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View Full Version : tru oil on a maple neck


buddastrat
09-13-2007, 07:03 AM
Anyone have some pics of a neck they did with tru-oil? I'm getting a raw maple neck and thinking of trying the oil thing again. I'd like to get a nice tint to the color. Should I apply more coats or should I use a dye/stain and then oil?

The last neck I did with tru-oil came never really dried right. I did it in the middle of a very humid summer and hoping that was it. I hated that neck, it was always tacky, even months after oiling it and steel wooling.

buddastrat
09-13-2007, 07:20 AM
http://usacharvels.com/charvelgallery/1018-9b.jpg

This neck shows what I'm going for. Ernie Balls have that look too. Tinted with the silky, broken in feel. I'll have to pass on the barber shop stripes, though I could use a haircut.

acwild
09-13-2007, 09:57 AM
Sterling Ball recommends Tru Oil, but I've read that EBMM guitars have hand rubbed wax and oil. I love that look and feel too, so I'd like to know the results of your experiment.

Home Grown Tele
09-13-2007, 12:33 PM
Here are some pics:
http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m1/Ankhafnakhonsu/LonePine6.jpg
http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m1/Ankhafnakhonsu/LonePine4.jpg
http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m1/Ankhafnakhonsu/LonePine1.jpg
http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m1/Ankhafnakhonsu/Baricaster1.jpg
http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m1/Ankhafnakhonsu/Baricaster4.jpg
http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m1/Ankhafnakhonsu/Baricaster3.jpg

I used this formula:

If you are starting with a bare wood neck that's been prepped (by prepped neck, I mean a neck that has been sanded, and whiskered. “Whiskering” is using a damp cloth to raise the grain after which the wood is sanded or steel wooled to remove the "whiskers". I recommend whiskering at least 2-3 times before staining), the first thing to do is to stain the wood. What I use is Stew Macs' vintage amber water based stain. It's able to be adjusted to whatever shade you like very easily. Also, the stain is carried into the grain more deeply because the water doesn't evaporate as fast as alcohol, or oil based stain. This is what gives the grain "pop" you hear about.

Normally I stain, let dry, steel wool the neck with 0000 steel wool, wipe down and stain again. Then LIGHTLY steel wool again just to smooth the wood and remove excess stain from the surface.

After the stain is the color you like you can begin applying the oil. This is done by dipping your finger into the bottle and applying a generous amount to the wood, rubbing it into the wood with two fingers I try to apply enough oil to cover about 3-4 inches at a time. On this first coat you can go fairly heavy with the oil as the neck will drink it in.

Try to work in such a manner as to always be working the fresh oil into the oil you just rubbed in, smoothing and blending it together so there is no seam between the two areas. When rubbing in the oil try to be brisk so the oil heats slightly from the friction.
When the neck has been covered let it sit for several hours, or until it is no longer tacky, at which time you repeat the process. You'll find that after about three coats the oil will begin to build, and less oil will be needed to coat the neck.
Steel wool the neck lightly, after about four coats, just to create a nice smooth surface for the next coat. I usually apply 7-8 coats and after the final coat I let the neck sit overnight to allow the oil to harden.
When the oil feels dry and hard I very lightly steel wool the finish until it's no longer shiney. Try not to remove alot of the finish, just burnish it to remove the high gloss shine. let the neck sit for an hour or two and then use a clean cloth ( Old denim or T-shirt cloth works well) to buff the neck up and down fairly fast and you will bring the finish to a nice sheen!
This finish will be fast, but, it will get even faster as it cures, say a week or two. I try to finish the neck on a guitar first so that when the body is ready the neck will be well cured and feel as though it has been played for ten years!

It should work really nice!

willyboy
09-13-2007, 12:37 PM
i recently redid my strat neck with two light coats of tru-oil, steel wooled back to the wood so the neck is just sealed, and hand rubbed with clapham's beeswax to finish. there were no issues and it feels and looks just like the ebm's. perfect for my taste.

if there was a problem with curing/stickiness then most likely there was some contamination during finishing, probably something in the wood that inhibited the drying process. in my experience humidity tends to lenghten the drying time but not longterm as you have described. it is very important to make sure there is no residual finish or oils from hands, etc that can interfere and cause a chemical reaction with the tru-oil before you spray.

hope this helps.

buddastrat
09-13-2007, 01:17 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. Homegrown tele, I remember seeing that neck in another thread. You did a real nice job with that neck. Do you think that's the old Charvels did it? Stain and then oil? Will a water based decal adhere to an oil finish?

