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Problems Finishing Neck With Tru-Oil

Discussion in 'DIY Strat Forum' started by markscience, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. markscience

    markscience Strat-Talk Member

    23
    Jan 3, 2013
    Media, PA, USA
    I've had good experience finishing necks using rattle can nito and rub on poly. For my latest build using an Allparts neck I decided to try tru-oil after reading it was easy to apply and created a great finish. I have about 6 coats on so far and I'm having issues creating a smooth/clean application right next to the frets. There are imperfections by the frets. Not sure if this is due to lint or something else I'm doing wrong. I suspect I used too much oil in one application. I've tried applying with coffee filters, but that did not seem to apply the oil right up to the frets. Now I'm using cotton fabric that seems lint free. See pics for reference. I've tried smoothing the imperfections with scotch brite pads and light sandpaper, but that has not helped. In one case I actually created a line parallel to a fret by mistakenly going across the grain.

    Questions- will additional coats of tru oil cover or hide these imperfections? Is there some other way to clean up the area by the frets? What could be causing my issue? If I decide to strip and spay with nitro, whats that best method to strip the tru-oil? Thanks for any advice! IMG_4462.JPG IMG_4466.JPG
     

  2. banjaxed

    banjaxed Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

    Mar 14, 2014
    Liverpool UK
    I don't think you will cover the imperfections with Tru oil. I have used it to very good effect on 3 occasions but the necks
    were all new. You may have to sand it to remove the imperfections and then apply VERY thin coats of Tru oil, and when
    thoroughly dry use fine wire wool in between coats. I found about 6/8 coats was enough.
     

  3. STK66

    STK66 Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    50
    21
    Feb 18, 2017
    DE
    You may wash the oil away by using paint thinner or just as well acetone. Acetone is a very effective helper getting rid of greasy stuff.
     
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  5. markscience

    markscience Strat-Talk Member

    23
    Jan 3, 2013
    Media, PA, USA
    Thanks for the advice. I ended up using spray on paint stripper and scotch brite pads to remove the existing tru-oil. That worked fine, however it damaged the plastic fret markers to the extent that I need to replace those now (ugh). I considered reapplying the tru-oil again (more conservatively), but decided to spray amber and clear nitro instead, since I have more experience with that.
     

  6. STK66

    STK66 Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    50
    21
    Feb 18, 2017
    DE
    I have some abalone dot markers in the drawer of my workbench! I am located in Germany, where do you come from? Maybe i should send you those, so you might be able to continue your build?
    Do you want me to do so?
     

  7. markscience

    markscience Strat-Talk Member

    23
    Jan 3, 2013
    Media, PA, USA
    Thank you much for the offer! As a matter of fact I bought some abalone fret markers myself and started installing them today. So far so good on the installation, and they look great. Thanks again. By the way, I live in Pennsylvania in the USA
     

  8. LordOfPudding

    LordOfPudding Strat-Talker

    111
    Sep 27, 2015
    California
    I have had the same issue with lacquer and Danish oil not wanting to adhere next to the frets.
    Not sure, but I think it might be due to the use of glue when the neck was fretted.
    Next time I do a build, I will try acetone or naphtha next to the frets before applying finish.
     

  9. Sarnodude

    Sarnodude Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 26, 2015
    Mukilteo
    Just don't breathe the fumes!
     

  10. STK66

    STK66 Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    50
    21
    Feb 18, 2017
    DE
    In case you did, enjoy the ride......haha
     

  11. nadzab

    nadzab Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Despite the name, Tru Oil is not greasy or oily when cured, it produces a hard, durable finish.
     

  12. STK66

    STK66 Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    50
    21
    Feb 18, 2017
    DE
    I know very well what tru oil consists of.
    Read what is written on the can and tell me what the stuff consists of, mostly....
    Let me tell you that it indeed is oil! The thing about it is that it isnt mineral but biological oil and due to the absence of additives this oil hardens and then might be polished using fine grit steelwool! I would love to tell you exactly how the process goes for i know it exactly and in detail but i am a german and my english became rusty! I lack the proper words for a decent description. Would somebody take over here.....?please. Go into detail about the chemical process responsible for the hardening of the surface.
     

  13. markscience

    markscience Strat-Talk Member

    23
    Jan 3, 2013
    Media, PA, USA
    This is the neck I started this post about that had clumping and finish imperfections near the frets due to applying the tru oil too thickly. I decided to strip the neck and try again with the tru oil. After stripping, the lower fret board needed extensive cleaning with an Ajax slurry because the original fret dots melted from the paint stripper and created dark areas. These eventually cleaned up and the entire fret board looked pale when I reapplied the first coat of tru oil, this time thinned with mineral spirits and using a light application with my fingers. This worked much better, but the lower fret board turned out much darker than the top of the neck, almost like the original dark crud came back to the surface. See pics for reference. I'm torn between two choices: 1. keep adding coats of tru oil, hoping the the entire neck will darken so the problem area will be less noticeable. 2. Strip and clean the neck again and shoot with nitro (hopefully the new fret markers don't fall out when I strip). Opinions? Thanks!



    IMG_4475.JPG IMG_4474.JPG
     

  14. Kurt Villella

    Kurt Villella Strat-Talk Member

    88
    Feb 25, 2016
    Charlotte, NC
    I don't have any experience with finishing necks so I'm afraid I cannot offer any good advice. I do however think what you have done looks really great! Did you mask off the fretwire when applying the tru-oil? If not how did you clean them after?
     

  15. Inverness

    Inverness Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 24, 2013
    Salt Lake City
    I have finished many necks with Tru-oil. The way I get around the problem you had is by thinning it down with mineral spirits. The thinner Tru-oil will not pool and cause that issue as long as you keep rubbing it. I like to soak my small cloth wad and basically rub it on. Then I keep going at it almost like you are buffing a finish. It goes on really thin this way, dries quickly and stays smooth.
     

  16. markscience

    markscience Strat-Talk Member

    23
    Jan 3, 2013
    Media, PA, USA
    Thanks. I'm hoping the color will even out as I apply more coats. I did not mask off the frets. I'm hoping the finish will rub off with steel wool or scrape off, or perhaps can even be left on like nitro.
     

  17. Inverness

    Inverness Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 24, 2013
    Salt Lake City
    @markscience

    Sorry, I just re-read your post on the color difference. It is a bit hard to see in the photos. That is a tough call. If you strip it again, the new dots wont melt since they are abalone? The glue might loosen, but that should be it. If the color difference bugs you now, it probably always will. Adding more coats is just going to consistently darken the board, not blend them closer.
     

  18. sumran

    sumran Fan of Leo

    Mar 7, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    The grain is much closer on the lower neck than the upper part. That may account for some of the variation. Wood can have a lot of natural variation. Perhaps the difference in more pronounced than the pictures show.
     

  19. markscience

    markscience Strat-Talk Member

    23
    Jan 3, 2013
    Media, PA, USA
    I'm leaning towa
    I hadn't thought about the grain make a difference, but that may be contributing. In any case I decided I'm being too fussy and will finish the neck with at least 6 coats of tru oil with some light sanding with 0000 steel wool after a few passes. I'm anxious to get it on the body pictured. With tru-oil, will one week be sufficient for curing before playing? Thanks!

    IMG_4207.JPG
     

  20. Groovey

    Groovey Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    57
    Nov 17, 2016
    NC. USA
    I looks very nice from here. Attribute any color difference to the nature of the process. We have a vision. We have materials. Somewhere between the vision and finished build, something wonderful happens to create something no one expected.