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View Full Version : Has anyone tried Tru-Oil for an uke finish?



eleuke
10-09-2009, 07:28 PM
Any experience, suggestions and/or advice appreciated.

http://www.lmii.com/CartTwo/TruOil.htm

cornfedgroove
10-09-2009, 07:35 PM
go to cigarboxnation.com

Ted Crocker moderates there...he is a very reputable custom builder. Built the Honeydripper for the Danny Glover movie and he used Tru-oil exclusively...granted, they are not ukes.

although he is always "on" live chat, he is often times working on guitars...pops in from time to time. Later evenings is best time to find him to chat live or send him a msg

eleuke
10-09-2009, 07:39 PM
Mahalo plenty!!

P.S. Hey CFG, you still want those f-hole pics?

PeformanceUke
10-09-2009, 07:54 PM
I seen someone use the oils of a nut grown in hawaii called kokuee nut. Pronounced KO-ko-e-nut.

Timbuck
10-09-2009, 09:59 PM
It's quick and easy..but pong's a bit.

koalohapaul
10-10-2009, 03:21 AM
We do a few builds with the neighbor island schools. Since we don't have access to a spray booth outside of the shop, we use Tru-oil as a finish on those instruments. For a thin coat, it holds up remarkably well. Some of the kids' ukulele from six years ago are holding up fine, being played and handled daily.

I think Pete has a link somewhere to William King's method of using Tru-oil as a finish.

RonS
10-10-2009, 04:10 AM
Many sportsman centers that sell rifles has 8oz bottles of Tru-Oil for about the same price as LMII's 3oz bottle.

http://sportsmans-central.com/Birchwood-Casey-TruOil-Gun-Stock-Finish/M/B0000C5398.htm

There are other alternatives, such as
Minwax antique oil finish
Formby tung oil finish

The main difference between the three is Tru-Oil has the least amount of Mineral Spirits (that's a good thing)

If you are adventurous, I can even give you a recipe to make your own oil finish that would be better than all three.

cornfedgroove
10-10-2009, 04:58 AM
If you are adventurous, I can even give you a recipe to make your own oil finish that would be better than all three.

email it to me...or message it


Eleuke-send em away...I thought for some reason that you had already, but I could be mistaken

RonS
10-10-2009, 06:45 AM
Here is what I use.
Some experts will recognize that this is very close to the way Danish Oil used to be made back in the day.

Equal parts of the following

1) Thinner, choose one:
Mineral Spirits (this is what I use)
Turpentine (some say this is better, I just donít like the smell)
Paint thinner (a.k.a. mineral spirits that cost more)

2) Good Quality Spar Vanish.
Why spar vanish and not regular varnish? Simple, less thinner.

3) Oil
Boiled Linseed oil (not regular linseed oil) BLO
Polymerized Tung Oil (this is what I use - donít use regular tung oil) PTO
Note 1: if you use regular linseed oil or regular tung oil the finish will never dry.
Note 2: Both are good, BLO dries softer than PTO.
Note 3: PTO is more water resistant.

All ingredients (except maybe PTO) can be purchased at Lowes, Home Depot or similar stores.

Exact qualities are not important. I mix up small portions at a time in 8 oz bottles and just eyeball the amounts.

UkuleleHill
10-10-2009, 07:11 AM
Wow thanks for the info! Thats awesome!

Pete Howlett
10-10-2009, 08:04 AM
Tru -oil is a great finish finish if you are starting out, have little equipment and are skilling on the job...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-10-2009, 08:10 AM
A satisfactory finish can be attained with many applications of Tru-Oil. Still, it is neither as hard nor as durable as other finishes are so it scuffs and wears through relatively quickly. I think it's a god choice for the occassional owner/builder where you can touch it up when needed.

RonS
10-10-2009, 08:36 AM
A satisfactory finish can be attained with many applications of Tru-Oil.

Correct me if I'm wrong.
When using a varnish, isn't it better to have fewer layers of finish?
I always thought that to many layers inhibits the sound.

Kekani
10-10-2009, 08:56 AM
I've used Tru-Oil on #2 and #3. #2 is still holding well, which has "many" coats on it. Of course, its never played, and is treated like it has Shellac on it. Still, its a Mahogany instrument, and remains very open pored. From a sound perspective, its the one that you need to close your eyes and listen to someone else play it, and its the one that has the sound I shoot for still today. Of course, being #2, it looks like crap and plays even worse.

Tru-Oil lays on an extremely thin finish (compared to poly or nitro), and you'll find the first coat just wetting the surface.

I would suggest pouring it into a smaller container, than just working it straight. I had "pieces" from the pad go back into the bottle and harden the Tru-Oil, causing lumps. I thought this was me not knowing how to use it, and I immediately invested in spray equipment. In retrospect, I may have done more Tru-Oil finishes had that not have happened.

