Does tru oil cure faster under the sunlight?

marksoundguitars

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I've been using Tru-Oil on necks for over 10 years. I've never had any not harden, and never had any feel sticky when dry.

That said, it's always best to start with a fresh bottle. Old Tru-Oil doesn't seem to harden the same way as fresh. Probably something to do with the bottle being opened.

There are several methods of application, and I've tried a lot of them. I get the best, no-mess results from wiping-on with a paper towel. A few times I've thinned with naphtha and airbrushed, but it's a lot of prep and cleanup for the same result.

Tru-Oil was created as a gunstock finish and has been used for that for decades. It's durable, repairable, easy to apply, etc. It's simple and it works. Look at the Birchwood-Casey website for hints.
 

marksoundguitars

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The “old bottle” thing can be dealt with.

When you open a bottle, don’t peel that paper flap off, just punch a hole in it. Toothpick sized. Use the bottle like a squirt bottle, keeping it closed as much as possible.

Store the bottle upside down when not in use.


I’ve whipped out bottles that I stored over a decade, half used (I Tru-Oil, but apparently not often.

My Tru-Oil threads:

Been there, done that. Fresh is better than old. Don't know why, but that's my experience.

Your history is obviously different, and that's ... ok. ;)
 

dspelman

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It will dry almost rock hard.

I've done 20-30 coats over two weeks. I'll post pics later.

I also did that headstock as a test. Using the armorAll made it dry so fast I know I could have done 10 coats non-stop.

Midway through I got some haze, but it went away. My thing of armorAll is also ancient, probably from the 90s. I'm not sure how well it keeps.

I have two TruOiled guitars. One was done maybe 8 years ago, another 3 years ago.

I'm happy with them, but I'd probably use Deft spraycan nitro instead now.


I also have a rifle stock I did 30 years ago. It's still in great shape.
I used to do rifle stocks (oiled walnut) for hunters in Iowa. Probably did well over 1000 stocks. It'll stay in great shape until you take it out in the weather. About 10 times a year I'd have someone come back from a long Alaska hunt with their stocks in terrible shape and the guns themselves (blued) nearly rusted through. They DID notice that the guides in AK used stainless guns with plastic stocks, but apparently never thought about *why* they did that. So I'd have to redo the stocks and repair (sometimes replace) them.

I have a couple of oiled guitars, but these aren't done with Tru-Oil, but with a tung oil finish (which mostly doesn't actually have any tung oil in it). Same deal. One of them was used for gigging, and it's not very wonderful; there's dirt worked into the body, the neck actually has a splinter missing, and it really needs a redo. I have it because it's a very rare model. The other guitar is done with the same stuff, and it's near perfect, but it's largely a closet queen.

I've seen several "tricks" for getting the stuff to harden faster. I've mostly just done thinned coats with a lot of drying time after you get to about the third coat. I've never had a need to rush the process, and it's produced great results. I know you can get a very smooth almost glossy finish if you just layer the stuff on, but you can also get a sticky mess. I have some comments about the armorall trick, but suffice it to say that it's one that I've abandoned long ago.

It's not a great finish -- it allows moisture and dirt to get to the guitar wood quite easily and it offers no protection against dings and dents. It's pretty, though, and great for guitars that won't be used much if at all. I think most folks use it because it seems easier to use than something like a Polyester UV-catalyzed finish. Good on a gunstock that goes out a few times a year and doesn't get rained on. But IMHO, pretty much useless beyond that.
 
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larryguitar

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Why do you oppose to using carnauba wax?
The hard waxes I've used eventually got sticky. I think you eventually want nothing on the finish that isn't dried and hard.

As far as the Tru-Oil not drying, my guess would be: Tru-Oil was too old, on too thick (with lower layers not curing) or maybe something (humiditiy?) got trapped under a layer?

Larry
 

5F6-A

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Thanks guys.

Quick update. 24 hours in a cool room has helped tremendously. Some parts of the neck (e.g. headstock) are now perfectly hard and dry. Unfortunately, the back of the neck is not quite there yet. I think leaving it alone for one other fortnight will help.

tele head 2.JPG


BTW, I have tried the "sniff" test. The headstock (part that is solid) has lost all the T-O smell. The back of the neck still has a hint of that characteristic T-O chemically smell. This leads me to believe that for whatever reason, some parts are still curing.

I might not use any wax in the end but if I do, I won't do it until all the finish gets as hard as possible.
 
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CB91710

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I think a fan blowing across it is helping, as the curing is an oxidation process.
Much like a gentle breath increases the intensity of a flame... right up to the point that you remove enough heat to blow it out ;)
In this case, you aren't going to hurt it with a high speed breeze... the more oxygen available to it, the faster it will cure.

