What do you use to apply oil?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by GrooveWarrior, Oct 19, 2005.

  1. My brother-in-law is having a hard time finding something to apply tung oil with that doesn't leave something behind. He is getting little pieces of the cloth left in the finish. Any suggestions?
  2. Basschair

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

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    I went to a professional paint supply and got these sponges that are enclosed in a synthetic mesh. It will soak up the oil out of a bowl and allow for it to be spread without leaving fibers behind.
  3. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    I use old t-shirt sleeves.
  4. This weekend, I was using a lot of brown paper bags to oil up some knobs I was making. It worked like a charm.
  5. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    old sheets....t
  6. Last night he started using pieces of old t-shirts he had cut up and it was working pretty well.

    On a side note, are there any woods that oil DOESN'T work particularly well on?
  7. Oily woods like ebony - at least for me.
  8. Duck Hunt

    Duck Hunt

    Oct 9, 2005
    If its tung oil...you can actually just use your hand. Make sure you wash your hand before and after!

  9. T-34


    Aug 11, 2005
    France, Paris region
    I don't care: anyway, everything's going to be wiped off 30 min later and steelwooled away from the surface...
  10. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Most tung oils you find off the shelf are blended with solvents. I know there are people who apply with their bare hands but I just don't get it. Why expose yourself to more of these chemicals than you have to?

    I use lint-free rags or t-shirts in a pinch. The shop I just moved out of came with a 5lb roll of lint-free cloth.

    Hambone nailed it - oily woods don't take more oil very well. Cocobolo in particular is bad that way, plus the color bleeds into nearby maple.
  11. Duck Hunt

    Duck Hunt

    Oct 9, 2005
    Pure natural tung oil is fine, just rub it in with your palm ;-)

  12. Old T-shirt pieces.

    And oil didn't work too well on Cocobolo for me - took weeks to dry. And, as FBB said, my applicator cloth (blue) ended up red.
  13. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Padauk drinks up oil better than cocobolo, but the color sure does run. Padauk dust is a real b**ch - the stuff never comes out of your clothes.
  14. I know. It also gave me a nasty rashm
  15. hmmmm...i was thinking of applying tung oil to a curly maple/purpleheart bass....would there be any issues of the purpleheart bleeding into the adjacent maple? purpleheart does not seem to be an oily wood...and from what i've seen by applying lemon oil to the fingerboard, accepts oil well...

    anyone with thoughts or experience with this?
  16. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Purpleheart should be okay.
  17. Dugz Ink

    Dugz Ink

    Oct 23, 2005
    Purpleheart is an oily wood... unless it has been baked to death. (Heating it usually causes it to "sweat" oil, even after coming out of a kiln.) It will "accept" oil, but that doesn't mean that "oil" finishes will harden properly.

    One of my first attempts to use commercial "tung oil" (not the pure stuff) was on a gunstock that was made from Bastone Walnut and Purpleheart. After the first coat, the Walnut already looked nice, but I never could get the finish to harden over the Purpleheart.

    Also, if you don't seal Purpleheart, it will eventually turn a brownish color, with a hint of dark purple. I read an article once about a great sealer for Purpleheart, but I can't find the article and I can't remember the product.

    As far as applying commercial "tung oil" products, I usually use a lint-fre piece of cloth. That applies very thin coats, which is the what I prefer.