Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

A Tru-Oil Finish Mentor

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by TommyChung71, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. TommyChung71

    TommyChung71 Tele-Meister

    Nov 21, 2008
    New Yawk
    I played my first Tru-Oil neck guitar this weekend and I finally liked the feeling of maple. I decided that I'd like to purchase a Tru-Oil neck or create one myself. I'm not sure if there is a place to purchase one, which I would do, but if not I will have to attempt this finishing myself.

    Would someone be willing to be my Tru-Oil mentor and guide a complete rookie through all of the steps required to get an Ernie Ball type finish on a maple neck?

  2. Shepherd

    Shepherd Friend of Leo's

    Jan 17, 2008
    Maple Ridge, Canada
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
    DrASATele likes this.


    HOBBSTER01 Friend of Leo's

    Nov 23, 2007
    Ringgold, Ga.
    DIY Tru Oil is fairly easy.
    Just remember, thin coats.
    Vespa_One likes this.

  4. TommyChung71

    TommyChung71 Tele-Meister

    Nov 21, 2008
    New Yawk
    Is there a place where I can purchase a finished neck in Tru-Oil or is it a must to do it myself?

  5. Sharp5

    Sharp5 Tele-Holic

    Jan 8, 2010
    It's not hard at all. Buy an unfinished neck. Get some Tru-Oil and rub it on with your fingers. Let dry. Repeat process several times. Buff out with some steel wool.

    Tru-Oil necks are my favorite as well.
    SPUDCASTER and Vespa_One like this.

  6. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    It is pretty easy, especially if you're not going for a high-gloss finish, but there are some pitfalls. There's been a LOT of discussion about using T-O around here; I recommend you try the search function.

    If you go to Google and type this:
    "tru oil"

    you'll get a good afternoon's worth of reading. :)
    ShortBlack9 likes this.

  7. topzilly

    topzilly TDPRI Member

    Aug 24, 2010
    Washington DC
    Has anyone ever used a vinyl sealer under tru oil? Are they even compatible? I have a korina build that I want to grain fill with a black filler. I need to seal before the filler, and I have a ton of this vinyl sealer laying around. I'm done with spraying nitro and I want to try a tru oil finish, but I'm not sure what kind of sealer (other than BC own sealer) is compatible with tru oil.

    oh, sorry for the threadjack...

    I did a tru oil finish on a jazzmaster build with a maple neck, and the tru oil finish could not have been easier. Wipe it on, wipe it off, buff, repeat. I think I only used 3-4 coats on the neck, and I got a great finish. It's comparable to ernie ball necks I think. The one thing I would advise is to stay away from steel wool, the 3M pads work better and don't leave little metal splinters everywhere.

  8. Boolywho

    Boolywho Tele-Meister

    Nov 18, 2010
    Portland, OR

    You're going to save a lot of money by finishing your own neck, and it's really easy to do with tru-oil. My suggestion is to just take the plunge, it's very forgiving, don't worry. Just put in a decent effort at getting the neck really smooth before you finish it and you'll have a good end result. I recommend sanding the neck down to 320-grit. Maple will easily be smooth enough to tru-oil by that point.

    Just do it! :p

  9. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Tele-Holic

    Oct 13, 2009
    Johnson City, TN
    When people say 'thin coats' they really mean super duper extra thin coats. Thin as in 'just enough to evenly wet the surface' or 'so thin you cannot wipe any more off.'

    You might get by applying the very first coat a little more heavily (but not much heavier.)

    Yes, it is tedious. But it is easy and practically foolproof (at least it is patient fool-proof, impatient fools are another story...)

    The most common (and annoying) problem when Tru-oiling a maple fretboard is that the finish - if applied too heavy - will tend to build up in the corners where the frets meet the board. If you start to see this happening allow it to dry, then carefully scrap it out with an exacto blade. Once it is cleaned out proceed as before but with even thinner applications.

    Note: in this usage 'thinner' refers to very light coats straight from the bottle, you do not need to dilute the stuff.