Personally, I think it can leave a better finish than what you can get from a spray can.

I picked mine up from Sports Authority, in the gun department.

-Aaron

Timbuck
10-10-2009, 09:13 AM
It also comes in a spray can
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Birchwood-Casey-Tru-Oil-Stock-Finish-13oz-Aerosol_W0QQitemZ220485088761QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK _SportingGoods_Hunting_ShootingSports_ET?hash=item 3355ef75f9&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-10-2009, 09:14 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong.
When using a varnish, isn't it better to have fewer layers of finish?
I always thought that to many layers inhibits the sound.

When applying any finish, "less is better" is the general rule. I have a neighbor who is a builder and uses Tru-Oil exclusively, mainly because he wants to avoid the work that a good finish with nitro requires. We've also used it on our guild ukes. It just doesn't hold up as well as other finishes do. A lasting finish that looks good simply requires a lot of work. I think Tru-Oil is a good alternative for the home builder who wants to avoid spraying. French polish is another.

Pete Howlett
10-10-2009, 10:21 AM
Tru-oil can be 'refreshed' like French Polish - 2 anecdotes:

When I made furniture my spray finishers were one day piano french polishers so skilled that when they both worked on the same Grande piano lid and met in the middle (both were short guys like me) you couldn't see the join, and spray finishers the next after attending a one day course. They used French polish techniques with 'conform' lacquers, high pressure on their gun working right up to the wood and could simulate any finish from the gun including 'acid' FP bright finish. No polishing mops or mechanical manipulation of the surface....

I asked them one day about their days as French polishers, joshing them that most FPs drank the 'meths'/alcohol rather than use it on their 'rubbers'. They told me that both of them worked in London and were kept in full time employment 'touching up' the furniture of the good and great. They said that FP was a fragile finish that needed constant maintainence.

So those who advocate either of these finished should add the caveat - needs 'refreshing' every now and then...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-10-2009, 12:02 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong.
When using a varnish, isn't it better to have fewer layers of finish?
I always thought that to many layers inhibits the sound.

I'm going to back pedal on this a little since I remember reading something interesting on the subject. In his book "The Luthier's Handbook", the author, Roger Siminoff suggests in a experiment that he did, that with somewhere between 6 and 8 coats of lacquer, the sound boards in his test resonated better than those with either fewer or more coats. At that point it seems that stiffness over rides mass.
I can only speak of lacquer since that is what I'm most familiar with. I have no experience with varnish except when used as a sealer coat. I've heard instruments played that had absolutely no finish on them and while they were loud, they sound hollow, woody and one dimensional. To my ears at least. A well cured lacquer finish will also put the soundbox under tension which enhances the complexity of the sound.
I don't have the answers, and like most builders I constantly change my thinking regarding such things as the finishing process. For now, I want the hardest finish I can use. Six coats is what I currently spray and final thickness after sanding is somewhere around .004" to .005". That's not much additional mass when you consider the final thickness of the sound board is somewhere around 15 times thicker. And after all, you do want some protection against wear. Too thin of a finish and you are forever repairing and refinishing it.
I have to remember that with few exceptions there are no absolutes when building instruments. So the answer to your question is yes and no. And maybe. Honestly, I don't know! I only know what I think I know.

RonS
10-10-2009, 03:28 PM
Thanks Chuck for the great info.

========

While tru-oil may be a good finish, it is 56% mineral spirits and 11% linseed oil (not BLO). My main objection with tru-oil has always been that it is overpriced for what is in the bottle.

The reason tru-oil scuffs so easy and doesn't last so long is the linseed oil.

IMO I think there are better off the shelf products

Kaneohe til the end
10-11-2009, 02:14 AM
I seen someone use the oils of a nut grown in hawaii called kokuee nut. Pronounced KO-ko-e-nut.

i think you mean kukui nut. pronounced koo-koo -ee

Pete Howlett
10-11-2009, 04:47 AM
Aerosol guitar finishes are to be had ground delivery in the US - I used car spray from a can in the early days just to learn the spraying process beforwe I invested in a spray shop. In fact, car spray is great because it has plasticizers in it that are compatible with wood expansion and contraction. So if I had to rank finishing in terms of novice to competent:

Wax only or Vaseline...
Tru oil
Tung and other oils
French polish mechanically finished
French Polish rubber finish
Bright French Polish acid finish
Oil Varnish
Can spray lacquer
Full spray shop mechanically finished
And if you can do it - spray shop straight from the gun...

eleuke
10-11-2009, 01:44 PM
Thanks everybody. I really appreciate all the experience and advice... Who would have thought it would be so easy to get such great advice from world class builders! UU'ers are the best!