Tru Oil Finishing

Ozopart

Junior Member
Messages
148
I keep going back and forth on unfinished vs. finished and since I can't find a finished option I like, I keep coming back to finishing myself.
My question(s) are:
(1) Since it is winter and I keep my house relatively cold, around 66 F, is this too cold for applying the Tru Oil?
(2) How toxic and smelly is the Tru Oil? I can't open a window during winter but I do have a ceiling fan in the room I would use. So I am asking (a) if I need a ventilator mask, and (b) if the Tru Oil will stink up the house.
If it isn't feasible to do this in the winter, indoors, then I can wait until spring.
Thanks!
 
You could also go with Tung oil, it takes more coats probably than Tru oil, it's a food-safe finish, no mineral spirits.
 
1. No.  But why not put it at 70 when applying the finish.  You’ll feel happier.
2. Truoil is not smelly.  Do not open a window, maybe a crack if the smell bothers you, do not use a fan … think about dust.  No need for a mask.

In the later coats thin with naphtha.  Do a search here on how to apply tru oil.  It’s forgiving.

You need to look at the tru oil website.
 
Sadie-f said:
You could also go with Tung oil, it takes more coats probably than Tru oil, it's a food-safe finish, no mineral spirits.

That depends as not all things sold as Tung oil are pure tung oil. Lots of what is sold as "Tung oil" is full of additives which definitely is then not food safe.
 
stratamania said:
Sadie-f said:
You could also go with Tung oil, it takes more coats probably than Tru oil, it's a food-safe finish, no mineral spirits.

That depends as not all things sold as Tung oil are pure tung oil. Lots of what is sold as "Tung oil" is full of additives which definitely is then not food safe.

Well said, you're right, I didn't think of it because I've used pure almost exclusively over many years. The exceptions were the tung incorporated in marine varnishes and polymerized tung, which includes mineral spirits to make it easier to apply.

Polymerized tung is harder to work with, it's faster cure time puts a hard limit on the time needed to wipe off excess.
 
As always, thanks to all for responding. I did research Tung Oil and found what Stratamania said. Although they do say the Tung Oil that is not pure is easier to work with, but non-toxic sounds good. I am going to research Tung Oil further. I found pure at the following link: https://www.realmilkpaint.com/shop/oils/pure-tung-chinawood/
I don't know if Real Milk Paint is the only manufacturer but they were the only one my search found. Of course since I always search with -amazon at the end I can't say what Amazon might hae.
I am still deciding between Swamp Ash, Mahagony and Black Korina and I am researching each for ease of finishing and whether sealer is needed. I wish I liked a finished color from Warmoth but I just can't be sure especially since they go to great pains to make sure you know that the delivered product can deviate from what the online picture shows.
It looks like the Half/Half would be good as it is already thinned. I am also wondering about the regular tung oil vs. dark. In the pictures on the website the dark tung oil on mahagony looks really nice. It doesn't show ash or korina wood samples. I already have Tru Oil but the Tung Oil looks good as it is not toxic.
 
Pure tung is not hard to find imx, l got what I'm using now from Rockler, simply because it was available locally.

Lee Valley sells both pure and polymerized.

You can see the finish work I did in a tung oil finish over mahogany & rosewood here: https://www.unofficialwarmoth.com/index.php?topic=33393.0

The mahogany was much easier, the high natural oil content and greater difference in grain sized of the rosewood top made it more challenging and the last several layers were in polymerized tung to get a more consistent gloss, however all the photos of the mahogany back in that thread were pure tung.

I can't speak to korina or swamp ash, should fundamentally work on either.
 
Sadie-f said:
Pure tung is not hard to find imx, l got what I'm using now from Rockler, simply because it was available locally.

Lee Valley sells both pure and polymerized.

You can see the finish work I did in a tung oil finish over mahogany & rosewood here: https://www.unofficialwarmoth.com/index.php?topic=33393.0

The mahogany was much easier, the high natural oil content and greater difference in grain sized of the rosewood top made it more challenging and the last several layers were in polymerized tung to get a more consistent gloss, however all the photos of the mahogany back in that thread were pure tung.

I can't speak to korina or swamp ash, should fundamentally work on either.
Thanks Sadie, the tung oil looks like a great option for me. I prefer natural products for sure. I did see that other post on your build an it looks fabulous!
On question, in the sticky thread on the top of DIY finishing it says pure tung oil has a tendency to whiten. What are your thoughts on this?

I just created a build on the Warmoth site and I am thinking this might be what I go with. Here is what I "built". I am thinking I won't need a pickguard. I prefer not to have one.:
Construction
Chambered
Core Wood
Mahogany
Lam Top Wood
Quilt Maple
Unique Choice
No, Warmoth can choose for me.
Right / Left Handed
Right-Handed
Control Cavity
Rear Rout
Neck Pickup Rout
Humbucker
24 Fret Reposition
No
Middle Pickup Rout
None
Bridge Pickup Rout
Humbucker
F-Holes
1 F-Hole
Control Layout
Strat® Controls
Controls
Volume 1, Tone 1, Tone 2, Blade Switch
Jack Rout
7/8" (22mm) Side Jack Hole
Bridge Rout Type
Hardtail
Bridge Rout
Narrow Strat® Flat Mount
Mounting Holes
Standard 4-Bolt
Neck Pocket Shape
Strat® (Non-Standard)
Body Contours
None
Binding & Edge Decorations
None
Battery Box
None
Paint Category
No Paint
 
Ozopart said:
Thanks Sadie, the tung oil looks like a great option for me. I prefer natural products for sure. I did see that other post on your build an it looks fabulous!
On question, in the sticky thread on the top of DIY finishing it says pure tung oil has a tendency to whiten. What are your thoughts on this?

I haven't seen it happen, the closest I've seen to that is when wet things were left on a tung finished table.

Here are my notes on where I think that sticky post is missing the mark on tung oil

https://www.unofficialwarmoth.com/index.php?topic=33446.0
 
Sadie-f said:
Ozopart said:
Thanks Sadie, the tung oil looks like a great option for me. I prefer natural products for sure. I did see that other post on your build an it looks fabulous!
On question, in the sticky thread on the top of DIY finishing it says pure tung oil has a tendency to whiten. What are your thoughts on this?

I haven't seen it happen, the closest I've seen to that is when wet things were left on a tung finished table.

Here are my notes on where I think that sticky post is missing the mark on tung oil

https://www.unofficialwarmoth.com/index.php?topic=33446.0
Thanks for this information. Everything has pros and cons, but so far tung oil seems like a good choice for me. I am not looking for perfection but an "optimal" solution. For me that balances quality of finish with cost and safety in terms of preparation and use. I definitely will not be eating off of my guitar, or putting wet things on it, other than maybe perspiration!
 
p.s. your build order sounds great! I placed an order for a quilt maple > maple body exactly 6 weeks ago hoping for a shipment notification soon, so you'll probably see some of my build images well before yours arrives.

 
Sadie-f said:
p.s. your build order sounds great! I placed an order for a quilt maple > maple body exactly 6 weeks ago hoping for a shipment notification soon, so you'll probably see some of my build images well before yours arrives.
Thanks, and thanks for your suggestion on the Tung Oil. I am going to give it a try. So I went ahead and placed my order this afternoon. Good luck on your build, I hope it looks and sounds great. I will be interested to see the quilt maple top. I like the look of it. I reached out to the tung oil people from the link I put in my earlier post and they advised 1 part tung oil to 2 parts citris solvent for mahagany and maple. I am undecided about whether to get some Wood Wax to give it a satin finish. I have time to ruminate on that for now. Thank again for your help and do keep us posted when you get your new order.
 
Usually you thin only the first coat to improve absorption into the grain. Other than that, I didn't thin any coats.
 
Funny ... I do the reverse ... latter  coats get thinned.  So there ya go.
 
