View Full Version : Burnishing Oil Finish

Pete Howlett
08-21-2010, 03:35 AM
New video folks...


Matt Clara
08-21-2010, 04:30 AM
Nice Pete! Hey, what oil(s) do you favor?

Pete Howlett
08-21-2010, 04:36 AM
TruOil is all I use. I have tried teak and danish but they simply don't cut it. For some reason, TruOil really works and is a durable finish.

08-21-2010, 07:03 AM
Great video! I absolutely agree with you, Pete. We've tried danish but really never liked the resulting finish. Tru-oil is definitely the way to go.

And what a coincidence... just yesterday we just took the strings off two instruments to do a little brush up of the oil finish. We used a little terpentine on the pad, together with the tru-oil - worked a charm!

08-21-2010, 09:50 AM
Thanks Pete, great timing for me I have been thinking about moving to tru-oil from shellac! I meant to ask you what finish you used on that lovely extended fingerboard soprano you brought down to the Cheltenham Ukulele Festival? was that Tru-oil too?

Pete Howlett
08-21-2010, 11:42 AM
Actually it was Fiddes sanding sealer - trying to get a finish that was softer than nitro but more durable than French polish. I'm like all luthiers - looking for the ideal one. I liked what William King said and I'm not sure if he was being ironic or what. I can't quote it exactly but it went something like "I'm not too concerned about what finish I put on my instruments after the treatment I see they get.." Forgive me William if I missquote :) And it's true - most people scrape the top of the body no matter what you put on and tho I love the matte finish it burnishes up with time. 'nother thing - if it's a gigging musicians piece then you are stuffed no matter what finish is used because they are going to wear it off quick - Catfish Keith, Peter Brooke Turner and Steven Sproat have all done that with the instruments I made for them. It's why guitar makers who have been forced to use alternative types of finishes love those modern ones - they are virtually indestructable and cannot be good for the instruments. Maybe it's why they all seem to have such a "glassy" tone.

08-21-2010, 11:17 PM
Is that Cellulose sanding sealer? I always wondered if that would work by itself, Thanks! I must say that when I saw your soprano uke I felt the same as I did when I first saw the decorated 1564 Andrea Amati violin at the Ashmoleon museum, a level of perfection and crisp attention to detail and a finish, (wow)to aspire to!!

Pete Howlett
08-22-2010, 02:53 AM
It's their standard stuff Michael - get it from Cardiff

08-22-2010, 05:54 AM
What a lovely uke in the vid. What wood is it in the neck?


09-09-2010, 08:38 PM
Hi! Pete, that was a wonderful vedio.
I am very new in uke building. Could you please tell me what is sanding sealer?
Thank you so much for your time.

09-09-2010, 08:45 PM
Nice vid Pete, thanks! Just finished my uke with TruOil following your method on the final coat and it looks awesome! Has an almost "gloss-like" finish as you state in the vid, but still has a satiny look and feel to it at the same time. Love it and so far it's making me happy enough to not even want to try spraying my next uke... we will see though :)

Pete Howlett
09-10-2010, 01:16 AM
Although it may seem it, the oil finish is not 'the' answer but it is 'an' answer to all those starting out with absolutely no finishing skills. Without wishing to insult anyone, it truly is a 'no brainer'.

Try spraying your next ukes with aerosol before you invest in equipment. You can produce a reasonable finish but you have to work out the spray pattern and distribution first. The Behlen's products we get here in the UK have a useless nozzle and are just rubbish. However I have used another UK product and it is fine. I have found that in order to get a good application from a spray can, unlike using a gun, you have to spray at an angle. I have also found it best going from bottom to top rather than top to bottom... Behlen actually have quite a good guitar finishing video using their cans :)

Pete Howlett
09-10-2010, 01:20 AM

Sanding sealer is a high solids cellulose based product that woodturners use here in the UK. It has a similar function to the vinyl sealer used between the filler and top cellulose coats.

Having had a month of nightmares with finishes I am all at sea again as to what to use. I've recently heard that Behlen's rep here in the UK will cease importing lacquer this year because of the hassle and that leaves very few avenues open. It may be that I will have to outsource the work to UV finishers which I am very reluctant to do...

09-10-2010, 09:15 PM
No insult taken Pete! I agree that the oil finish was "brainless!" Since this is only my first uke and first wood finishing project, it was excellent. However, I will take your advice and probably spray my next uke. I was going to go the aerosol route with this uke, but saw TruOil at the sporting goods store I was in so said "what the heck" and just bought it since it was only $5 dollars :) Like I said, I am actually very happy with the finish (except now I know why everyone says to make sure and sand well, since once i applied the finish I could see an area that looks scratched where I obvoisuly didn't sand well enough!) But at least it's been a good learning experience for me and know what I can do to make my next build even better.

As always though, thanks for the suggestions and all your wonderful vids Pete!