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Tung oil layers made walnut too dark, suggestions.

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Forum topic by Sapps posted 05-27-2020 12:01 AM 353 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Sapps

3 posts in 2308 days


05-27-2020 12:01 AM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut finishing question

Hey all, I’m finishing a guitar build with hopes 100% tung oil , after my 8th and final coat (gradually using less and less mineral spirits) I am at the point where I think I’ve used too much. The walnut has gotten gradually darker to the point where the grain shades are much less noticeable. I didn’t think the tung oil would affect the color of the wood that much. It’s still curing/drying (been a week since the final coat which I (literally) hand rubbed in for 30 mins. Any thoughts on how to somehow fix this?


9 replies so far

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Rich

5610 posts in 1362 days


#1 posted 05-27-2020 01:21 AM

You didn’t do any test boards?

Before you do anything else to the guitar, make a test board out of the same wood prepared the same way and with all eight coats of oil. Only then can you try things like wiping with naphtha or turpentine to get it to the look you want.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Sark

276 posts in 1133 days


#2 posted 05-27-2020 05:19 AM

The good news about walnut, is that it will lighten with age. But not very fast…
I made a walnut bed for my son and it was really too dark, but after about 10 years it had that fine golden look of mellow walnut. Lost its purple tinge, too.

The bad news is (and I could be wrong here) that tung oil will darken with age. Tung oil is not generally used on instruments, certainly not any guitar that I’ve played over the last 50 years, and 8 coats sounds like a very thick coating. Tung oil is kinda soft and instrument makers want a coating that hard so that it doesn’t dampen the sound. As Rich suggests, your best bet is to try to remove as much of that oil as is possible, and then maybe topcoat with something harder.

The Acoustic Guitar Forum has a sub-forum for guitar makers, and they are friendly and helpful and you will get advice from experts. I would check them out and see what they have to say.

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SMP

2110 posts in 678 days


#3 posted 05-27-2020 05:48 AM

What brand and name of tung oil? Can you post a pic? I have mainly used Behlens and rockler 100% tung oil and it would be really hard to get more than 3 coats on without getting “gummy”, but only the first coat seems to affect the color of walnut that I have used.

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tvrgeek

988 posts in 2421 days


#4 posted 05-27-2020 10:35 AM

1: Put it in the sun, rotating it for about 10 years and it will lighten up.
2: Appreciate the dark depth.
3: Keep it out of the sun and it wil get even richer as the oil oxidizes
4: Start over

I do not understand those who insist on oil for something a person will touch. The oils and acids on our hands wil attack it. Top of fret board, maybe. Surely not any other part.

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PeteStaehling

133 posts in 1892 days


#5 posted 05-27-2020 11:23 AM



What brand and name of tung oil? Can you post a pic? I have mainly used Behlens and rockler 100% tung oil and it would be really hard to get more than 3 coats on without getting “gummy”, but only the first coat seems to affect the color of walnut that I have used.

I believe he said he was using Hope’s brand.

I have never found a problem with the number of coats, but maybe that is because I pretty much rub it all off and it is mostly an “in the wood” finish that I don’t allow to build up into much of a film.

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Craftsman on the lake

3336 posts in 4210 days


#6 posted 05-27-2020 11:29 AM

If it’s 100% tongue oil it won’t need so many coats. A couple will do. After the fact info I know… sorry.

That being said, I’ve never seen an oiled guitar. Maybe they’re out there but it’s a first for me. They’re either a gloss or matte finish.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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Foghorn

518 posts in 159 days


#7 posted 05-27-2020 01:54 PM

I’m assuming it’s an electric guitar where the use of oil seems to be pretty popular although Tru-oil seems to be a lot more popular than 100% Tung oil. Definitely not a recommended finish on an acoustic guitar although some still use Tru-oil.

-- Darrel

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Sark

276 posts in 1133 days


#8 posted 05-27-2020 05:00 PM

Well silly me, I never thought about electric guitars since I play acoustic…if that’s the case, ignore my comments above. Except that walnut will lighten with age, and you could try putting in the sun as tvrgeek suggests, something one would never do with an acoustic.

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Mario

194 posts in 4168 days


#9 posted 05-27-2020 05:42 PM

Sand it down as much as posible in order to remove the tung oil, finish now with blonde shellac instead, build it up slowly or try to french polish the surface, at least you might partially recover the grain

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