Willboy do you have a pic?

Spirit
09-13-2007, 02:06 PM
http://i194.photobucket.com/albums/z186/spiritoftheage/backofneck.jpg

http://i194.photobucket.com/albums/z186/spiritoftheage/DSCN0590.jpg

BoostAddict
09-13-2007, 08:31 PM
woooooooooooooooooooooooooow is that a warmoth or something else?

half birdseye half flame

THATS HOT holy shittt

willyboy
09-13-2007, 10:58 PM
sorry buddastrat - no pic of the neck i did

it does however look just like the ernie balls as far as the finish goes - clear maple with no stain and because the wood is essentially raw, there is no sheen/gloss like some of the previous posters' pics

i really prefer the feel of the wood this way with a light wax - it just feels smoother, faster, and less sticky in my hands. ever since i began playing raw necks 20 years ago i just can't get used to the feel of a completely finished neck. in fact i have a new strat on the way and the first thing i plan on doing is stripping the finish off the neck.

slo100
09-14-2007, 05:22 AM
The original San Dimas Charvel guitars were done with Tru-Oil so you can start out there but the original Charvel guitars that will have the look and feel like the above example can only be replicated with years of playing. If you look at early catalogs of the Charvels the necks started life a much lighter natural maple shade. Age and mileage!

ungarn
09-14-2007, 05:52 AM
sorry buddastrat - no pic of the neck i did

it does however look just like the ernie balls as far as the finish goes - clear maple with no stain and because the wood is essentially raw, there is no sheen/gloss like some of the previous posters' pics

i really prefer the feel of the wood this way with a light wax - it just feels smoother, faster, and less sticky in my hands. ever since i began playing raw necks 20 years ago i just can't get used to the feel of a completely finished neck. in fact i have a new strat on the way and the first thing i plan on doing is stripping the finish off the neck.

Willyboy,

Can you spell out the steps (for the neck finishing challenged) to do just what you describe...removing a crappy feeling new satin finish and turning into an oil/wax finish like an EBMM?

Thanks!

gkoelling
09-14-2007, 06:30 AM
These finishes look great. However, if you're looking for a relic finish, I don't think it can be done with Tru Oil. The link here says it won't yellow or crack with age, which makes sense for finishing gun stocks, it's intended use.

http://www.birchwoodcasey.com/sport/wood_index.asp?categoryID=5&subcat=11

I'm considering using it on a Strat neck to go on a JV poly finished body. Since the body won't relic like nitro, I think Tru Oil would be a good match.

buddastrat
09-14-2007, 07:20 AM
No not looking for a relic finish, just a nice shade to the oil look. The dirt and grub comes easy to me (lol).

I like the darker, oiled look like on that striped guitar. I know in time it will get there with a lot of play. I guess I'll just rub a couple coats of tru-oil and play the snot out of it.

thanks for the pics. They all look great. I love nitro, raw and oiled maple necks, especially on a strat.

slo100
09-14-2007, 10:15 AM
You could consider a light stain if you were working with a new neck. Stain first, give it some time to dry, and oil later. I have repaired a few of my Charvel necks and had to spot stain them after sanding the repaired area. I have used Minwax oil based stains for the purpose of matching the repair to a 20+ year old worn in oiled neck. This has worked well for me in replicating the tint of the original. The key for me is multiple coats allowed to dry with a bit is steel wooling in between. I also use the green plastic abrasive pads which work well.

I have to agree with you on the oiled neck feel, it is great!

Please post your results.

buddastrat
09-14-2007, 10:17 AM
thanks slo100. I still want to find out if a water slide decal will work after I stain/oil this thing. Anyone?

gkoelling
09-14-2007, 11:27 AM
thanks slo100. I still want to find out if a water slide decal will work after I stain/oil this thing. Anyone?

It looks like the guitar Home Grown Tele posted above has a decal on the headstock.

Home Grown Tele
09-14-2007, 11:42 AM
It looks like the guitar Home Grown Tele posted above has a decal on the headstock.

Both those necks have waterslide decals on them. They work just fine on Tru-Oil. Best bet is to wait a day or two after the last coat of Tru-Oil and put it on after you buff out the finish.

Good luck with the neck! I'm hooked on Tru-Oil finishes after those two!

