Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Darkening Finish After Tru Oil

  1. #1

    Default Darkening Finish After Tru Oil

    I finished my second build with a coat of shellac and then Tru Oil over that. I would like to darken the back, sides and neck a bit. Right now it's a honey color but I'd like it to be a light brown. Given that the main finish is Tru Oil, is there any way to darken it now without removing the Tru Oil and shellac and starting all over again?

    I thought about adding some dye to the Tru Oil and applying more coats. Would that work or would it compromise the integrity of the hard Tru Oil finish?

  2. #2
    Mandolin & Mandola maker
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Bega NSW, Australia
    Posts
    1,231

    Default Re: Darkening Finish After Tru Oil

    Mmm, probably a bit late to think about that now. Would be quite difficult to get an even colour now with dye without starting over. However, very likely to will darken with age and exposure to light.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
    http://www.petercoombe.com

  3. The following members say thank you to peter.coombe for this post:

    Rdeane 

  4. #3

    Default Re: Darkening Finish After Tru Oil

    Peter's right. However, two things:
    - you can never apply too many coats of tru-oil
    - people in general seem to put up with much worse dye jobs than what is "good practice"

    So maybe put some trans-tint (1 drop) in a new can of Tru-Oil, and then rub on a bunch more coats. The key to getting even is that you must not be in a hurry, or add too much dye. Then it'll definitely be splotchy. Don't worry about the hardness of the finish, the dye (if Trans-Tint) is just color in a solvent base, it'll flash off and just be in the deeper pores of the wood mostly, as well as the film of the finish itself. I think this is doable.

    Alternately, spray with an airbrush and a tinted polyurethane. Why poly? It'll stick to tru-oil and, surprise surprise, it dries. Airbrushing on tinted shellac is also an option, albeit a delicate one.

  5. The following members say thank you to Marty Jacobson for this post:

    Rdeane 

  6. #4

    Default Re: Darkening Finish After Tru Oil

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    Peter's right. However, two things:
    - you can never apply too many coats of tru-oil
    - people in general seem to put up with much worse dye jobs than what is "good practice"

    So maybe put some trans-tint (1 drop) in a new can of Tru-Oil, and then rub on a bunch more coats. The key to getting even is that you must not be in a hurry, or add too much dye. Then it'll definitely be splotchy. Don't worry about the hardness of the finish, the dye (if Trans-Tint) is just color in a solvent base, it'll flash off and just be in the deeper pores of the wood mostly, as well as the film of the finish itself. I think this is doable.

    Alternately, spray with an airbrush and a tinted polyurethane. Why poly? It'll stick to tru-oil and, surprise surprise, it dries. Airbrushing on tinted shellac is also an option, albeit a delicate one.

    Most of the coats of Tru Oil I applied were not diluted but the last 3 or 4 were diluted with Everclear. I assume that if I put in a drop of dye into a new bottle of Tru Oil I will need to dilute it for application with more Everclear to make it thin enough to apply evenly. Am I on the right track here?

  7. #5

    Default Re: Darkening Finish After Tru Oil

    Oooohhh... Everclear to thin tru-oil? I wouldn't do that, that's for shellac and only shellac. This is one of those "varnish ≠ varnish" things. You'd want to thin Tru-Oil with mineral sprits/white spirits. A single drop of Trans-Tint is very concentrated and won't change the consistency of your finish noticeably, so thin it however you would normally thin it for however you like to apply it.

  8. #6

    Default Re: Darkening Finish After Tru Oil

    Your post prompted me to go back and refer to my notes on the finish. I thought I may have mispoken. I did thin the shellac with Everclear. However, I did not use any thinning agent on the True Oil. I had planned to do it but never did. I had no trouble with the Tru Oil application so I didn't thin it. Sorry for the misinformation. I appreciate your response. I'll take a test piece and see how it works out.

  9. #7

    Default Re: Darkening Finish After Tru Oil

    I suggest you start number 3 and color it the way you want from the start. You know you're going to build another so why waste time on this one. I'm sure someone will love it just the way it is.
    Richard Hutchings

  10. #8

    Default Re: Darkening Finish After Tru Oil

    I have successfully tinted tru-oil with Fiebings leather dye, i.e. the normal alcohol based version. I added about 4 small drops of chocolate brown to about 1 tablespoon of tru oil which was plenty to put an initial heavy coat on a solid body electric guitar and turned bare white ash to a golden colour.
    It was a bit like mixing oil and vinegar salad dressing requiring a lot of stirring then wiped on fairly quick.
    I did not tint subsequent coats and I don't know if you could change the colour if the wood was not in the bare stage. As always test on a piece of scrap.
    In hindsight the oil based leather dye might actually work better but I never buy it myself as I am usually dyeing under other finishes.

    Good luck.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •