Tung Oil Questions


I am finished a black Korina Tele body with tung oil. Initial coats have been Behlen tung oil cut 50% with mineral spirits. So far I have 6 coats on the body and the end grain just drinks that stuff up. Is there anything wrong with flooding the end grain with the cut back tung oil? Should I use uncut tung oil instead? So far there is little sign of any finish on the surface of the wood, even on the front cap which is somewhat less porous. I have been applying finish, waiting about 1 hour and removing excess oil with paper towels. There are no signs of stickyness or gummy residue on the wood. The body has darkened significantly and looks great but feels pretty much like raw wood. I have a spare bedroom that I have been heating to about 85 F for finishing and this seems to accelerate absorption of the oil.

Any suggestions from those with tung oil experience would be greatly appreciated.

After the initial coats, there's no need to continue to cut the tung oil. Just use straight tung oil for the remaining coats.
Wipe off as much excess oil as possible, and let the body sit for about three weeks.  That is - the oil in the wood needs to polymerize (harden) on its own, and that is going to take time.

Then once thats done, use the Stu-Mac clear grain filler (water based) on the body.  I think you'll find you can "scrape" the filler into the grain, keep it very thin, let it dry a few hours, then sand back.  Repeat as needed to fill the grain, which will also seal the wood to a great degree.

Personally, I'd do this on the entire body.... not just the endgrain.  When sanding it off, use 320 grit paper.  On your last filler application, use 320 to get the excess filler off, then go back over it with 400 - lots of 400, to get any sanding marks invisibly small.  Sand with the grain on the top and bottom, and the long way around the sides of the guitar.

Then you can start with the oil again.  Tung oil will take a while to dry - like 3 weeks.  The finish air dries - and needs to breathe.  Additional coats of oil over existing coats will slow the process considerably, and you might end up with "gummies", even with thin coats, when later coats are applied too quickly.  Let me say that again - you might end up with "gummies", even with thin coats, when later coats are applied too quickly.

If you do that, your body will have the look and feel of very expensive fine furniture when its done.  There will be a totally smooth, mellow glow, to the entire body.
i recently had a good look at willyk's collection. i didnt realise, tung oil ends up looking like glass. looks incredible.
Thanks for the advice. Looks like another StewMac order is in the works. Those guys must love me.

Will whine some more later when I run into additional problems.

Kind regards,

I get junk mail from stewmac regularly and I live in Taiwan, first time I had international junk mail.