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Thread: Danish oil?

  1. #1

    Danish oil?


    Iím building a guitar for a school woodwork project and I am approaching the finishing stage. My original plan was to order some tru-oil but my teacher said that the danish oil at school does the same thing and I donít have to pay for it. I would be applying it to both the body and the neck. I have a few questions about it-

    Is danish oil any good for a guitar finish?
    Do I need to do any preparation before oiling (Iíve only ever done spray can painting on guitars)?
    Must I fill the grain? How is this done?
    How do I apply it best? Roller? Brush? Cloth?
    Can it be polished like normal or in a different method?
    Must I clear coat it after?

    Hereís the most recent picture of the body I have, the neck is a standard pitbull neck
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Sorry for the block of questions but I want to do this right first go


  2. #2
    Overlord of Music WeirdBits's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    DanMade did a stunning Mahogany Tele in Danish Oil a few years back and the thread has some limited finishing info.

  3. #3
    Member JimC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    SE England
    My understanding is that danish oil tends to be stronger coloured, which could be an issue with complex dyed finishes, and not such a high gloss, which is personal preference. I use it for instrument cases and like it for that. But there are loads of different formulations of Danish oil. Have you got any offcuts from your body and headstock left? If its there and free then try some test pieces and see how you like the results.

  4. #4
    GAStronomist FrankenWashie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Glebe, NSW
    I have used Danish Oil on FrankenLab Experiment#2. As JimC notes it does darken the timber from the raw state, in a similar fashion to wiping it down with white spirits or Gum Turpentine.
    You must use in a very well ventilated area, wearing appropriate PPE for working with solvents (P2 Filtered mask or Full Face ventilator)
    I applied with clean lint free cloths, fairly liberally, wiping off excess in between coats. Depending on how thirsty your timber is, it may take a number of coats to build up and cover evenly.

    It has taken probably 3 coats to get it where it is currently, which is a fairly consistent satin and I have not rubbed that back at all. The body was sanded to 400 grit before application.

    You should always wear long sleeves, and appropriate gloves to keep the oil off your skin.
    Oil soaked cloths should be wrung out, then laid flat to dry out in a well ventilated area. DO not ball them up and toss them in a corner or a waste bin as this becomes a serious fire hazard apparently.

    Edit: I forgot to mention that TL body looks pretty cool, and it will look pretty schmick with an oil finish. Nice work!
    FrankenLab Guitar Experiments
    Making the simple complicated since 2016!

  5. #5
    Thanks for the replies, turns out it is actually cabotís cabothane clear, not danish oil. After I finished shaping the headstock (which is looking super cool) I tried a bit on the bit of the neck thatís covered.

    It seems to be what Iím looking for, it looks nice and it doesnít react badly to my polishing methods. Due to a lack of materials, I applied it with a roller and, to my surprise, it came out very smooth and level.

    The plan is to do the rest of the neck throughout the next few classes at school and I aim to get a few coats on. I donít plan on clear coating it as I think it would look cool with a bit of wear but Iím sure if I donít like it I can re-apply it and then clear coating it to protect it.

    Would sanding the wood to 400 create a different result to sanding it to say 1500 before varnishing? My thought would be that making it smooth before hand will make the final result smoother but Iím not the most experienced with this stuff.

  6. #6
    Member JimC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    SE England
    I think that varnish will be fine on its own, there'd be no point in putting anything else over it. I refinished my first bass with polyurethane varnish when I was your age some 40 years ago, and it still seems OK to me...

    I might go down to 600grit after the first coat of varnish has dried, but I don't see any point in going as far as 1500. (assuming your grit grades are the same as the UK).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by JimC; 16-10-2019 at 11:50 PM.

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