Truoil application

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Matt Atkinson
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Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:35 pm
Location: New Hampshire

Truoil application

Post by Matt Atkinson »

I am applying coats of Truoil to an acoustic guitar. Scuffing between coats with 0000 steel wool. Over and over and over. I have had to sand it completely back twice. My wiping technique needs help I think. I have seen demonstrations where folks put it on fairly heavy and wiped it "smooth" and also folks putting it on light and wiping it "off" with a dry towel. Neither method is working to my satisfaction. Wipe marks and hazy spots. I am using a small piece of clean cotton rag folded into a 2x2 square. I chose Truoil based on people saying how low tech and user friendly it is. I'm going to switch to a grey pad to avoid having to run over everything with a magnet wrapped in cloth. I am dusting off and using a tack rag between coats. It seems by the time I scuff everywhere looking against a lamp to see shiny spots I have removed most of the last layer. The neck is doing fine. The back and sides and top are where my troubles are. Any advice appreciated...

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Barry Daniels
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Location: The Woodlands, Texas

Re: Truoil application

Post by Barry Daniels »

Yep, you are removing as much as you are applying. No need to do that. Just apply with a cloth dampened with Truoil. It will come off the pad fairly smooth and let it dry.

Before the next coat, knock off any dust nibs and lightly scuff the surface with a maroon pad. Do not sand until no shiny spots. Just a light scuff.
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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Truoil application

Post by Peter Wilcox »

I put it on with my bare fingers and rub lightly until it is smooth with no wet spots. But I only put it on necks - it would be more tedious over a whole instrument.
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Bob Orr
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Re: Truoil application

Post by Bob Orr »

I apply it with a rag like you with thin coats in a circular motion then finish with light strokes with the grain. I put on one coat a day and may be do 8 coats in total. As said above not much cutting back is needed and i use one of the fine Webrex pads wrapped around a wooden block to avoid tramlines from finger pressure. I prefer a satin finish (see my post on my Celtic themed 000 to see the results) Bob Orr

Matt Atkinson
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Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:35 pm
Location: New Hampshire

Re: Truoil application

Post by Matt Atkinson »

I have now tried all of these methods. There are nits, streaks, bubbles (from applying with fingers), unevenness, etc. Whatever is left requires scuffing/leveling to the point of zero build. I’m done. Question: all the way back to wood 100% for sanding sealer/nitro?
I will say that the truoil application on the neck and headstock has been easy. Same application

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Barry Daniels
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Re: Truoil application

Post by Barry Daniels »

Yeah, I would take it all the way back to bare wood. Partial remnants of turmoil will appear as blotches under nitro.
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Steve Sawyer
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Re: Truoil application

Post by Steve Sawyer »

Interested in this thread as I just started a build that may be finished with Tru-Oil. I'm finding myself surprised at your problems with this, Matt, as Tru-Oil is simply a "wiping varnish" of the type that I've used for about 20 years on furniture.

The beauty of a wiping varnish is that the application is so straightforward, and it sounds like you're making things much more complicated than they need to be.

Apply the Tru-Oil with your rag of choice. I've used fine sandpaper which is good for any open-pored wood, because the sanding residue helps fill the grain. For close-grained wood I apply it with either a lint-free cloth, or more commonly, blue disposable shop towels cut into small (like 6x6) sheets and folded into small 3x3 pads. Apply thinly, keeping the pad wet. Allow the finish to "gel". The varnishes I've used will take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes depending on what the finish is and the temperature and humidity. You'll know it's right when it feels a bit "gooey" when you try to wipe it off. If it's so sticky that your rag is tearing, you waited too long, but that is easy to correct - just moisten a rag w/mineral spirits and wipe it all back, then re-apply. It's very forgiving, and after the first coat you'll know exactly how long to wait. Note that if it takes you some time to complete the coat, the point at which you started might be starting to gel by the time you get it all on, so it's literally an apply-and-wipe application.

Now, wipe it ALL off. Every bit you can. This seems counter-intuitive, but you are leaving a thin residue on the surface. Let dry the recommended between-coat time for the finish, and repeat. You will see that because you are wiping the surface dry, there will be very few dust nibs in the finish. If there are any, a quick scuffing with a piece of kraft paper is all that is needed to remove them. Sanding between coats is not necessary, as varnishes will bond to the previous layers without any need for any mechanical "tooth" in the first layer. You also don't have any runs or drips because, again, you're wiping off the partially-dried finish completely.

Keep at this schedule for as many coats as necessary to get the build you are looking for. No worries about sanding through because you're not sanding between coats.

I have finished many, many pieces of furniture with this schedule with beautiful results. Here is where the process may change. On furniture I'll finish the surface with 0000 steel wool then paste wax. This gives a really nice glow-y satin finish. I'll also mention that I'll typically only put on 3-4 coats on a piece of furniture. I expect it will be more like 10-12 coats on this guitar. If I want a gloss finish I will need to buff, and I've never buffed a wiping varnish, but I have read (here and other places) that Tru-Oil takes a fairly high polish. I'll know more about this when I do a test finish before starting in on the current build.
==Steve==

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