  10. doublee

    doublee Tele-Meister

    Mar 15, 2007
    The Hudson Valley
    Its ridiculously easy, I was hesitant at first as well but it works easy. no learning curve needed, you cant really screw it up.
    Vespa_One likes this.

  11. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    Use Birchwood Casey Sealer/Filler. Its specifically formulated to act as a sealer for Tru Oil.

  12. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    To the OP -

    The best Tru Oil finishes I have ever seen come from forum member Tom Pettingill
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2011

  13. udimet720

    udimet720 Tele-Holic

    Feb 26, 2008
    Tustin, CA
    In addition to info here, there is a lot of good help over at the reranch forum. Here's one sticky they have re tru-oil:

    And just to reiterate, when people say thin, that means put it on THIN! For the back of the neck, just a few drops is enough for the whole thing. Err on the side of too little.

    I like to leave a tru oil neck not fully polished, a little satiny.

    When doing a neck, have it set up and just take 5 minutes and do a coat every few hours while working on other stuff. You will get several coats in a day and will have the necessary thickness in no time.

  14. topzilly

    topzilly TDPRI Member

    Aug 24, 2010
    Washington DC

    I know BC makes a sealer/filler, but I'm not interested in using that because I want to use a black epoxy grain filler. I need to seal the wood first, before grain filling. So what other sealer (sealant?) is compatible?
    Scooter91 likes this.

  15. buckallred

    buckallred Tele-Meister

    Mar 3, 2008
    Dumb question: when applying tru oil to a maple neck, do you apply it to the maple fingerbowrd as well as the back of the neck?

  16. appar111

    appar111 Friend of Leo's

    Mar 8, 2006
    yep. why would you tru-oil all of a maple neck except the fretboard?

  17. Rhomco

    Rhomco Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Oct 8, 2004
    DFW, Texas
    Yes you would

    And this boys and girls is what seperates the Men from the Boys when it comes to oil finishes.

  18. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod TDPRI Member

    Aug 27, 2016
    Two simple questions about Truoil. I've finished my maple/rosewood neck with wudtone "saffron" (great dark amber tone!) and applied Truoil as topcoat. So far so good. Since I'd like to have a matte finish on the neck, how to achieve it? I've got the feeling most pads leave small scratches, on the other hand I don't like to use steelwool. Ah, and I prefer less coats (maybe 4 or 5) and Truoil Wax above the final coat. Any suggestions to achieve a super smooth silky-matte finish without any sanding scratches? Thanks!

  19. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Meister

    Maybe I can answer one of your questions:
    You can get a great finish and feel on your neck with TruOil if you finish it up with a rubdown using one of the tan colored ScotchBrite pads.
    The pads are the ones I believe they call "very fine", or the equivalent of 000 or 0000 steel wool. I've done this with two necks so far, and I'm really happy with results and feel.

    I don't go crazy with TruOil on the necks, several thin coats, allowing each coat to dry completely between applications. Done in this fashion, you'll have an even and smooth finish already before you hit it with the ScotchBrite; the fine ScotchBrite pad will give you the matte finish and feel that you're looking for.
    It's a nice finish and real easy to maintain - when the neck gets dirty I use a little bit of guitar cleaner and polish and a soft rag to clean it up, and she's good to go. For the limited and very occasional cleaning my guitars get, I've been using some stuff I got from Kenny at Philly Luthier Supply; it's a Menzerna (sp?) product and it works excellent.

    Best Regards,

    EDIT: Regarding wax, on the body I finished with TruOil, I used that same type tan ScotchBrite combined with regular old cheap Johnson's wax. I used the scotchbrite as a polishing pad combined with the wax and got a nice smooth and soft luster to the finish. I've tried wax on necks before and it just doesn't work for me, they end up feeling sticky.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
    stefanhotrod likes this.

  20. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod TDPRI Member

    Aug 27, 2016
    Thanks Geo. Here's a picture after the first 2 coats. Even if they're thin it's more glossy than I've expected. I'm located in germany, we have different materials here. Do you have an equivalent on Micro Mesh pads to your Scotch Brite?

    old wrench likes this.

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