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Which oil finish

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Hopkins, May 18, 2012.


  1. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I'm new to using oil as a finish. I want low gloss, raw wood feel on a project I'm working on, so I figure wood is the way to go.

    Which product do you guys recommend. I can get Formby's and Minwax tung oil and Watco Danish or Teak oil locally. What are the pros and cons of the products listed, and are there any others that would work better.
     
  2. bassistjoe93

    bassistjoe93 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2011
    I'm experimenting with Tru Oil gun stock finish on a bass neck right now. It's low gloss and from what I can feel without sanding, I'm thinking its gonna be a nice, close to natural wood feeling!
     
  3. Stev187

    Stev187 Peavey MegaBass Club!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Toledo, OH
    About a year ago I did a Jazz bass neck with Tru-Oil. Meant to also put the matching wax on but never needed to. Fantastic finish for a bass neck--feels great and doesn't get slimy or sticky on a gig. Goes on very easy; just follow the directions on the bottle.

    --Steve
     
  4. bassistjoe93

    bassistjoe93 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2011
    I was really surprised at how easy Tru-Oil goes on. I'm letting it sit for the rest of the night but I'm thinking its gonna be one sweet neck finish when its all said and done.
     
  5. CnB77

    CnB77

    Jan 7, 2011
    NJ
    Tru-oil is very nice, but a bit expensive to use over an entire body. Raw tung oil can work for that really natural feel, and is much cheaper.

    This isn't really related but I've lately been thinking about using violin varnish at least on the body.

    Oh, and to address the products you mentioned, they generally contain the oil mentioned along with other chemicals to speed drying, improve flow, make them harder, etc. Sometimes these chemicals are pretty toxic and smelly, so you may want to look at the MSDS for those products. They're all fine products and you'll find people who swear by certain brands/types, but really any should work.
     
  6. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars

    Yeah, after a little research, I found that they are pretty much all an oil/varnish mixture.
     
  7. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I have experience with Formby's Low Gloss and Tru-Oil. The Formby's is really low-gloss, but feels great on the back of the neck. The Tru-Oil is much glossier, even without buffing. I'm currently enjoying the glossier look of the Tru-Oil, and it also works great on the back of the neck.

    Formby's:

    [​IMG]

    Tru-Oil:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Wow man, I decided on the Formby's before I read your post, I'm glad I did, sense the bass I'm using it on is has padouk top. That looks great.
     
  9. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Well if it's any reassurance Mr. Hopkins, the bass in my avatar is done with a similar formula to the Formbys/Minwax...it's boiled Linseed with Varnish in a 70/30 mix. That finish holds up quite well if waxed monthly. You will be happy with it.
     
  10. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    What type of wax do you recommend
     
  11. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    My favorite is Liberon Finishing Oil, followed by Liberon Black Bison paste wax.
     
  12. Stilettoprefer

    Stilettoprefer

    Nov 26, 2010
    I have used minwax tung oil on 2 necks. Low gloss and great feel. Doesn't get sticky and I havent noticed any suspiciously quick wear.

    Super easy to use, just make sure to wipe off excess oil within 5 minutes of application and let it sit for a full 24 hours!!!! And do 2 or 3 coats.

    I'm planning on using it for a guitar body before too long.
     
  13. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    I like natural Beeswax, but if you are not used to working with it, it has a learning curve. As said above, Liberon waxes are good, generally a turners wax, so on flat surfaces they work well with a little elbow grease, like Beeswax. Briwax also works great especially for maintaining the surface.
     
  14. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars

    cool thanks
     
  15. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I use tung oil with some mineral spirits mixed in. The more mineral spirits the more gloss. I use it for bodies and necks.

    4003s5-20.jpg

    pbass5%20011.jpg

    5f%20012.jpg

    5s%20036.jpg

    5s%20016.jpg

    p-bass5%20002.jpg
     
    ToneMonkey likes this.
  16. Herbie Chesnutt

    Herbie Chesnutt Guest

    Mar 19, 2010
    Wake Forest, NC
    Gorgeous. Is that ric ash? What was your ratio of tung oil/mineral spirits? I have an unfinished swamp ash jazz and that ric right there is exactly the tone and gloss I've been hunting for. Im guessing that is more than three coats. Don't be shy about posting more pics of those honeys either. ;-)
     
  17. Those look great ric5!!
    do you apply that with your hands? I'd also like to know the ratio you're using there...
     
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    4003s5-15.jpg

    Rickenbackers are Maple ... sometimes walnut.

    I will do 2 or 3 coats. Rough it up a little between coats. If the final coat gets too glossy I rub in wax with a scratchy pad. (Or 0000 steel wool)

    That Ric is a 1990 4003s5. It started out life mapleglo with black trim. A previous owner wanted to make a 5 string version of McCartney's sanded down 60s 4001. The conversion varnish finish was left on the fingerboard. When I got it It had one coat of linseed oil or something similar. I did not like that thin of a finish. So I sanded it down and sounded the front and back edges of the bass to be more contoured. Then I stained the head wings and gave it 3 coats of tung oil and mineral spirits. The oil finish gave it a marvelous mid growl, and it was very comfortable to play. I also modified the bridge so the string spacing at the bridge went from 2 1/8" to 2 3/8". This made fingerstyle playing much easier.

    Here's the bass with chrome and white plastic --->>> http://www.3dentourage.com/425/1990-4003s5.htm

    Here's the bass with black trim --->>> http://www.3dentourage.com/425/1990 4003s5 mg.htm

    The ratio of tung oil to mineral spirits. I don't do exact measurements. Start with 10 to 1 then work your way to 3 to 1. The more mineral spirits the faster it will dry, the harder and more durable the finish will be, and the more gloss it will have.

    The cool part of oil finish is it can be done by an amateur and get good results. As per product names ... I go to the hardware store and buy what is available. Some tung oils already have some mineral spirits or other ingrediants in them. Hey if you screw up sand it down and start over. The Rick pictured above was refinished 3 times. You are viweing the final refinish.

    And alas ... I sold that bass a couple years ago on ebay when I needed some cash. I used to own 7 Rics at a time ... Now I own 2.
     
  19. CnB77

    CnB77

    Jan 7, 2011
    NJ
    Also,do you have a drawing of the 2nd thunderbirdish body?
     
  20. hey guys... I'm confused as to what mineral spirits are... I can't find a definite definition in the internet, so I don't know what I should buy locally.
    can you guys give me some link to the actual product you're using?
    also, those using TUNG OIL and mixing it, do you use pure tung oil? If I'm not mistaken, MINWAX is not pure tung oil, though I might be wrong on this...
     

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