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Tru-Oil for Fingerboards?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Gilmourisgod, Mar 5, 2016.


  1. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I've seen some really high-gloss finishes achieved with Tru-Oil, no personal experience with it. I'd like to try it on the FB for my Hossenfeffer 4001 clone project. The board has been polished up to 12000 grit micro-mesh. I'd like to get something approaching the laquered finish on a Ric board without drowning the frets in goo, I've seen Rics where the laguer separates from the frets creating whitish lines at each fret, no thanks. How does Tru-Oil hold up as a fretboard finish? Anybody try it?
    IMG_1140_zpsxnmaf9yz.
     
    Rôckhewer and Randyt like this.
  2. praisegig

    praisegig Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    Stephenville, TX
    I used on a fingerboard without the frets being installed. Has worked well over the years but can see abrasions from the strings. I did fill the slots with veneer strips to keep it out of the slots

    In your case, I would scuff sand back to 600 grit to it something to bite to. I used paper coffee filters to apply, putting a small amount on the filter and briskly rub. It will start to get tacky from the friction. Wipe off all the excess real tight in straight lines to the board. I put on three applications in a day. Let cure over night, scuff with white scotchbrite, and repeat process for desired coats. Let cure for a week, polished with rotten stone and pumice

    DCP_1085.
     
  3. earlysecond

    earlysecond In Memoriam

    Jan 26, 2016
    Gilmour- YES, I have done 3 boards with Tru Oil. A small bottle will last you for years. It is VERY thin, like thinner than vegetable oil thins! Here is the problem that I have. . . I have only applied it on fretboards which already have frets on them. I like to sand between every 2 coats. It is very troublesome to do that. What I get are dark lines around the fret wires (the opposite of the white lines you see with lacquer or poly) I see that you have no fret wires yet! This will put you in an ideal position to use whatever you want! If it were me, this is only opinion and limited experience, and I wanted a high gloss finish that filled the pores in the wood, I would go with multiple coats of poly. I pounded thick auto grade solvent poly on a fretless fingerboard that I made and it really came out nicely!

    So, the Tru Oil WILL work. It is really inexpensive. It will take a LOT of coats to get a high gloss finish. It will struggle to fill the grain, especially on rosewood.

    As far as how it holds up. . . the original product is used for gun stocks which are, of course, exposed to the elements. The product contains a decent concentration of Linseed oil which is used to treat finished cement so I bet it will last. I just wonder if you will get the high gloss effect you desire without using 20+ coats? i have applied, sanded and re-applied as many as 5 coats and it was just OK for me!

    Regardless of what you end up choosing, please share your results so that we can all learn!

    Thanks

    PS- project Iced Bongo #5 (my kit build thread) shows a fingerboard with 5+ coats of True Oil on it with the best finish I could get while working around frets!

    Brent
     
  4. gsnad2000

    gsnad2000 Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2011
    Boston
    Owner of Wrong Way Customs
    I've done truoil on 5 or 6 maple fretboards at this point. This last few I applied it before fretting. Solves the problem earlysecond mentioned. No real long term results to report yet, but so far I'm loving it for fretboards.
     
  5. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Thanks for replies all. If applied before fretting, do I need to worry about clogging up the fret slots with oil?
     
  6. earlysecond

    earlysecond In Memoriam

    Jan 26, 2016
    Although I do not know for sure, it is so thin that I really doubt it!
     
  7. Randyt

    Randyt RAAPT Custom Wood Productions

    Jul 21, 2010
    Barrie, Canada
    I have used it on bodys and necks....but not fingerboards...TruOil can build up...make sure you wipe it down!!...
     
  8. gsnad2000

    gsnad2000 Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2011
    Boston
    Owner of Wrong Way Customs
    Gilmour I have been doing just three or four thin coats before fretting. It might be more of an issue if you're going for a high-gloss build up. Even then shouldn't be too bad to scrape it out of the slots after each coat. Would be even easier if it wasn't a bound neck.
    Your neck is looking awesome by the way.
     
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  9. Rôckhewer

    Rôckhewer Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Owner/Builder- RockHewer Custom Guitars LLC
    That is a gorgeous FB man!drool
     
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  10. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I'm reluctant to sand this back any, I polished it mainly to get the inlays up to sparkly. I assume the Tru-oil will get sucked into the wood, but will it bond to the faux MOP inlays? I don't want to amber the inlays either, is there a water-clear version of tru-oil?
     
  11. earlysecond

    earlysecond In Memoriam

    Jan 26, 2016
    Kinda feel like that is so beautiful and the frets are not on. . . IF I wanted a rich deep, clear gloss i would rely on poly. Tru-Oil is just alright to me! Lots more work than polyurethane though, in my book.
     

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