So I’m back with my DIY Les Paul guitar kit and I am here to show you how to apply the Tru-Oil finish. This oil finish will provide a very protective layer over the previously applied stain on the guitar’s Spalted Maple top. See my previous article to find out the steps I took to stain the guitar.
Here’s some reasons to why I decided to go with a Tru-Oil finish. The ease of application, no need for costly spray tools, and no toxic fume spreading throughout the area. Applying several layers of this oil will provide a protective and glossy finish for your DIY guitar project.
The Tru-Oil is made by Birchwood Casey and is marketed as a gun stock finish. Now this product may be very difficult to find in stores, especially if you live in California. I visited many stores (gun stores, sporting good stores, and even Walmart) and this product was nowhere to be found. Apparently there are some regulations regarding the bulk shipments of this item and the availability of Tru-Oil in your state may differ.
Nevertheless, I was determined to use this oil as the finish for my DIY guitar and decided to purchase the Tru-Oil online. The best place I found to buy this product was here on eBay. It was very inexpensive and delivery was lightning fast. You can also find Tru-Oil on Amazon. Once you have the bottle in your hands, you are now ready to apply the oil finish onto your guitar.
Items you will need need:
- Pair of gloves
- 00 steel wool
- Tack Cloth
- Clean Cloth/Rag
- Bottle of Tru-Oil
When applying the oil to bare wood, first make sure your guitar is clean by wiping it down with a tack cloth. The tack cloth will remove any dust and debris from the surface of your guitar. While wearing your gloves, pour a small amount of Tru-Oil on to a clean rag and simply rub the oil into the surface of the guitar, applying more as you see fit. A little amount of oil goes a long way.
Let the oil dry for a couple hours until it fully hardens then apply additional coats of oil. The objective is to apply and build up several coats of oil over time. By doing so, the layers of oil will become thicker giving you that nice glossy and protective finish.
Before applying each additional coat of Tru-Oil, you will need to scuff up the previous coat to a dull finish. Use the 00 steel wool for this steps but be very careful with the first few thin coats of oil. The last thing you want to do is to sand through the layers of oil and into the wood stain that you worked so hard to apply.
Repeat the process of cleaning with a tack cloth, rubbing in the oil, and letting it harden. Do this over and over until you are satisfied with the thickness of the Tru-Oil finish. For my project, I applied at least 10 coats of oil and am very pleased with the results.
That’s it, you’re done! Stand back and stare at the beauty you have created!
The next step in this DIY Les Paul guitar project is to glue the neck and body together. As always, I will document this process and share the steps I take to complete the project.
Click here to view entire project.