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  1. #1
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    Default Final finishes for Tasmanian Blackwood and Mahogany guitar ?

    Hello,

    I have started a few threads during this guitar build, and been helped very much. Some of you could claim part ownership, but please don't !

    I'm at the stage now where I can prep and apply final finishes.

    Here's a couple of pics. The body, fretboard (oil finish already applied) and headstock veneer are all Tassie Blackwood.

    The neck is Honduran Mahogany, and the control cavity cover plate is Fijian Mahogany. The latter not as red in its natural state.

    The guitar looks as in the photos, perhaps a little anaemic, but classy (I think), so I propose to do the body and headstock veneer with pre-cat 30% gloss Watyl Stylwood for a bit of gloss lift, with the neck and cover plate in Scandinavian Oil for a matt or low satin finish there.

    Looks are very much a personal taste thing, but if you agree that the guitar could do with a subtle lift (though it is still to get 3 x nickel volume/tone knobs), Id appreciate some opinions on this.

    And also on the best preparation pre- application.

    Thank you,

    Don20170321_135739.jpg20170303_141317.jpg20170321_135753.jpg

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  3. #2
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    Have you considered Birchwood Casey Tru oil? Gives an excellent finish on both guitars and gun stocks. Can be worked up to a high gloss or cut back to a satin finish. Easy to apply and recoat without stripping. I love it. Wouldnt use anything else.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustynail View Post
    Have you considered Birchwood Casey Tru oil? Gives an excellent finish on both guitars and gun stocks. Can be worked up to a high gloss or cut back to a satin finish. Easy to apply and recoat without stripping. I love it. Wouldnt use anything else.

    Rustynail, I did use Hard Burnishing Oil HBO on the fretboard after being told about it on this forum. I didn't machine apply it wet, just 3 brush coats and cotton buff at medium speed with care after drying, as per the instructions on the can for a matte finish. Came up nice.

    I did apply Feastwatson Grain filler beforehand and rubbed back to micro thin. Did I do the right thing using this under an oiled finish ?

    Is Tru Oil similar to HBO ?

  5. #4
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    Tru oil has a hardener in it which gives a much more durable finish than most other oils. This is its advantage for heavily handled items like guitars and rifle stocks. Much easier to apply than HBO.
    For open grained timber good filling is achieved by wet sanding the first coats of oil. This forms a slurry from the oil and wood dust which, in the process of rubbing in the oil, fills the open grain with the same material as the surrounding timber. Hard to get a better colour match than that. And here is the easy bit, you just rub it in with your fingers! The more coats the higher the gloss. No need to burnish to get a luster. Recoats in a couple of hours. For a high quality finish on an exhibition grade rifle stock I usually go to about 24 coats. This produces a mirror finish of exceptional high gloss which may be cut back with rotten stone to give a more satin luster, but still with excellent figure definition. Its the clients choice.
    Once dry and cured, the surface is quite tough and any scratches can be oiled out with the addition of a little more Tru oil rubbed into the scratch or a general re oil as and when you feel so inclined. I've been using it for about 30years and reckon its the ducks guts. And I've used a lot of different oils over the years, but when it comes to guitars and stocks this stuff is a stand out.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustynail View Post
    Have you considered Birchwood Casey Tru oil? Gives an excellent finish on both guitars and gun stocks. Can be worked up to a high gloss or cut back to a satin finish. Easy to apply and recoat without stripping. I love it. Wouldnt use anything else.

    Not my thread but I do have some Mahogany and Cypress to finish so I might try that stuff, sounds really good. Now, I'm still trying to work out if I want to try shellac as a grain filler.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustynail View Post
    Tru oil has a hardener in it which gives a much more durable finish than most other oils. This is its advantage for heavily handled items like guitars and rifle stocks. Much easier to apply than HBO.
    For open grained timber good filling is achieved by wet sanding the first coats of oil. This forms a slurry from the oil and wood dust which, in the process of rubbing in the oil, fills the open grain with the same material as the surrounding timber. Hard to get a better colour match than that. And here is the easy bit, you just rub it in with your fingers! The more coats the higher the gloss. No need to burnish to get a luster. Recoats in a couple of hours. For a high quality finish on an exhibition grade rifle stock I usually go to about 24 coats. This produces a mirror finish of exceptional high gloss which may be cut back with rotten stone to give a more satin luster, but still with excellent figure definition. Its the clients choice.
    Once dry and cured, the surface is quite tough and any scratches can be oiled out with the addition of a little more Tru oil rubbed into the scratch or a general re oil as and when you feel so inclined. I've been using it for about 30years and reckon its the ducks guts. And I've used a lot of different oils over the years, but when it comes to guitars and stocks this stuff is a stand out.
    Rustynail,

    Thank you again !

