My Tips on Finishing with Birchwood Casey’s Tru-Oil Gunstock Finish pt. 2

Keep in mind this is what’s given me a good looking finish. It’s basically a buncha methods used at various stages based on the surface of the piece of work.

So after a few more coats using the bottle of oil, Japan drier, and mineral spirits, I’ve come to realize how great a combo this makes.

After your initial coats using a rag I suggest you try this. It’s not a very sophisticated method but it really works well once the surface is smooth and dry.

Before you do this you should have at least 4 coats on and have wet sanded the surface and wiped away the residue. Check your piece by looking at it from a shallow angle and checking if there are any sand throughs ( they will have a different sheen). Best way to prevent sand throughs and halos is to make sure whatever thickness coat you decide to put on you apply evenly. Also by looking at this from a shallow angle you can see the coverage of the oil ( I’ve included a picture to show you how this looks). When you started you’d have seen all the areas where the oil wasn’t soaked up and the shiny areas where the oil had set up.

Put on a nitrile glove ( or any glove that’s not cloth) and take just a drop of oil on your finger and start dragging it around one small area of your guitar. The idea is to stretch this little bit as far as it will go while maintaining a uniform consistency. Look from an angle and use at least two lighting sources. One that small drop is used, quickly start the next area an try to keep the overlap even. This way you’ll end up with a micro-thin super even layer. If you move quickly then the oil will settle down and the small streaks will level themselves out. Once again DON’T GO BACK TO RETOUCH.

I got impatient and just put a few drops at a time and just took my entire gloved hand and began spreading and rubbing it all over like a kid finger painting. It wasn’t graceful like I said but nevertheless it got the job done and pretty well too. So choose your method and give it a try.

I believe this to be the method thy gets me the kind of high gloss finish I love.

After a few days o cure time ill sand till 2000 then apply 3m Finesse it II and then 3m Hand Glaze. I’ve used this on some test pieces and its pretty much a lacquer looking finish!





11 Comments Add yours

  1. sprocket says:

    Something I needed , thanx for sharing .

    1. purelojik says:

      glad it was helpful! feel free to ask any question. I love to help if i can. if you find anything else that helps feel free to post it too

  2. Mogwan says:

    Regarding the use of Tru-Oil… do a search of ArmorAll and Tru-Oil. A coat of ArmorAll sprayed then damp wiped off wood will act as a catalyst for Tru-Oil and it will set in about 15 minutes. It will not get sticky while rubbing with bare hands for friction and body heat transfer.
    I do gun grips this way and they can be rubbed with or without sawdust depending on if you want to wet or dry sand. Using the ArmorAll, you can skip the six hr dry time and lay down several coats during a work session.

    Try it on a sanded wood scrap if you have any doubts. you’ll also figure the correct amount of Armor-All to use.

    1. purelojik says:

      hey mogwan. The problem i have with armor all is the silicon oil. it contaminates everything it touches and prevents further adhesion of top coats. its a known problem with it and if youre finishing guitars using different finishes like lacquer or poly, it just wont adhere.

  3. donnyb2 says:

    Hi, thanks for your information regarding truoil application. I have used your tips to help with my current project.Im pretty happy with the result on the body (slab of Tasmanian blackwood) and neck (Honduran mahogany/tas blackwood fretboard). This was my first tim using an oil instead of lacquers.
    It was a frustrating process to get it looking good, as you said ii would be ! It took me two months to get it right…and lol, 2 x 3oz bottles of truoil, due to rubbing back a lot to remove streaks and runs.

    Can you give a bit more information on how to apply the 3M products ? Eg, hand or machine. I ask because my slab has a very strong and consistent grain pattern running very parallel ‘with the neck’. When I applied the truoil, I would finish each coat by running with the grain.
    Although Im happy with how it looks, In the right light , looking across the body at an angel, you can see what I would call a smudgy. or hazy appearance , like if you rubbed your hand over a polished surface. I’m hoping a polish will clear that up, but I don’t want to create swirl marks from using a machine buff.

    Thanks, Don.

    1. purelojik says:

      Hey I’m glad things are working out! Yea true oil is a pain. I don’t even use it anymore. I mostly use Odie’s oil. If you find Odysseus Cornwall on Facebook send him a message and tell him I sent you. He might have some samples.

      As far as the 3M products I did it all by hand. I was afraid that automatic buffers would create too much friction and burn through the finish layers and then I’d have to redo the whole thing. Cause contrary to popular belief , there isn’t a way to seamlessly repair Tru oil. It’s not like lacquer or shellac but it’s like poly where each later needs to be scuffed a little to form a mechanical bond. So when you sand through you’ll see those faint white witness lines. It’s maddening. Shellac and lacquer chemically bond and become one big layer. Hope this helps!

      1. donnyb2 says:

        What do you think Odie’s Oil is based on ?

      2. purelojik says:

        Honestly I don’t know, but it smells wonderful. And if there’s anything I know about finishes, it’s that oil finishes smell toxic. I used it on a few builds and I loved the Sheen and feel. You won’t get an ultra high gloss but so far it’s my favorite oil and I’ve tried most. Patrick Renk of Renk guitars used something called osmo which he’s got great results with.

  4. donnyb2 says:

    Hey again, Ive been googling Odies Oil and I see there’s several products. Which one is the one you use as an alternative to Truoil ? Ie ,a clear hard finish.

    1. purelojik says:

      I use em all. They won’t give you a hard Tru oil or lacquer finish but it’s like a Danish oil finish. I start with the oil, then the wood butter and then wax. Takes about 3 to 5 days to finish depending on how I want it to look

  5. John O'keeffe says:

    Amazing! Would you mind please sending me a link, or telling me about those 3-M products you used? I’m not familiar with them. The results you have are beyond words. I restored WWI-WWII rifles for 30 years, but I was never online, and have been using the same stuff since Nixon was I’m doing guitars now and found you. Any tips would be great. I’ve always preferred BLO to TRU oil. I have a Les Paul in its 3rd coat of Tru-oil I’m considering adding Japan dryer, or thinner on the next coat. That is for the back of the AX.(basic oil stain) The face (mahogany) is a sunburst style Irish flag. Green dye/diluted white latex/orange dye. With some black fading. This top has had 5 coats of Tru-oil, with steel wool in-between coats. Any tips would be helpful for this retired Sailor.

    Thanks Doc.

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