Educate me on Tru-oil & other finishes...

Kluch

Member
Messages
4,029
Thinking about purchasing a custom made beautiful Tele. The only thing that makes me a bit nervous is I've become really accustomed to playing relic guitars with real smooth sanded down necks. The builder told me he finishes most all his necks with tru-oil. From the pictures it looks like a nice gloss finish. Most of the gloss finishes I've played are fender guitars with this thick kind of, sticky almost, finish. I'm wondering is that the kind of finish tru-oil is, or is it different feeling. Is there a distinction here or does anything glossy like this feel smooth but yet, hard kind of like plastic?
 

SPROING!

Member
Messages
8,796
You can make Tru Oil as matte or as glossy as you like depending on how much you put on.
Stop after a few coats and the wood grain is still readily felt.
Keep going with it and it builds up.

It's just a varnish in a linseed oil carrier.
A little varnish feels pretty bare. A lot is a thick glossy finish.

If you like the bare feel, Watco Danish Oil finish may be more to your liking. It's very thin and doesn't build like Tru Oil does but is essentially the same type finish...spar varnish.
 

EADGBE

Senior Member
Messages
12,338
I like pure tung oil for raw maple necks. Raw linseed oil for rosewood or ebony fretboards. They're drying oils. They've been used on woods for centuries. You just have to be careful with the oil soaked rags as they can spontaneously catch on fire. You can put them in a jar with water and then seal them with the lid and toss.
 
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444
I used to finish my partscaster necks in nitro but switched to Tru-oil. I guess mine come out more sheen/semi-gloss than overly shiny. Given the cheapness and ease of tru-oil finishes I wouldn't go back to nitro. More importantly, I love the way the neck shaft feels - slick and not at all sticky or plasticky.
 

simonm

Member
Messages
1,017
Tung oil and tru-oil are very different - I know because I got them mixed up.

Tung oil took forever to dry and felt weird to me. I applied it over a water based stain and applying the oil just wiped all the stain away. Tru-oil, as SPROING says is just a thin oil-based wipe-on varnish - felt much nicer and dried quick, and most of the stain stayed under it.
 

Route234

Member
Messages
8,969
Tru Oil shouldnt be "sticky" on the neck. I have a neck with it and its smoother than most if not all of my other guitars necks.
 

SPROING!

Member
Messages
8,796
I like pure tung oil for raw maple necks. Raw linseed oil for rosewood or ebony fretboards. They're drying oils. They've been used on woods for centuries. You just have to be careful with the oil soaked rags as they can spontaneously catch on fire. You can put them in a jar with water and then seal them with the lid and toss.
That is definitely NOT the way to dispose of oil soaked rags. Water or not, placing them in any sealed container is bad news. Water will not prevent the chemical reactions from taking place.

Oil soaked rags are to be hung out in the air to dry completely. Once dry, they're no longer dangerous and can be tossed in the trash.

Never put an oil soaked rag inside any closed container, water or no.
 

cherrick

Member
Messages
2,584
That is definitely NOT the way to dispose of oil soaked rags. Water or not, placing them in any sealed container is bad news. Water will not prevent the chemical reactions from taking place.

Oil soaked rags are to be hung out in the air to dry completely. Once dry, they're no longer dangerous and can be tossed in the trash.

Never put an oil soaked rag inside any closed container, water or no.
this.

then burn them.
 

Kluch

Member
Messages
4,029
Thanks guys, this is great info! If you have any other thoughts keep them coming :)
 

Quarter

Member
Messages
1,594
As was mentioned, Tru Oil is really more like and old school oil based varnish than a true traditional drying oil like pure tung. It feels great under hand and really does make a fine neck finish. You can do a very minimal application like MusicMan does for a more raw feel or build it to a high gloss if thats your thing. Beyond the great feel of Tru Oil, it can really bring out the beauty in even the plainest of woods.
 




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