cheating on tung oil


Master Member
I'm about to start applying tung oil... and I know when I'm done in a week or so I'm going to have difficulty waiting for it to "set"!  So what are the repercussions of only waiting, say, a week from the last coat before I put the neck on and rock out?    :guitaristgif:  Thanks!
After a week it should be more than stable enough to be handled and even built up. It's just a lot easier to evenly rub,buff,wax or whatever you want to do to a bare body than a completely fitted up guitar. Also it saves you having to pull it all apart if you decide when it's cured that you want to put some more on.
if you applied it correctly - as thin as humanly possible, no issues

if you slathered it on, issues
It's not entirely clear from your post, but it kinda sounds like you're planning to do the whole tung oiling in a week, then waiting another week to set?  That's a real bad idea in my experience, with pure tung oil (I've tung oiled two guits). I know the can says '24 hr minimum' between coats, but truth be told you're gonna need MIN 48 hrs and 72+ is better between coats. Longer if it's cold where you live (I'm in LA and it's great guitar finishing weather, add more time if it's colder where you live). When you apply a new coat to a not-yet-ready layer you very quickly get gummy yuckiness that never quite goes away. My first one, I followed the directions on the can and it was like my whole guitar was coated with soft nasty-smelling wax. Had to sand off and begin again, whole thing took about a month. Take your time, get it right the first time, you'll never regret it.

I'm not sure if I agree with CB about waiting a full week between each coat, but I guarantee you you'll want more than 24 hrs. between coats.
As CB said, though, if you do it right, a week of waiting for it to cure is probably fine.
Your profile indicates you're from Madison, WI. No way you're going to get a coat of Tung oil to dry in 24 hrs. this time of year; if you have a completely dry basement in which your heating system resides, figure at least 48 hours, maybe 72 for a coat to completely dry. 24 hrs./coat would be an estimate for summer time with low humidity hanging the body in the sun to dry.

I'm in Lawrence, KS and in the process of putting a Tru-oil finish on a Flame Korina L5S body, and have to do oil finishes this time of year as it's too cold to shoot toner/nitro. Tru-oil sets up/dries a LOT more quickly than pure Tung oil, and it;s taking at least 24 hrs. between extremely thin coats, will take a good month for the Tru-oil finish process to be completed.

If you want a good Tung oil finish like some of those you see here on this site with a mirror-like finish, you're going to have to learn to be patient; you don't mention what wood type you're finishing, but don't mention grain filling; THAT can take a week in your location this time of year on deeply grained woods like mahogany/swamp ash/korina. Slow time, take your time and do it right.

Otherwise you're going to wind up with a finish that LOOKS like you slopped it on in a week.....


Thanks guys... I'm sorry to say patience is not one of my virtues!  But I'm gonna have to work on it...  :help:
It's black korina.  I did 2 coats of grain filler, and I think I might have underdone it a little, but I don't mind a bit of grain in the finish.  The first coat of tung oil looks GREAT!  My apartment is about 70 degrees and very dry, so it seems to be drying quickly.  I'll just roll with it... when one coat looks and feels dry I'll put on the next.
I'm just quoting others on the week... or rather... a longish polymerization time for tung oil (or linseed, or any of the similar oils).

THIN - is better, because it air dry's.  The oxygen in the air reacts with the tung oil.  Thick coats have issues getting "enough air".
I'm applying very thin coats, wiping it on with paper towels.  I practiced on some oak and this seemed to be the best method.  They seem to dry super-fast.
ive done 7 tung oil guitar

use pure tung oil with half mix of thinner

this allows dry time of 2-3 hours before it completely hardens, and the thinner also creates na harder surface that allows the oil to withstand alcohol clenaing....tung oil is naturaly resistant to tung oil and thinner

but you can sue thinner to water it down

carvins magical stuff is...let it be hold  minwax

so dont talk shit here, i laugh at you, nobody needs pure tung poil, pluss pure tung oil goes on loppy and never dries flat

mix it with thinner and it works great, infact if u just use coats of minwax and steel whool as a buffer after it hardens youll be golden, look into pictures section of misc and the shredding machine

i had many layers of tung oil and the finish still looks fudging fabulous

dont use pure tung oil, its not worth the trouble, make sure u use ti right, anyone who has experience, knows the mixwax stuff is second best to

golden antique supply tung oil and a mixer of pure organic citrus spirit
this is the best thing u can use

other than that i use minwax for the quality and so does carvin!
Actually I've got about 4 thin coats and I'm calling it quits.  The guitar has an unusually dark Korina top, and it'll never be as beautiful as some of the glossy finishes I've seen willyk and others pull off.  It's got a raw, woody look and feel, and it looks really killer with the chrome hardware.  I'm gonna give it a week and then build it up.

Of course, part of this is that my extremely limited patience ran out and, quite frankly... IIIIIIIIIIII... WANNA ROCK AND ROLL ALL NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT  :party07: :party07: :party07: :party07: :party07:
Also, it helps the drying time a LOT if you warm/heat the tung oil before
you apply it. 

if u want the finish to look nicer

take steel whool and buf it out, tung oil naturaly doesnt have a glimery look to it, but u get more a organic feel it u buff it with steel whool number 0 fine fine fine  i like about 5 on the body, and about 7 on the neck

body looks nice biut i can see alot of static tac that occured with the tung oil drying

What brand of tung oil do ya'll like best? I've seen that min wax usually takes quite some time to dry(cure), depending on climate. But I have seen others that claim to do the job a little faster. Not that there's any rush, just curious as to peoples exsperiences... :icon_scratch:
Gotta say, if you're impatient and a beginner at DIY finishing, like me, use Tru Oil and not tung oil... it dries WAY faster and builds up a finish in way fewer coats.
dbw said:
Gotta say, if you're impatient and a beginner at DIY finishing, like me, use Tru Oil and not tung oil... it dries WAY faster and builds up a finish in way fewer coats.
I'm really not impatient, just wondering what brand people like, plus I don't want to ruin the natural feel. From what I've seen of the tru oil it looks like a hard finish, and I don't want that..
Okay, test out both on some scrap though.  I've used two different brands of tung oil, they were the same as far as I could tell.