Roasted swamp ash oil finishes?

LushTone

Senior member
Messages
480
I'm curious if anyone wants to share their experience with oil finish on a Warmoth roasted ash body.

I have one on order for a Charvel Guthrie style tribute (similar overall design but modified). I'm considering a Rockler pure tung oil finish. My guitars don't need heavy cleaning, and mostly get played at home, so the oil finish combined with the roasted wood should be great. Would love to see pictures! :laughing7:

 

ValeBliz

Senior member
Messages
117
I'm actually finishing with tru oil a body in ro swamp ash with a koa top. No problems so far, just mind that 1) it will turn way darker than when you see it with no finish on, but that would be true regardless of what clear coat you out on it 2) if you don't want to feel the grain through the finish, you will have to do some pretty extensive grain filling before applying your finishing, I used birchwood sealer and filler which is some kind of poly finish mixed with other stuff as far as i know. I applied two coats of it, then sanded, then applied 12 coats of tru oils and the swamp ash grain still comes through the finish. It's the kind of finishing I wanted, I had govan ro ash sig as a reference too, but it's worth to know.
 

Sadie-f

Senior member
Messages
427
Here's a link to the best image I've posted on my tung oil finished guitar.
https://www.unofficialwarmoth.com/index.php?topic=33393.0

It's not Ash but you can see it on both rosewood and mahogany also in the Nov guitar of the month post
https://www.unofficialwarmoth.com/index.php?topic=33670.0

Tung is more work than Tru oil, I still like it better.
 

LushTone

Senior member
Messages
480
stratamania said:
Try this thread in Work in Progress.


⅞ Roasted Ash Strat

Thanks for the help!

I'm definitely going for more of the raw look that you linked, but I won't be building up a shine or using a varnish style finish like tru-oil. But that coloration is close to the natural roasted look I want, but maybe slightly darker because it's tru-oil.

I wish I had saved pics of the body from the showcase but I was too anxious to buy it before it was scooped up (I usually don't see something that's exactly what I'd order for a build idea, not to mention extra light one-piece). But I'll post pics when it gets here in probably a couple weeks. Already got the roasted neck... pics below:
 

LushTone

Senior member
Messages
480
I ordered this roasted maple neck in 2020, only when I couldn't get the specs I wanted from Warmoth, and the plan was to eventually do a Guthrie tribute with it. Obviously not a complete replica..

MK neck specs:
24-3/4" conversion scale
single action truss
22 Evo 9055 frets
10” radius
.87-.97" C profile (very comfy, similar to Warmoth '59 Roundback)
1.65" nut width (Graphtech)
oil finish
Kluson tuners will be swapped for Gotoh locking vintage style
 

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stratamania

Senior member
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9,205
Bear in mind that Tru-Oil can easily achieve a non gloss look. It is actually less work to do that.
 

LushTone

Senior member
Messages
480
stratamania said:
Bear in mind that Tru-Oil can easily achieve a non gloss look. It is actually less work to do that.

Yeah definitely, my experience with tru oil is mostly from a local guitar company that builds the finish up on the neck and body. I’m not a fan of that particular feel , so it’d have to be 1-2 thin coats if I did tru oil (probably with smoothing after).

I’m currently considering the half and half or pure tung oil from this company:

https://www.realmilkpaint.com/shop/oils/half-and-half/

(they also have a "Dark Tung Oil" and "Dark Half" that seem really good for someone with a paler wood than roasted ash, something I wish I knew about on an older build idea)
 

stratamania

Senior member
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9,205
LushTone said:
stratamania said:
Bear in mind that Tru-Oil can easily achieve a non gloss look. It is actually less work to do that.

Yeah definitely, my experience with tru oil is mostly from a local guitar company that builds the finish up on the neck and body. I’m not a fan of that particular feel , so it’d have to be 1-2 thin coats if I did tru oil (probably with smoothing after).

I’m currently considering the half and half or pure tung oil from this company:

https://www.realmilkpaint.com/shop/oils/half-and-half/

As far as I know that Tung Oil is quite natural and may not be the best finish for a guitar body in terms of durability compared to other Tung based products.
 

LushTone

Senior member
Messages
480
I know what you mean, I'm not super sweaty but my forearm is going to leave the most in that case.

This pure Tung oil is a drying and sealing oil that has properties good enough for butcher blocks and cutting boards, which will have a much higher degree of demands than this guitar. also, it won't be a guitar for playing out.
 
But I do realize I'll need to have regular maintenance on this guitar (run cloth over arm rest after play etc., watch any build ups).

(I'm also trying to keep some of the smoky roasted smell on this build..)
 

Sadie-f

Senior member
Messages
427
stratamania said:
As far as I know that Tung Oil is quite natural and may not be the best finish for a guitar body in terms of durability compared to other Tung based products.

I'm not sure how "natural" bears on fitness. There are lots of examples of biomaterials that are the best performing compared to sometimes all human-made.

