My Finishing Tips and Tricks using Odie’s Oil & Wax Products

odie

I love a good oil finish and have used many different brands over the past few years. Each product has their own use and application and has pro’s and cons. Im writing this on Odies Oil and Wax.

The application process of this oil is very easy and great results can be obtained with very little time and effort. The finish is very user friendly, smells great and can be applied with your fingers. I probably use more than i should but the results are great. The guys at the company are also very kind and easy to talk to. They sent me a few samples for me to try on my work and im pretty satisfied. My most recent build for Jason Kane, The Roasted Maple guitar uses this finish almost exclusively. I say almost because i’d previously used Tru oil which, while it looked great, just wasnt what i was after. it darkened the wood far too much and obscured the figure. I sanded it all down to the wood and started applying Odies oil. The back of that guitar was sapele which has large open pores which might have been filled initially with the tru oil even after sanding to the wood.

 

The oil im using is the Original oil, not the oxi. From what i gather from the consistency, it does contain wax, so i’d imagine if you were considering another top coat on top, it might not be possible. Anyone feel free to correct me please.

First, prep the wood. I sanded to 220 before the first coat. Odies recommend sanding higher up to 1200 for maximum shine. Since i was going for a more subdued satin finish, my sanding topped out at around 320-400.

You’ll need some synthetic steel wool. 000 and 0000 / grey and white scotchbrite pads. you’ll be using these to rub the finish into the wood with each application. Grey pad for the lower grits, and 320 grit and up you’ll use the white pads to apply the finish.

Keep in mind these are my methods which get me the results that i am happy with. these arent the official instructions by the company.

  • 220 Grit- Apply two coats a day apart. Rub in with grey scotchbrite pad then let sit for an hour or two then buff off and let dry.
  • 320 – I apply four coats total, two one day and two the next. using the white scotchbrite.
  • for the next higher grits up to 600 i’ll use just one coat every day until i reach my desired grit.

After that i’ll use the Wood Butter which is basically the oil with a higher wax content. i’ll rub that in and let it sit for two hours or so then i’ll buff off. I felt only one coat was necessary. After that i used Odies Wax. its a hard wax and is applied just as any other wax. Swirl a pad then scrub on the body, let it sit then buff off after an hour or so. repeat if necessary. I typically do two coats of hard wax.

Out of all the oils, this brand seems to be the easiest to get a great result. Any questions, feel free to leave a comment or PM me.

18 Comments Add yours

  1. I really like your blog. You have a lot of great info. These guitars are beautiful!

    I’m thinking about trying Odie’s. For a guitar I’m working on. What would recommend. Sounds like you used Oil > Butter > Wax. Do you need all three? Do you think it’s worthwhile to buy the kit?

    1. purelojik says:

      Thanks for the kind words! I do recommend the oil and the butter at least. The super penetrating oil is great for evening out the overall absorption. The wax is good but the oil and butter are where it’s at

  2. PK says:

    your guitars look gorgeous!! How about acoustic instrument? Would the sound muffler with wax? Unlike traditional instrument that used varnish (resin) but modern varnish is almost like…plastic. I can’t decide. I’d appreciate your input. Thank you

    1. purelojik says:

      Thank you for the compliments!!. I believe these wouldn’t affect the tone of an acoustic but I only build electrics so I can’t speak to that 100%. The thick finishes like lacquer or poly Def would have an impact.

  3. Cynthia says:

    Your guitars are beautiful! I am building acoustic-electric stomp boxes with baltic birch plywood top and poplar sides and had tried Danish oil and boiled linseed oil on some units. The time and VOCs were inefficient in the process and I was needing a finish that would lend itself to easier application and would not affect the sound. I have used the Oxi Oil and have been pleased with the aesthetic results so far but there seems to still be somewhat of a “wet” feel to the finish as opposed to other finishes. You mentioned you do not use the Oxi Oil, but I was wanting the wood on the stomp boxes to continue to “age”. Why do you choose the regular oil over the oxi oil for your builds? Also, will the wood age over time with the regular Odies’s? Thanks in advance…

    1. Hi Cynthia!

      Thank you for the kind words! when it comes to the kind of finishes Ive just gone with what i felt would work better at the time. When i wrote this post it was when i was new to odies. Since then they’ve improved their oils and I’ve been consistently happy with their products. I’ve learned that its better to use less than you think when it comes to the oil.

      the oxy oil was great too but it was a bit thinner than i’d like. As for the wet feel i think its usually due to residual oil on the surface. i’d just spend some time buffing off a bit, sometimes i’ll take a really high grit of sandpaper and lightly sand the surface then buff off with a used T Shirt. I’ve had pretty good results with that.

      I’ve seen my recent buckeye build darken with time which is something i was going for.

      1. Cynthia says:

        Thanks for the response. I have been very pleased with the finish. I did find that a bit more buffing solved the concern.

  4. Thank you for this great article! A co-worker just gave me some try for a finish on guitar necks, and I will follow this to a “T” to try it out. I am a bit confused about the Scotch Brite pads, and I’ve come across this elsewhere.

    You recommend the grey and white pads as a 000 and 0000 steel wool equivalent. The white pad (#7445) is equivalent to 0000 steel wool, according to 3M, but it’s the gold pad (#7745) that is equivalent to 0000 steel wool. The grey pad (#7448) is only equivalent to 00 steel wool.

    Would it be better than to use the gold and white pads for this finnish, or do you still recommend the grey and white combo? Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the kind words man! I have to be honest and profess my ignorance I actually had no idea there were gold pads. I’ve been told the white was 0000 so after not seeing anything to indicate the otherwise I accepted it. I’ll have to check out the gold pads and update the tutorials if that is true. Do you happen to have a link or lead to where I can check them out too?