This is also why care must be taken with used rags after applying any oxidizing oil (generally vegetable based). If the rag is laid out flat, there is enough air circulation to prevent heat buildup, but if they are in a pile, the oxidation will build heat and they will combust.
Safest disposal is submerged in water.
 

Robert Parker

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Quick question, that I hope doesn't hijack the thread. Can y'all define exactly how you're using the word "harden" here?

I've done a few guitars with TO and have never had a problem a with it being tacky or sticky - including my regular gigging guitars. However, it definitely doesn't resist dents or scratches. So, it seems that some of the posts here are using the word "harden" in different ways. But I don't have that much experience with this finish to be sure.
 

5F6-A

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Quick question, that I hope doesn't hijack the thread. Can y'all define exactly how you're using the word "harden" here?

I've done a few guitars with TO and have never had a problem a with it being tacky or sticky - including my regular gigging guitars. However, it definitely doesn't resist dents or scratches. So, it seems that some of the posts here are using the word "harden" in different ways. But I don't have that much experience with this finish to be sure.
Good point. I think we all know that T-O does not harden like poly or even nitro. I was talking about feeling tacky and rubbery.
 

redking

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The key with TO - extremely thin coats, wait 24 to 48 hours between coats and make sure the piece is in +20 Celsius (or 68 Fahrenheit) during its dry time. Also, if you really want to let it get as hard as possible - let it sit for 30 days after your last coat before buffing / polishing. The tackiness comes from applying too much too fast - the best cure is usually to sand it down and start again. I've learned this all from trial and error. Remember guys, this finish is designed for hunting rifles that will see much more abuse than your guitar - it is a good durable finish.
 

5F6-A

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The key with TO - extremely thin coats, wait 24 to 48 hours between coats and make sure the piece is in +20 Celsius (or 68 Fahrenheit) during its dry time. Also, if you really want to let it get as hard as possible - let it sit for 30 days after your last coat before buffing / polishing. The tackiness comes from applying too much too fast - the best cure is usually to sand it down and start again. I've learned this all from trial and error. Remember guys, this finish is designed for hunting rifles that will see much more abuse than your guitar - it is a good durable finish.
That is what I did (or or less, I only waited 24 hours between coats). I have noticed that finish is getting harder and harder. I think I will be able to use carnauba wax eventually but I'm going to wait a couple of weeks just to be on the safe side.
 

VancoD

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The coat to thin with mineral spirits is the first - not the last. You've partially "solved" the 15 coats you had in place. Sunlight won't do anything.

Your only solution is time (arguably I've never tried the "Armor-All trick" - but given that it's got silicone in it personally I'd keep it as far from my shop as possible)

Guess I'm just lucky - I've never had an issue with Tru-Oil "not hardening" / being "sticky"
WG06_3.jpg
 

CB91710

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Guess I'm just lucky - I've never had an issue with Tru-Oil "not hardening" / being "sticky"
I've had that problem with rattle-can clearcoat.
 

larryguitar

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I've had that problem with rattle-can clearcoat.
I've had, over the years, that problem with nearly EVERY type of finish at one point or another; oil, varnish, urethane paint, nitro. I was a certified auto painter, and I'm still willing to believe finishing is more art than science....or perhaps even voodoo at times.

Larry
 

ucnick

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FWIW... I heard about but never tried T-O. I have always used Birchwood-Casey gunstock wax, same thing EBMM uses on their necks, I had a few of their guitars over the years and I always loved the feel of their near-raw necks. Always liked the results. YMMV.
 

mlimbolimbo

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True Oil is a reactive finish. It needs oxygen to cure. Do not wax it or sand it until it is fully cured. I put my oiled wood work in a room with good ventilation and a fan on it. When you can walk into the room and not smell the oil it's done. Give it another week or so before waxing. Oil finish is not for the impatient.
 

Truman Smith

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Tru oil is linseed oil a drying agent. I've used it on gun stocks for years. You probably have applied it too thick. It takes thin coats and lots of them. As the gentlemen have said; rub it down with scotchbrite and star over. Best of luck.
 
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jkes01

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Armor All near a fresh finish goes against everything I know about finishing coming from over 10 years as a certified automotive refinishing technician. :wow:

I have never used True Oil, but have used BLO, Tung oil and shellac. One thing you have to be careful of when drying in the sun is the tung oil and shellac will bubble when exposed to too much heat. The sun will cure the surface before the solvents underneath had a chance to evaporate causing bubbles to appear. They can be sanded and recoated to remove, but wanted to put this out there for anyone going to use the sun to dry their oil finishes.
 
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Udonitron

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Pure tung oil is the best stuff you can use if you want a true real oil finish.
 


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