Oil finish to top - with bridge on, or not?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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James Lister
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Re: Oil finish to top - with bridge on, or not?

Post by James Lister » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:44 am

geoff-bristol wrote:
Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:04 pm
Any oil finish on spruce can be real problem if it absorbs into the wood. It just does not dry well. Seal it with shellac first.
I'd dispute that. I've never had any problems with oil finishes on spruce (apart from some discolouration after a number of years where the player's arm rests on the lower bout, and on the upper bout around the 12th fret, which was easy to recover). It may be true that the oil doesn't dry quickly, but it does dry, and I've never been able to discern any negative effect on tone (in fact most of my best early guitars had oil finishes rather than French polish.)

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Re: Oil finish to top - with bridge on, or not?

Post by Ryeman » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:58 pm

I finished a Romantic guitar with Tru-oil earlier this year and the oil was applied after the bridge had been glued on. I didn't encounter any problems.

Alan

Paul Micheletti
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Re: Oil finish to top - with bridge on, or not?

Post by Paul Micheletti » Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:29 am

eno wrote:
Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:07 pm
Yes, I used the mask. I can tolerate the smel when I do the finish, but what I don't like is that it still stinks after a few weeks and I smell it when I play it. Hopefully it will go away eventually.
I made a case clock using Liberon oil for the finish about 15 years ago. When I open the glass door to adjust the time (every daylight savings time change), I can strongly still smell the oil after all this time. But the outside of the case no longer smells. If you keep the guitar out of the case for a year or so, the vapors will outgas and the smell will diminish. But if the guitar is kept in it's case, the smell will be there forever.

John higgon
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Re: Oil finish to top - with bridge on, or not?

Post by John higgon » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:48 am

James Lister wrote:
Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:44 am
geoff-bristol wrote:
Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:04 pm
Any oil finish on spruce can be real problem if it absorbs into the wood. It just does not dry well. Seal it with shellac first.
I'd dispute that. I've never had any problems with oil finishes on spruce (apart from some discolouration after a number of years where the player's arm rests on the lower bout, and on the upper bout around the 12th fret, which was easy to recover). It may be true that the oil doesn't dry quickly, but it does dry, and I've never been able to discern any negative effect on tone (in fact most of my best early guitars had oil finishes rather than French polish.)

James
No pressure, then, James! I tried a thin sealing coat of shellac and the oil is going on nicely. I have previously applied oil without a sealing coat (Danish oil, I think), and it worked up to a nice finish, but it yellowed quite significantly over time. Personally I don't dislike that look, but some people seem to prefer a blond soundboard.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Oil finish to top - with bridge on, or not?

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:20 am

There may well be one big advantage to using a finish that contains the smelly tung oil. It's resistance to corrosive sweat. Virtually all marine or spar varnishes use tung oil as an oil content, largely because of it's resistance to sea water. Sea water is slightly alkaline. So if it is alkaline sweat that strips varnish then a tung oil varnish has a better chance than one solely based on linseed.
As for yellowing. Over time I think all the drying oils do this, tung more than linseed. Oil painting artists are well aware of this. For them it's considered a distinct disadvantage. For makers of musical instruments it's generally considered a good thing.
Historicalguitars.

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eno
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Re: Oil finish to top - with bridge on, or not?

Post by eno » Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:51 pm

Paul Micheletti wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:29 am
I made a case clock using Liberon oil for the finish about 15 years ago. When I open the glass door to adjust the time (every daylight savings time change), I can strongly still smell the oil after all this time. But the outside of the case no longer smells. If you keep the guitar out of the case for a year or so, the vapors will outgas and the smell will diminish. But if the guitar is kept in it's case, the smell will be there forever.
Damn! if I would know it I would never use it. I'm thinking of putitng a thin FP layer on top of Liberon to make it look better and seal the smell.
Paulino Bernabe 'India' 2001 spruce
Mitsuru Tamura No.800 1969 cedar
Rokutaru Nakade 1967 spruce
Masaru Kohno No.6 1967 spruce
Takamine C136S cedar
Yamaha SLG200S silent

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