      If it’s the case then I’d use the grey white AND gold in a stepwise fashion as you go higher in grit. Let me know how it works for you and please feel free to message again! Thank you!

      1. Richard Wildeman says:

        It looks like my reply didn’t take here – it may because links are not allowed? If you google “scotch-britetm-hand-finishing-systems-brochure-pdf.pdf”, it should be the first hit. It’s a weird link, as it just automatically downloads the pdf. Or you can email me for it otherwise.

      2. Thanks buddy! I didn’t get to the other comment in time to approve. I enabled a setting where if someone posts a link I get to approve first. Forgot about that. Had some people spamming links and unsavory things on here and must have slipped my mind I had that enabled! Thanks again!

  5. Richard Wildeman says:

    You’re very welcome! It’s a weird link, because it automatically downloads a PDF file, so hopefully it works for you: https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/119555O/scotch-britetm-hand-finishing-systems-brochure-pdf.pdf

    If not, I put it on Dropbox as an alternative: https://www.dropbox.com/s/rik68ucovv8iqmm/Scotch-Brite%20Pads.pdf?dl=0.

    As I mentioned before, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen that the grey-white pads replace 000-0000 steel wool, so I think maybe I’ll contact them just to be sure then! Thanks again!

  6. Ian Lawson says:

    I’m assembling a guitar and have been reading your blog for tips on using Odie’s Oil and Butter.

    I already have the oil and butter coming in the mail and am definitely going to be using the oil and butter on the body.

    I also have a Birdseye maple neck from Musikraft with their “thin lacquer sealer” applied that looks nice but am afraid it will wear out too quickly and I don’t want to apply more lacquer because I don’t have a safe place to spray something like that.

    I’m looking for your advice on what I should do with this neck. Do you recommend Odies oil and butter for guitar necks? If so, do you follow a similar routine as you’ve described for your guitar bodies using Odies?

    Would the neck be more protected with the thin lacquer coat already applied, assuming it’s a coat or two of sprayed lacquer?

    Sorry for all the questions, this is my first guitar build. I’m a little lost on what to do right now!

    I love the guitars you have made! Your work has been an inspiration for me working on my first guitar project.

    1. Hi Ian!

      thanks for writing!

      If the neck already has lacquer on it then youre pretty much good to go. If its a raw neck or if you like the feel of an oiled neck then you’ll have to sand it down to the wood. If its your first neck you bought i’d leave it as is.

      Lacquer is one of the more protective topcoats you can apply, oil and wax is just oil and wax, it makes the wood look and feel beautiful and protects from moisture and wears really nicely. but it offers nothing in the way of ding protection or stuff like that. Personally i build my guitars to be abused and so that they can wear over time and tell a story. Some people dont like that and want a pristine instrument forever. to each his own.

      My first guitar i made I used a neck from warmoth and made a body and used some random varnish. I had a lot to learn lol. If you build a body try the oil and butter and a paste wax for teh finish, you’ll see what i mean when i say it feeeels so good. When i build necks and finish them i used something like what i described in my tutorials. honestly sometimes i just use wax alone – like in that shaper guitar . theres really no wrong answer its just learning what the finish’s pros and cons are. I’ll explain: we’ve talked about lacquer and usually that means nitrocellulous lacquer or Nitro. this finish takes a long time to cure and needs to be buffed and wet sanded. the benefit is that its protective to more than just moisture. another benefit is that when you need to repair it its usually easy for a luthier to do so. lacquer when applied melts into each layer. This is important because shellac is the same, you apply it similar to oil and wax but it forms a top layer thats protective (just dont put alcohol on it) old time instrument makers do the french polishing method with this natural finish (made from the shells of the Lac bug!) its foodsafe and used in the shells of candies too. anyways. these two finsihes are different from polyurethane, polyester and tru oil (polymerized oils) because they require a mechanical bond to each layer (scuff sanding in between) which can be risky because if you sand through the thin layer into the next, there is no way to spot repair (like lacquer and shellac, or hell like oil ) you’ll have to sand back down to wood and start over because you’ll start seeing ‘witness lines’. SO thats why i dont use those ones anymore. So i use oil and wax for ease, beauty and for easy as hell repairability. you just sand down, blend and sand back up to the final grit you used and apply oil and wax and it’ll be like nothing happened. im on IG and have a video or two about that @akm_guitarworks is my handle there feel free to message me there cause its easier for me to respond. I need to update this blog more too.

      anyways hope that helps, kinda a crash course in finishes. my biggest piece of advice is dont be afraid of making mistakes, after all, its just wood. you learn every time you build and thats exacrly what happens to me. Hope all is well and please feel free to reach out again here or on instagram! Good luck!

      – Alex

      1. Ian Lawson says:

        Just finished my first day of using Odies oil on the African Mahogany telecaster. It’s turning out much better than the last finish I used, a UV cured finish from Solarez, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Lacquer grain filler which I ended up sanding almost all of it off over the last two days. I followed up by sanding the wood through all the grits up to 1000.

        I applied two coats of the oil, a second after buffing the first. I see now that I was supposed to wait 24 hours for the first coat before applying a second but I don’t think any harm was done. I’m seeing that everyone has a different way of applying it.

        Now, I’m going to wait for it to cure and then probably give the Odies Butter a try or maybe try another application of the oil. This is a very fun product to use. That first “buffing off” was so satisfying. I’m not totally sure what my goal is but rather to use the oil and the butter and see what happens.

        Thanks for your help and inspiration!

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