CitizenCain
09-14-2007, 12:51 PM
I put a Tru-Oil finish on my Vintage Mahognay LP Studio and it turned out great. Just put it over the stock finish and leveled it out every so often with steel wool. It filled in teh grain about 50-60%. If I'd have gone whole hog and did a full body prep, it'd look like a killer lacquer finish!

I'm hooked on Tru-Oil for my situation (not able to spray or work with lacquer where I live now).

gkoelling
09-14-2007, 01:49 PM
I put a Tru-Oil finish on my Vintage Mahognay LP Studio and it turned out great. Just put it over the stock finish and leveled it out every so often with steel wool. It filled in teh grain about 50-60%. If I'd have gone whole hog and did a full body prep, it'd look like a killer lacquer finish!

I'm hooked on Tru-Oil for my situation (not able to spray or work with lacquer where I live now).


Pics, please!

funkle
09-14-2007, 04:03 PM
Anyone have some pics of a neck they did with tru-oil? I'm getting a raw maple neck and thinking of trying the oil thing again. I'd like to get a nice tint to the color. Should I apply more coats or should I use a dye/stain and then oil?

The last neck I did with tru-oil came never really dried right. I did it in the middle of a very humid summer and hoping that was it. I hated that neck, it was always tacky, even months after oiling it and steel wooling.

Not sure if someone else addressed this, but you've got to wipe off the excess after applying a coat, otherwise it will get gummy. Let it dry, then do a very light sand or steel wool between coats (not enough to remove the finish). Keep adding coats until you're satisfied with the sheen, then let it cure for at least a week.

I've also done a neck in Tung oil, and I prefer it over the Tru-oil, mainly because it smells better and does not darken the finish, Tru-oil gives a slight brown hue and smells, well, like a gun stock :) The best smelling oil is the stuff Suhr uses, I wish I knew what it was.

I sprayed my neck with ReRanch amber stain before oiling. The spray which is only dye in a solvent (no lacquer) actually worked quite well. You could wipe on a stain as well.

buddastrat
09-14-2007, 08:57 PM
funkle, I actually like the darker look that tru oil gives, but I'm with ya on that smell. I could do without it.

You probably hit it on the head with me, not taking the time in between coats to do it right. I just remember it being 90 degrees in the apartment, no AC and rubbing on the oil, wait a couple hours and do it again and then the next day, steel wooling and then putting it on the body. I figured it'd cure while I played it! I'm impatient with that stuff!

bluesjuke
09-14-2007, 09:54 PM
willieboy, What type of wax are you reffering to?


Years ago I refinned an Explorer with stain and hand rubbed Johnson's floor paste wax on it thinly and wiped down all excess.
Good result.

I'm interested in knowing what kind of oil you use in combination with the Tru Oil though.

willyboy
09-15-2007, 11:17 PM
Can you spell out the steps (for the neck finishing challenged) to do just what you describe...removing a crappy feeling new satin finish and turning into an oil/wax finish like an EBMM?

i just used furniture stripper which you can get at wal-mart or any hardware store. the gel type is easiest to work with because it doesn't drip as much - it stays where you put it and you don't have to reapply as much. i took the neck off the body first (removed the tuners also) because the chemical stripper is pretty nasty stuff - you can also purchase other types which are not as corrosive, i just prefer this. just follow the directions on the label which are easy to do.

i wanted to keep the finish and decal on the headstock so i was careful not to get stripper on this. once the neck is stripped, immediately wipe it clean with acetone or lacquer thinner which will help to remove any leftover stripper and finish and leave you with raw wood - important especially if you want to do the amber tint dye for the vintage-look-thing. the acetone will disappear pretty quickly but i like to just leave it alone until the next day before refinishing. better to not rush to the finishing stage as this is where problems often occur because of compatablilty issues with the chemicals involved and contamination from oils on your skin, etc.

as far as the tru-oil i just followed the advice from thorn and others on a previous thread. great tips. i don't have a link to it but just do a search for tru-oil.

hope this is useful
cheers

willyboy
09-15-2007, 11:34 PM
willieboy, What type of wax are you reffering to?

clapham's beeswax polish for antiques and fine furniture. manufactured by clapham's beeswax products in abbotsford, bc. phone # on the can is 1-800-667-2939 if your interested.

it is a higher grade wax than the minwax stuff without any chemical additives - smells nice too because of the lavender scent - the aroma-therapy probably makes me calmer when i play!!!! hard to find though - i got this at a place that specialized in finishing supplies for furniture and millwork. i am sure the minwax will suffice though.

i found out about this stuff because i worked as a finisher in a millwork shop for 5 years doing mainly highend retail and many $1,000,000+ homes while i was going through university. it is a great product.

willyboy
09-15-2007, 11:55 PM
just found this very useful and interesting article on tru-oil and finishing

http://falcon.jmu.edu/~dehartcg/finish.htm

bluesjuke
09-16-2007, 03:12 AM
Hey wiilyboy, Thanks for the info and that link!

gkoelling
09-16-2007, 04:43 AM
willieboy, What type of wax are you reffering to?