Silk is an outrageously strong fiber. Latex rubber can be stretched farther than any synthetics and has impressive strength in thin layers, and better tactile feel than nitrile. Etc, etc.

Tung is a part of all high end traditional varnishes. On its own, I find it's harder than any varnish I've used. It's also far easier to spot-repair scratches: 1 minute to wipe on tung; wipe it dry, and you'll be hard pressed to see the blemish the next day.

The only way I feel a varnish or sprayed paint finish is better protection, is that being thicker, a deep scratch in tung would penetrate to the wood.

On the flip side, I dropped my painted Fender once, not far. There's a crack in the paint that isn't going to be invisible and will always be a crack until sanded out and re painted. My GF dropped something on my tung finished rosewood; it dented the wood, didn't visibly damage the finish.

OP, don't worry too much on sweat etc. I've played my tung finished warmoth in 90deg heat, and it sheds water just fine. In 6 months of daily playing, I notice accumulated dirt less than I do on my Fender, or my nitro finished Martin. My occasional cleaning routine is the same for all 3.



 

stratamania

Senior member
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9,205
Sadie-f said:
stratamania said:
As far as I know that Tung Oil is quite natural and may not be the best finish for a guitar body in terms of durability compared to other Tung based products.

I'm not sure how "natural" bears on fitness. There are lots of examples of biomaterials that are the best performing compared to sometimes all human-made.

Silk is an outrageously strong fiber. Latex rubber can be stretched farther than any synthetics and has impressive strength in thin layers, and better tactile feel than nitrile. Etc, etc.

Tung is a part of all high end traditional varnishes. On its own, I find it's harder than any varnish I've used. It's also far easier to spot-repair scratches: 1 minute to wipe on tung; wipe it dry, and you'll be hard pressed to see the blemish the next day.

The only way I feel a varnish or sprayed paint finish is better protection, is that being thicker, a deep scratch in tung would penetrate to the wood.

On the flip side, I dropped my painted Fender once, not far. There's a crack in the paint that isn't going to be invisible and will always be a crack until sanded out and re painted. My GF dropped something on my tung finished rosewood; it dented the wood, didn't visibly damage the finish.

OP, don't worry too much on sweat etc. I've played my tung finished warmoth in 90deg heat, and it sheds water just fine. In 6 months of daily playing, I notice accumulated dirt less than I do on my Fender, or my nitro finished Martin. My occasional cleaning routine is the same for all 3.

Perhaps read what I wrote again, it does not state any absolutes but rather provides information to think about. I have no issue with bio materials or natural sustainability, in fact I am for it if they are suitable. But pure Tung will take longer to dry than a Tung based product with added driers etc.
 

Sadie-f

Senior member
Messages
427
Agreed, with the proviso that pre-polymerized tung oil (the basis of most of those) is trickier to work with.
 

LushTone

Senior member
Messages
480
On this particular build, i can tolerate the 2-4 week cure time of pure tung. I have yet to get the bridge and electronics..  :laughing7:
 

Sadie-f

Senior member
Messages
427
LushTone said:
On this particular build, i can tolerate the 2-4 week cure time of pure tung. I have yet to get the bridge and electronics..  :laughing7:

After the first couple of layers are down, it was my experience that the guitar was dry to the touch after 2 days at most. It will continue to stabilize for a longer time, however even with the neck that I gave 2 layers of tung, it was fully playable after 3 days. After 2 weeks it was indistinguishable from bare & burnished.
 

LushTone

Senior member
Messages
480
Sadie-f said:
LushTone said:
On this particular build, i can tolerate the 2-4 week cure time of pure tung. I have yet to get the bridge and electronics..  :laughing7:

After the first couple of layers are down, it was my experience that the guitar was dry to the touch after 2 days at most. It will continue to stabilize for a longer time, however even with the neck that I gave 2 layers of tung, it was fully playable after 3 days. After 2 weeks it was indistinguishable from bare & burnished.

That's what I figured, dry to the touch but still hardening/polymerizing below the surface. Just to clarify we are using similar oil, are you using pure tung oil from a company that posts a SDS ingredients list? Like this:

https://www.realmilkpaint.com/wp-content/uploads/SDS_RealMilkPaintCo_Pure-Tung-Oil_03-2020.pdf

I bought a sample of the pure tung and the half and half which is half citrus solvent (the purely citrus kind), so I'll probably mostly use the 50/50 which was recommended for a denser wood like swamp ash.
 

Sadie-f

Senior member
Messages
427
Yep, different brand, I'm using rockler, 100% Tung. When I want polymerized, I'm using the Lee Valley brand.
 

LushTone

Senior member
Messages
480
Oh okay I considered that brand as well, very similar product but only available in lifetime of guitar finish supply..  :laughing7: which would be fine if I had other projects

After this has cured, I'm contemplating their wood wax on top (carnauba and walnut oil), if I want more seal.
(https://www.realmilkpaint.com/shop/waxes/wood-wax/)
 
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