Help w/ Tru Oil

Visago

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I'm about midway through finishing the alder body for my Warmoth project with Tru-Oil. So far I've applied about 7 coats of Tru-Oil and I've been knocking off the shine between coats with 0000 steel wool. I can see that the finish is starting to get some depth and shine to it but you can still see the pores in the wood. Do I just need to apply more coats or will I have to end up shooting it with poly to get a nice smooth finish that won't show any of the pores? What do you guys suggest? Here are some pics after 5 coats.....I know these are not too good and it's hard to see anything because of the lighting but I'll try and take some more this weekend outside in natural light so you can see the finish up close.

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Well... your only bet now is to do one of two things.

A - sand the bastard down to bare wood, fill the grain properly, then reapply the finish.

B - let the finish you have on there already dry forever and a day, shrinking in, then level over that.

I'd choose (A).

Don't mix finishes.  When you say "poly over Tru-Oil" know tru-oil is already a poly of sorts, more poly varnish than oil.  Way more.  You can end up with a sticky mess.  The other thing - tru-oi should be applied as thin as possible.  In that way, yes, the pores are going to show if not filled.  The reason is needs to be thin is its O2 drying.  It needs oxygen to cure.  Things like tung oil and linseed and poly use the air to dry.  Shellac and lacquer use evaporation to dry (the solvents evaporate).  Epoxies use chemical action to cure.

What this means is - a new coat of oil can spoil the undercoats from drying if applied too thick, or too soon.  Same thing happens with shellac and lacquer, but they'll eventually cure...whereas oil may not (hence the stickies with tru-oil).
 
I was under the impression that Alder was a pretty tight grained wood so that's why I didn't end up using a sealer before applying the oil. So it doesn't matter how many additional coats of Tru Oil I apply it's not going to end up filling the grain eventually? Jeeez....I would hate to have to sand this mutha down and start over LOL.
 
SchmoopY said:
Off topic!

what kind of emg are you going with?

81......I had it bolted up, wired, and strung before I started to finish the body and it sounded really, really good.
 
Grain poring can differ significantly, no pieces of the same species of wood are created exactly equal.... I've had alder bodies that didn't need much more than 2 coats of sanding sealer to fill, and others that took a couple of fills to even out.

I'm with CB; sand it back and start over by filling the grain level; if it's not filled with 7 coats of Tru-oil, you'll play hell ever getting it filled/even using the Tru-oil
 
jackthehack said:
Grain poring can differ significantly, no pieces of the same species of wood are created exactly equal.... I've had alder bodies that didn't need much more than 2 coats of sanding sealer to fill, and others that took a couple of fills to even out.

I'm with CB; sand it back and start over by filling the grain level; if it's not filled with 7 coats of Tru-oil, you'll play hell ever getting it filled/even using the Tru-oil

Ahhhhhh.....well live and learn I guess. What kind/brand of sanding sealer do you recommend I use after stripping it down that would be compatable with the Tru-Oil?
 
I have finished several items (maple neck and alder body) with Minwax satin poly over tru-oil.  It works great - just wait a few days for the tru oil to dry completely (I used 2 really thin coats just for a hint of color, then I steel wool it like crazy.  No problems.
 
spauldingrules said:
I have finished several items (maple neck and alder body) with Minwax satin poly over tru-oil.  It works great - just wait a few days for the tru oil to dry completely (I used 2 really thin coats just for a hint of color, then I steel wool it like crazy.  No problems.

Ok......good. I'll look into this.
 
At this point.... just sand it back to bare wood.  Some of the grain will remain filled - its filled with Tru-Oil. 

Now for the tricky part -

Ordinarily under a clear finish I'd say use clear water based filler.  But you have some Tru-Oil thats going to be residual.  Oil based fillers might be better, but... they're colored.

I still think - the water based clear would probably work ok - assuming you sand back really well, or better yet, use a stripper to REALLY get it all off there (as sanding tru oil off can be a pain in the ass).

So - sand/strip, sand again.  Fill. Sand Fill Sand (etc etc etc till smooth).  Then re-apply the oil finish.

Having said all that -

You chose an oil finish.  Oil finishes (dare I include that Tru-Oil varnish in this category....sheesh) are known for being soft to the touch, lighter consistency finishes, and quite often do leave the pores "showing".  They are meant to have that "natural" appeal, and well... they don't have to be totally grain filled to look good, especially if you knock back the gloss with some steel wool after its good and dry.

The neck on my Ovation is like that.  I give it a coat of (aaak) Minwax Danish oil (a wax dissolved in solvents) about twice a year.  But the natural softness of the wood stays there, pores and all.

You might want to just continue as you are.  Or, say "its done" and rub it out with some fine steel wool and enjoy the softness of the finish.
 
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THERE IS NO NEED TO SAND BACK TO BARE WOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

before you add a TON of UNNEEDED work to finishing this body ...

get yourself an extra bottle of TruOil, then

* apply the oil liberally and let it soak into the wood until the wood will not receive any more
* after about 15 minutes remove the excess
* let dry in a warm room for a couple hours and then repeat this step a second time
* let the body cure for a couple days before proceeding

after a few days -
* working in a 3" or so area at a time, apply a film of oil and wet sand it to form a thick slurry of wood dust and oil (I use 400 then 600 wet/dry for this)
* keep sanding until it starts to form a stiff paste
* work this wood paste into the pores
* once you have the pores filled, rub the excess off being careful not to pull the paste from the pores
* let this rest for a day to cure
* repeat this process until you have completely filled all the pores

now you're ready to begin the process of building up the layers of TruOil to form your finish. I do not use steel wool between applications. once I have around 10 or so coats applied, I then use the oil to French Polish another few coats on being sure to wait about an hour between coats. once the final coat is applied, I let the body cure for several days before buffing it out with a micor fiber cloth and then applying carnuba wax for the final buffing


this will produce an incredibly nice finish despite what several detractors here would lead you to believe. I have several Alder bodies finished exactly this way and they are all holding up well in the hands of the pros who use them on a daily basis for live and studio work.

I also use this method for oil finishing a Maple neck - and they are still going strong with near constant playing by their owners


DON'T LET THE TRUOIL NAYSAYERS LEAD YOU ASTRAY - TRUOIL IS A FANTASTIC FINISH IF YOU APPLY IT PROPERLY

all the best,

R
 
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