Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Les Paul DIY kit (Part IV: Tru-Oil finish)

This is part four of my Les Paul DIY guitar kit build drama, and in this episode I'm writing about the oil finish. Having seen this video by Fred Yen and followed the debate on gearbuilder.de [German] about what oil to apply and how, I finally decided to go with the Tru-Oil. It seemed easy enough to apply and would result in a nice glossy finish.

I let the stain dry for 48 hours before I dared applying the oil. I cut an old t-shirt to pieces for the rags, and then applied a small amount on it and started rubbin' it in. The oil soaked into the surface like there's no tomorrow, but I knew that and didn't bother. It took a few helpings to cover the front of the guitar. Remarkably little of the stain rubbed off. Once I had covered the front I let it dry for 3 to 4 hours before applying a second coat. I think it's better not to buff the surface between the first two coats as the oil is just too thin and likely wiped off together with some of the stain.

After the second coat had dried I buffed it very gently using industry grade 00 steel wool. The idea is really just to get rid of the shining in order to have a dull surface ready for the next coat.

After 4 coats I already had a pretty hard satin finish. But I wanted more! Much more!

After 6 coats it really started to take off. Buffing becomes very easy and unproblematic. The oil is  hard and thick enough to protect the stain. Also the grain started to show really nicely. This part of the project, i.e. oiling the surface, is really the first part that I consider a complete success. It looks way better than I imagined.

Having protected the top surface well enough I proceeded to oil the remainder of the body and the neck. But I'm not inclined to push my luck and therefore I'm going end this report here. I'll defer that to an other installment of this series. After all the disasters I think I deserve a happy ending for a change.

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