Stripping and/or finishing over tung oil

AndyG

Senior member
Messages
562
Finishing experts please help!

I picked up a Carvin Bolt / kit guitar (assembled by the previous owner ... and dirt cheap!)

Its actually a pretty nice guitar, and it just might get a Warmoth neck (I know ... the bolt pattern is a little "tighter" ... but it is otherwise a Strat neck pocket ... I'll just order a neck with no mounting holes).  However, I want to refininish it.  It is currently finished with tung oil.

Can I just sand, then re-finish, or do I have to somehow strip off the oil before finishing?

I haven't decided on solid or transparent.  If I can strip tung oil, I'm gonna go transparent.  If I can simply sand and paint, I will probably go with a solid color.

Advice please!!!
 

Keyser Soze

Senior member
Messages
206
You can sand, or chemically strip, the current finish.  Without knowing the exact finishing procedures and products used you will not really know how the stripped wood will look.  The current finish may or may not have penetrated deeply into the wood. 

If it hasn't then chemical stripping and light sanding should leave you with visually bare wood ready for refinishing.  Unfortunately you might find that the original finish is deep into the wood, deeper than can reasonably be sanded away at which point you will need to re-think your finish (i.e. opaque paint.)

There is also one additional concern.  Even if the stripped and sanded wood looks raw it may still have some substances present but not readily visible.  These remnants of the original finishing process (now contaminants) may interfere with subsequent finishing products such as stains or topcoats (although not likely present silicone is a notorious contaminant that plays havoc with solvent based products like nitro lacquer.)

Again, there is almost no way of knowing what to expect.  You can take your chances or you can assume they are present and then use an approach that will minimize problems from any potential contaminants.  An example would be to strip and sand the wood smooth then use a clear sealer (such as shellac) followed by color and clear coating.  The only downside is that would mean any stain would need to be clear (pigment stains do not do well on top of sealers) and likely applied via sprayer.
 

tfarny

Senior member
Messages
4,481
I screwed up my first finish - 100% pure tung oil. 6 months later I buffed off the majority of the tung oil with steel wool - starting with medium and then went to 0000. Then I simply sprayed clear nitro over it, about 3 cans worth, waited a few weeks and buffed it out. I didn't have any problems. Your mileage may vary. I used DEFT semi-gloss spray nitro from home depot.
 

AndyG

Senior member
Messages
562
Thanks guys ... at least now I have a starting point!

This is certainly not the first guitar I've decided to strip and re-finish, but it is the first involving tung oil.  I have another guitar in the works, so this project will probably start in August.  I'll let everybody know how it works out!

Thank-you again!
 
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