The Pure Tung Oil and Citrus Solvent on the RealMilkPaint site sells the oil in 8 or 16 ounce sizes, and the solvent in 16 ounce and higher sizes. I was thinking maybe to order 16 oz of both. Does that make sense? And I was thinking of ordering the wood wax in case I want a bit of satin finish. Not sure on the wax though.
 
Remember that I have applied a stupid number of layers (>20). I've gone thru about 12 oz of tung.
 
Personally I think pure Tung oil could turn out to be a less thrilling experience for someone new to finishing. Something like wipe on poly or Danish oil might be a better approach.
 
stratamania said:
Personally I think pure Tung oil could turn out to be a less thrilling experience for someone new to finishing. Something like wipe on poly or Danish oil might be a better approach.
Obviously I'm the tung evangelist here, let me agree, clarify and counterpoint :).

Oil finishes generally aren't going to achieve high gloss, if one wants a specular reflection off the surface, then tung or blo are going to take a very long time to get there.

What they are great for is a high level of protection with very low overhead. Spray finish needs very good dust control, and brushing those types of finish needs that and perfect technique.

And what I'm about to say probably applies to Danish oil/wipe on also.

Oil finishes are very tolerant of dust, each layer is so thin, any entrained dust can be rubbed off easily, I don't know how true that is for a wipe on varnish, because I haven't used that.

6 layers of tung is fine for protection and will leave a finish that wants to be wiped down occasionally. Small scratches disappear with application of a spot of fresh oil, wipe off and let cure for a day, generally you can use the instrument while that is happening.

The main caveat is it must be wiped down within an hour (less for polymerized tung). Failure to wipe down reasonably soon will result in crazing of the surface, correctable, but still to be avoided. Also using sunshine (uv & heat) exposure to accelerate polymerization is a pro move, not for the faint of heart.

The oak dining table and chairs I finished in tung were wearing fine 20 years later, never once touched up, there was visible patina from many years of meals served, homework and projects done, etc. It still had plenty of shine, the insert sections that didn't see daily use, didn't clash with the rest when we put them in.

Finally, tung should be a good base over which a varnish could be sprayed later if one decided they wanted those specular reflections.
 
Sadie-F and Stratamania - both of your opinions are very valuable to me. Funny your two posts should be on the thread this morning as it is something I have been thinking about overnight. The pros and cons of DIY vs. Warmoth finishing. I am not at all afraid to learn new things, and understand mistakes can/will be made, and that there are pros and cons to each approach. What I have been struggling with since placing the order is what my expectations should be as to the finished product with either tung oil or tru oil vs. the finish on my Warmoth strat and other off the shelf guitars. Lacking the correct verbiage I would say off the shelf and Warmoth finished guitars have that smooth, sort of plastic feel to the surface. My expectation would be they essentially require no maintenance other than wiping and maybe occasional polishing unless they are damaged like from scratches or gouges, but not from normal playing.
I have been wondering what to expect from a tung or tru oil finish. Will it hold up to daily playing or will it require a lot of maintenance? What will it feel like? Smooth, sticky, coarse? Will it scratch or dent easier, or put another way, what is the level of protection?
Again, I am not at all afraid of the time or effort required for DIY, I just have realized overnight that I really don't know what to expect in terms of the look and feel of the finished product, and the ongoing maintenance.
My DIY decision started from not really liking any of the Warmoth finishes. But I guess I could update things and go with Clear from Warmoth. Not sure how to proceed but since I place the order Tuesday, I should probably make a definitive decision today.
I highly respect both of your opinons and would really appreciate your thoughts. I apologize as alway for my lack of experience.
 
You know you could get some various wipe on finishes and experiment on some wooden board as a test before committing to putting it on a guitar body. With most of these things there are often no right or wrong answers it is more about finding what works for you.

There are also finishing type kits available from a company called Wudtone that you might want to explore. I have not personally tried this but it might be something to look at. Though I am not sure if they ship the finishes worldwide nowadays.
 
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