Years ago I refinned an Explorer with stain and hand rubbed Johnson's floor paste wax on it thinly and wiped down all excess.
Good result.

I'm interested in knowing what kind of oil you use in combination with the Tru Oil though.

Quite a while back someone here mentioned using this to finish a guitar.

http://www.natchezsolution.com/

It's also a beeswax formula with no chemicals. I saved the link because I wanted to try some of it on an antique desk. Naturally, I still haven't ordered any. :rolleyes:

ungarn
09-16-2007, 06:09 AM
Thanks willyboy!

bluesjuke
09-16-2007, 06:24 AM
The Natchez Solution looks very interesting indeed.
I saved the info too...
....hope I don't let it sit there like I do so many other things also!
I would like to try this if on nothing else but the old Schoolhouse wood chair that I sit in while playing most of the time.

I'll bet it would be nice on a neck or guitar body without any problems in the 'finishing' process.


My wife tells me that she has used their other product, TLC- Total Leather Care, on her horse tack and is pleased with the results from that.

buddastrat
09-16-2007, 07:36 AM
That Natchez stuff looks like it makes the wood quite dark. At least with that rocking chair.

bluesjuke
09-16-2007, 09:48 AM
Don't forget that the chair was dry like bones baking in the desert sun too.

gkoelling
09-16-2007, 09:57 AM
IIRC, whoever posted that link in the past had used the Natchez Solution on a body. I don't think the thread was about neck finishes.

However, if waxing an oil finish it might work. I've never tried it, though.

Gigdog
09-25-2007, 04:04 AM
Can anyone recommend a good software program for designing a logo to use on my guitar headstocks?

stratoskier
09-25-2007, 09:42 AM
Just to be sure I'm getting the right stuff, when you say "TruOil" are we talking about the stuff that comes in a brown, 8-oz bottle and is labeled "Tru-Oil Gun Stock Finish" with "First Choice of Professionals" in smaller letters below?

I ask because my local gun dealer apparently has several TruOil products, one is a rub-on product (the above one, I think) and another is a spray of some sort.

Thanks!
Bert

gkoelling
09-25-2007, 09:54 AM
Bert,

I believe the rub on oil is what people are using.

Quarter
09-25-2007, 10:22 AM
The strait oil is great for building body and the spray is nice for the final coat.

On Tru-Oil, I just love the way it brings wood alive. And the butterscotch tint if gives to maple is sweet.

Here is a maple / mahogany lap steel I built and finished with Tru-Oil

.
http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g94/quarterbend/topdown.jpg

gkoelling
09-25-2007, 10:38 AM
Quarter,

Great looking lap steel!

Your pic angle is giving me vertigo, though. :worried

stratoskier
10-02-2007, 07:20 AM
Greetings again,
OK -- I got the Tru-Oil and I'm almost ready to go, but I have another question.

Part of my project involves refinishing a headstock with the Tru-Oil. I have new decals, and they are not the waterslide variety. They're mounted on some wax paper-like stuff. The instructions say to "separate the decal applicator tape from the wax paper lifting decal, place sticky side down on the surface, rub to transfer decal, remove transparent applicator tape." Does this indicate that these are vinyl decals?

Regardless, my question is whether anyone knows if I should apply the Tru-Oil before or after applying the decal? I'm concerned that 1) the decal might not stick to an oiled surface and/or 2) the decal might react badly to the Tru-Oil once it's exposed on either top or bottom. Anyone?

Cheers,
Bert

bluesjuke
10-03-2007, 02:25 AM
I would think that after the Tru- Oil is applied and allowed to harden the decal would be OK after that.
Can't guess on how it would react with the Tru-Oil on top of it though.

stratoskier
10-03-2007, 05:42 AM
Thanks -- from earlier posts, it sounded folks had success with waterslides and Tru-Oil, but it wasn't clear to me if anyone had tried Tru-Oil with a vinyl decal. We'll see what happens!