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Using Tru Oil (Gunstock Finish) on a Violin
Questioning if anyone has tried using Tru Oil Finish on a violin.
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 

February 19, 2018 - 10:43 pm
Member Since: December 23, 2017
Forum Posts: 401
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I really don't want to get involved with brushing a varnish on a violin.  I would likely use too poor a quality brush and end up with more pig bristle than varnish!  I am also color blind, and the thought of adding tint is beyond the pale.  I have seen several videos of luthiers using Tru Oil (originally intended as a gunstock finish) on acoustic guitars and it appears to be rather easy to do using cotton cloth as an applicator and leads to a very aesthetically pleasing finish.  You can even get it in a spray can.  No idea on its acoustic properties, but it has to be better than paint.

Has anyone experience with it?

Cranks make revolutions.  JBS Haldane

King for a Day, Peasant for many

February 20, 2018 - 4:57 pm
Member Since: February 13, 2012
Forum Posts: 1813
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although I've refinished and repaired the finish on several violins, I must say I have never used Tru-oil as whole finish on one.

If you don't mind the experimentation of trying it out sans the results you will achieve, go for it.

In my studies and limited knowledge on the subject, I know that a sealer, that is quick to penetrate shallow and harden up quickly is preferred and then repeated coats to build up the surface gloss is very desirable. Tru-oil by nature is a quik-dry varnish like liquid and so might be well worth the effort on a cheap violin in the green.

I'm sure it will be far better than "paint"... lol

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein


February 20, 2018 - 7:22 pm
Member Since: December 23, 2017
Forum Posts: 401
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I spent last night looking at various Youtube videos of people using Tru-Oil on guitars and came away with the impression that most were unaware of the basic chemistry of what they were doing.  But I must admit that I was so excited with the prospect that I had difficulty sleeping.

Tru-Oil is a partially linked polymer that extends the links when activated by oxygen.  Once the bottle is opened, it starts to "turn" like a bitten into apple.  So the trick is to keep it from oxygen until it is actually applied to the wood.

Second, the main ingredient of Tru-Oil is also the carrier used in oil based artist paints. So I should be able to find a color fast pigment mix among the oil based artist paints that I can add to Tru-Oil.

My first thought was to mix the Tru-Oil and artist pigments into a reusable aluminum aerosol bottle with some glass marbles, seal it, pressurize the can with argon, invert the can and release some of the argon with intrained air, and refill with argon.  This should be close to an oxygen free environment which will keep the Tru-Oil from degrading.

I would apply the Tru-Oil from the aerosol can (after shaking it to mix it with the oil pigments) on a paper coffee filter covering some cotton balls, working small areas at a time.  The violin would be hanging on a string from the ceiling with the fingerboard masked off with  painters tape.  

I know all plans change after the first punch is thrown, but the above are my first thoughts.

Cranks make revolutions.  JBS Haldane

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