    What grades wet and dry paper do you use ?

    I envisaged a medium satin finish to the body (Tasmanian Blackwood) , and a low satin finish to the back of the neck and the control cavity plate (Honduran and Fijian Mahogany respectively).

    How many coats would you apply for that level of gloss in each case ?

    Is it available at say, Bunnings or a specialised supplier?

  8. #7
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    I go down to 800 wet and dry or 0000 steel wool. I prefer paper to wool due to steel wool fibres getting embedded in the timber surface and rusting many years later. As apprentices, we were never allowed to use steel wool for this reason. It seems to have become more accepted these days. But the problem remains.
    For the timbers you are using it would probably do to start at about 220 grit for roughing then drop down to 300 then 400 for general finish sand. A final sand with 600 before first oil application should be fine enough. Wet down with metho between each sand, this will raise the grain and evaporate quickly giving a quick dry sanding surface. Water is slow to dry. Last but not least...allow at least 7days for curing after final oil coat before cutting back if a satin sheen is required. I think you will probably decide the shine on the uncut finish will be more appropriate for a guitar. Just stop coating when you are happy with the finish.
    The number of coats very much depends on the timber. Normally it will take 3-4 coats for a complete seal (no pin holing,)after that another 3-4 coats will give a satin finish. My 24 coat finish is just sheer decadence.
    Birchwood Casey products can be purchased online or at any gun shop.
    Good luck and enjoy.

  9. #8
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    Thank you. Will post the results (if I dont stuff it it !).

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    The nice thing about Tru oil is you can't stuff it up. All mistakes are pretty easily fixed.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustynail View Post
    The nice thing about Tru oil is you can't stuff it up. All mistakes are pretty easily fixed.
    Thanks. You may be hearing from me ......

    One clarification, you said in your how to post "water is slow to dry". Is that meaning, only use metho, not water in the rubbing.

    Oh, and when using the wet and dry paper and the tru-oil, is it ok to use the circular motion on this body's very vertical grain ? Or only rub with the grain ?

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustynail View Post
    The nice thing about Tru oil is you can't stuff it up. All mistakes are pretty easily fixed.
    Sorry Rustynail... forgot to ask earlier. How much tru Oil do I need for the guitar body and neck, assuming I go for the gloss levels I mentioned in an earlier post ?

    I see I can buy 90 mls or 240mls bottles fairly readily online.

  13. #12
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    Sorry to thread jack again bit you can get 0000 steel wool in a stainless variety.

    Not sure if some finishing products would cause it to rust though.....?

  14. #13
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    Attachment 409229 90ml will be plenty. When sanding the raw timber, use metho between sandings to raise the grain fibres. This dries much quicker than water and allows you to sand again after only a few seconds. Only sand in the direction of the grain, you dont want scratches. Only wet the timber, not the paper.
    After raw timber sanding is complete, down to finest grit, it is time to fill using Tue oil. do small sections at a time, about hand size. Apply oil to timber and fine sand until a slurry appears. Continue process over entire surface and then wipe off excess slurry. Allow to dry overnight. Fine sand back to timber surface.
    Now ready to oil. Place a few drops of oil in a small container you can fit your finger in easily, plastic is fine. Recap the oil bottle. Now dip finger into oil (this is when the phone usually rings.) Rub the oil into the timber using your fingers in a circular motion, still doing small area at a time. Wipe along grain to smooth out and eliminate any runs. Remember, just a little at a time, otherwise you will be chasing runs all over the place. Work quickly to retain a wet edge. Between each oil application fine sand lightly, in the direction of the grain and then wipe down with a tack cloth to remove any dust. Continue process until desired finish is reached. Do not sand after final coat. Allow oil to cure for at least a week (I prefer to leave it a month if I can) before using any form of abrasive, burnishing or buffing. Once the oil has hardened it will take any of these processes extremely well. Insufficient curing time will mean any further surface finishing will be a step in the wrong direction.
    The attached photo shows a Walnut rifle stock fully oiled and waiting for the client to decide what, if any further action he requires. This, of course, is all good curing time. Same applies to a guitar, no reason not to use it while its curing.

  15. #14
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    This is a great reply rustynail. No wonder you're a 'most valued member'.

    The attachment wont open though, something about 'invalid' comes up. Id love to see it, so could you try again please ?

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