72 F. Thoroughly clean all wax and gunk off the finish first using naptha or paint thinner (varsol) or the Minwax won't penetrate evenly.
     
  5. You didn't answer the question about what kind of rosewood you have. Some (like East Indian) finish just fine, but others (like cocobolo) have so much oil that none of the above-mentioned finishes will work.

    Some rosewoods are hard enough that you can almost buff it (unfinished) to the degree of gloss you're looking for. Surface prep is the first step to a great finish.
     
  6. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    +1
    I've had the pleasure of working with some cocobolo that ended up with a surface which felt like polished marble, with no finish at all.
     
  7. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Kentucky
    The rosewood is......whatever Fender uses on Jazzes. That question is beyond my pay scale and expertise! Sorry I can't be more specific.

    Several more coats of the Teak oik are leaving it more "finished" but it's still tacky even a few days out, but getting slightly better each day. The various colors are really coming through. If I can just keep a shine and get rid of the tackiness it could look fantastic.

    Still open to any and all opinions.
     
  8. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Keep it warm. Don't apply a second coat before the first has dried enough. Your varnish just might be old. Add about a 1/2 teaspoon of Japan dryer to a 1/4 cup of it. It'll harden faster and you won't be able to stop it so don't add it to the can you bought the varnish in or in a few days it'll be all solid. I've done that so that's how I know.

    Sand very lightly between coats with 600 paper. If the sandpaper gets gummy when you sand, wait longer for it to dry.

    Remember, you must work in a warm enough room. I put some on a table top last winter in my basement which averages 65 degrees in winter. It took much longer to dry than the same stuff at 72 degrees. I could only get the second coat on after about 8 hours of drying. That's way too long.

    Remember--thin coats will dry faster and eventually build up. They will also be smoother. If you apply too many coats thickly the coats underneath can stay soft for months. You could ruin the job. If you can't get 3 coats to go on per day, something is wrong. Either it's too cold, the varnish is old or you're applying it way too thick.

    To fully harden, the Minwax and most other similar finishes need at least 3 weeks in a warm space, so when you're done, let it sit for a while before using.
     
  9. conebeckham

    conebeckham

    Jun 27, 2008
    Bay Area CA
    I'd recommend Watco's Danish Oil instead.......
     
  10. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Oh, I forgot. You're using Teak Oil. What I said is valid but I don't like that stuff. Who knows how long it'll take to dry and how hard it will get when dry? It won't develop as much of a shine. Good luck.
     
  11. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Kentucky
    All, and especially 62Bass, thanks for the words of advice. I'll keep this thread posted as to my progress--or regress as the case may be!
     
  12. noahbass

    noahbass

    Sep 12, 2008
    guitar builder
    Don't use teak oil. It NEVER dries. Ever. Personally I wouldn't put much of anything on the fretboard. Right before the frets go in I put a thin layer of Watco danish oil or minwax wipe on poly, let it soak in for a few minutes then wipe it off. If you must have the shiny wet dipped in glass look try (well first try getting all that other crap off, mineral spirits, naptha, NOT acetone) put on a coat or two of wipe on poly letting them dry thoroughly and 0000 in between coats, then take some of the poly and cut it with mineral spirits so that it has the consistency of milk, like 2% or something. I can't remember, I drink soy milk now. Anyway it's probably something like 1 part thinner to 3 parts poly. or maybe even 1 - 2, play with it... so wipe that on real smooth like. only problem is that now you're left with minwax all over your frets.

    also if your using steel wool you might want to take the neck off or tape over the pickups so that steel wool "dust" doesn't get all up on your stuff. i hate that stuff.
     
  13. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Thinning out the poly is a good idea. I'd say 2 parts thinner to i part poly is a thin as you need it to be. If you keep a cloth handy and dip it in thinner you can wipe the poly off the frets before it dries, Yes, take the neck off and work someplace where you can vacuum up all the steel wool residue before bringing your pickups anywhere near the space again. If any steel wool dust gets on the pickups you'll never get it all off.

    So, teak oil doesn't dry. That could be and if that's the case don't use any more of it. It's probably just mineral oil with some dye for colouring and a bit of a scent added to it to make you think you're getting something for your money. It would be designed more as a furniture cleaner and polish. Wash it all off with thinner or naptha until you have the fingerboard dry looking and clean, then start over using the right product if you absolutely must have that look to your fingerboard. Otherwise just oil it periodically if you feel it needs it.

    I did the fingerboard (ebony) on a Carvin Bolt 4 kit I built. I wiped on a thinned out coat of varnish (the same stuff I used to finish the body), gave it a few minutes to soak in, then wiped off the residue with a cotton cloth. A little naptha on a cloth to clean the frets. The fingerboard still looks good 5 years later. It looks just a bit shinier than before I did it and a bit darker. It wasn't at all needed. I was bored at the time and had some left over mixture I needed to get of.

    Back some years ago, when the Japanese were making some really bad copies of basses really cheaply I saw a few that had rosewood fingerboards that had been varnished and looked nice and shiny. They looked cheap to me. A bass body is a different thing. There I'd want to use something on the wood, both to protect it and to enhance the colour and grain.
     
  14. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Kentucky
    I know what you mean about a cheap look. I like the look on my Ric, but am really just wanting the grain to show it's true color instead of being that dry dark, dark brown look. The shades only show up when an oil is applied but then fades. I may be wanting for something that can't be had--which won't be the first time!

    Currently I'm still letting the Teak oil dry. It's very, very slowly getting there. Still a little tacky, but not like days ago. If this doesn't work I may go for the options mentioned here. I have some mineral spirits on hand if I need to clean it off.
     
  15. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Kentucky
    Here's how it ended up. I took some mineral spirits and wiped the fretboard clean (several times), even lightly going over it with steel wool. Then went over it with Ernie Ball Wonder Wipes for fretboards (I like this stuff and it dosen't gum up or dull strings either).

    The FB ended up with a "luster" for lack of a better term. It does have warm glow to it and not the typical dry wood look once the oil dries. I'm happy how it turned out. I wonder if the Teak oil sealed some of the grain so the oil doesn't just keep soaking in and drying away. Whatever the case it looks much better. :D

    Thanks for taking the time to offer advice. It's greatly appreciated!
     
  16. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Let us know how it looks in a month or so, you know, like if it looks dry again. Also hat brand of teak oil did you use?
     
  17. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Kentucky
    I'll do that. Watco was the brand. Got it at Home Depot.
     
  18. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Kentucky
    Still looks good but is showing some slight signs of wear.
     
  19. praisegig

    praisegig Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    Stephenville, TX
    This neck was sprayed with a mixture of Tru-Oil and naptha at a 75/25% ration. I sprayed around 5 coats with my airbrush, no wetsanding or polishing.

    th_DCP_1084.
     
  20. jordan_frerichs

    jordan_frerichs

    Jan 20, 2008
    Nebraska
    you can spray tru oil?!?!? i thought it was a wipe on wipe off finish. hmmm i wanted to finish my next bass with tru, but i also wanted to try out the schools spray gun on a bass..... tell me more! does it look any different than wipe on/off tru?
     

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