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  • Tru-Oil question...

    So I am building a Tele and I am about ready to finish it. I have the Tru-Oil and everything else I need. I am just wondering about grain filler and if I really need it?

    I talked to a guy who works in the Gibson custom shop who said since it is an ash body I need to fill it but I have read that it is not necessary at all with Tru-Oil to use grain filler.

    So, do I really need to use grain filler and what would be the benefits of doing so?
    Squier Standard Telealvarez PD80-SC

  • #2
    I have done a couple of Tele's with Tru-Oil that turned out fine, and have never used filler. BUT!!! They were both alder bodies. I guess this response doesn't help at all, lol.
    I play both kinds of guitars................Tele's and Strat's.

    Check out my interview with Iron Maiden here!
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    • #3
      Haha not much but thanks anyways!
      Squier Standard Telealvarez PD80-SC

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      • #4
        I did my warmoth maple/maple neck in true oil. Turned out great.
        For SaleBoss OBD-3 Bass Distortion Like New $45 shipped.MXR Boost/Line Driver great condition with velcro. $60 shipped.Tech 21 Power Engine 60 Like new. $225

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        • #5
          For soft maple/basswood winged bodies I've used sealer, then sand sealer smooth then tru-oil.

          Results are very good.
          Originally Posted by DaveAronow


          Tell them your name is Batotman, and send them a box of cat ****************.

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          • #6
            I think what some people do to grain fill is apply some coats of tru oil then sand them down, letting the tru-oil "sawdust" mix fill in the grain. I haven't tried it.

            From some guy named GearHund on TDPRI:
            You can fill grain with Tru-Oil too. I got this process off the manufacturer's website. Apply Tru-Oil to the wood until it won't soak up any more. Let it sit 24 hours. Then, working in about 4" x 4" sections apply more Tru-Oil and wet sand with it until you get a slurry. Work the slurry into the grain by using your fingers in small circular motions. Wipe it off the excess slurry perpendicular to the grain and repeat until the pores are filled. Let it dry. Repeat the whole process as necessary if some spots are still unfilled after the first sanding.

            I know Birchwood Casey make a Sealer and Filler. I haven't tried it.

            http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00233BW6S/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lp o-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B001MQNJ40&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX 0DER&pf_rd_r=1Q3Q66KBBSWSB13PPA9H

            You'll want to grain fill if you want a smooth, mirror finish (which Tru Oil is capable of with a lot of elbow grease), but a lot of people don't grain fill with oil finishes, they let the pores be part of the final look. You can see examples of no grain-filled bodies that normally would be by looking at the Gibson faded series in person (MHO? I hate the look).

            Personally, whatever grain filler I would I use, I would want it tinted sufficiently darker to make the ash grain pop.

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            • #7
              Thanks for the help guys. I think I might look for some grainfiller then. Do you guys know if Quarter uses grain filler on his lap steels? I am pretty sure he doesn't but he has some of the glossiest finishs I have ever seen.
              Squier Standard Telealvarez PD80-SC

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              • #8
                What you want is sanding sealer. It's clear. I used Bulls Eye Seal Coat.
                I did two coats sanding between.

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                • #9
                  What you want is sanding sealer. It's clear. I used Bulls Eye Seal Coat.
                  I did two coats sanding between.


                  no you don't...sanding sealer will prevent the tru-oil from penetrating the wood...it'll never cure properly and will just peel off...

                  Tru-Oil is a penetrating polymerized oil that is produced by heating tung oil and linseed oil rtogether at 500 degrees in an oxygen-free environment...the resulting mixture is a deep-penetrating oil that seals the wood against weathering...which is why it is used on gunstocks...it penetrates into the wood pores and cures quite rapidly, so there is very little time to get each coat applied...

                  if you apply a sanding sealer (shellac) you will seal the wood and the tru-oil can't penetrate the pores...

                  Grain filler will make the finished product absolutely smooth...a glass type finish...not using it will allow the grain to be felt through the oil...

                  it's a matter of personal choice whether to use grain filler or not...

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                  • #10
                    Do you guys know if Quarter uses grain filler on his lap steels?

                    I know the answer to that one
                    I generally do my grain filling either by the sand with TO slurry method or I've done a couple using Zpoxy Finishing Resin, both work well.
                    Beyond the grain fill, I'm getting the nice flat mirror surface by wet sanding with some 1000 grit and mineral spirits for a lube. I'll generally wipe on about 3 light coats a day, then wet sand in the morning before that days coats. Once I get a nice flat surface going that I'm happy with, I'll move on up to 1500 for a day, then some 2000 followed with a single lite "glaze" coat.

                    .
                    My Name is Tom Pettingill ... I build Hand Crafted Custom Lap Steel Guitars
                    https://www.facebook.com/Pettingill-...3236265069214/
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                    • #11
                      That mirror finish is incredible Quarter. It almost looks transparent in that shot.
                      Listen...

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                      • #12
                        ... if you apply a sanding sealer (shellac) you will seal the wood and the tru-oil can't penetrate the pores...

                        True, but there is nothing wrong with True Oil over shellac. Shellac is a wonderful natural product and is one of the most compatible products out there.
                        The best shellac is mixed fresh from dewaxed flake. The only canned store bought shellac I would recommend would be Zinsser Seal Coat. Their other product has too many additives to extend shelf life and will never cure quite right. Shellac.net is a good source for flake and has a pretty good selection of natural shades / colors.
                        I'll sometimes use a 1 pound cut as a wash / sealer coat on maple to give it a nice natural amber tone before topping with True Oil.

                        .
                        My Name is Tom Pettingill ... I build Hand Crafted Custom Lap Steel Guitars
                        https://www.facebook.com/Pettingill-...3236265069214/
                        http://s302.photobucket.com/albums/nn87/tompettingill

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                        • #13
                          Thanks Quarter! Your finishes (and builds in general) never cease to amaze me.

                          Which of those three (TO slurry, filler, shellac) would you say is the easiest? Since this is my first guitar. I have a swamp ash body, maple neck, and rosewood fretboard btw.
                          Squier Standard Telealvarez PD80-SC

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                          • #14
                            Grain filler will make the finished product absolutely smooth...a glass type finish...not using it will allow the grain to be felt through the oil...

                            it's a matter of personal choice whether to use grain filler or not...


                            I recently treated a ash body with tru oil.
                            I chose not to use filler since I enjoy the grain of ash a lot - I think of it as a feature really. I didn't sand between coats, but used 0000 steelwool and I the result. It has the typical Tru Oil 'depth', it's smooth and shiny, but you can still feel the grain.
                            Axe-Fx Ultra

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                            • #15
                              Which of those three (TO slurry, filler, shellac) would you say is the easiest?

                              Well, none of them are particularly hard, but all can be somewhat time consuming. For simplicity sake, I'd say give the slurry a try. To start, lay the first coat of TO on heavy, work it in and let it soak up as much as it wants and let dry overnight. The next day, start the wet sanding with strait TO, I use some 3M 400 grit and a big pink eraser for a block, work small areas at a time and let dry overnight between sessions. Swamp ash can have some deep pores, so don't be surprised if it takes a couple 3 sessions to get her filled.
                              My Name is Tom Pettingill ... I build Hand Crafted Custom Lap Steel Guitars
                              https://www.facebook.com/Pettingill-...3236265069214/
                              http://s302.photobucket.com/albums/nn87/tompettingill

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