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Thread: Transfers and Tru oil

  1. #1

    Default Transfers and Tru oil

    This is probably too left field, but you have to ask. Has anyone experimented with using large laser printed transfers under tru oil finishes, especially with overlapping sections?

    The story is that my in progress semi electric mandolin has gone badly wrong on the finishing. I tried a rubbed faded finish on the spruce top which looked OK on the various offcuts I used for practice, but is dreadful on the actual top. Before I sulkily rip it off and go for a new soundboard and leave it plain, I was mulling over fake binding. Real binding is beyond my skills and tools, but back in the day painted "binding" was common enough on lower priced instruments like my vintage Washburn, and really looks OK (actually I've just looked again and I think what I always thought was painted may be real - go figure!).

    The trouble is my finishing skills are pretty poor, and the chances of being able to make a satisfactory job of hand painting a border are zero. I was wondering about making a laser printed transfer - or rather a series of transfers since I'd never get a single water slide transfer that size on flat. Is this something anyone has any experience of? I'll try a test anyway.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Greg Mirken's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Nevada City, CA

    Default Re: Transfers and Tru oil

    Maybe something like this to add some edge detail?

    Your top doesn't look so bad; you're just not done. Keep building and blending color.
    Shade Tree Fretted Instrument Repair
    Now located in Nevada City, California

  3. #3
    Registered User keme's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Egersund, Norway

    Default Re: Transfers and Tru oil

    I would not look at slide-on transfers. I have seen them on cheap instruments, but under a liberal coat of laquer which levels the surface. AFAIK, tru-oil does not easily build a noticeable film thickness so the edge of the transfer will be exposed, subjected to wear and collecting grime.

    Your instrument looks good. As surface pores fill/saturate on the top, I suspect that dye will spread more evenly to give an even better look. At least, if you have the time, give it a chance with 10-15 additional coats before you give in to the urge to rip. Patience.

    That said, my experience is nothing to base a decision on. I'm merely guessing. I have had a few good guesses...

  4. #4

    Default Re: Transfers and Tru oil

    Thanks folks. A laser printed transfer is so thin that a border hardly shows even under one generous coat of truoil, but drawing a border on with a wipeoff marker indicated that the result , although arguably a small improvement, wasn't going to satisfy me.

    I note in the other thread a mention of a pre coating of shellac to even out a tendency of spruce to go blotchy, and that's probably where I needed to go.

    I'm not too bothered about doing a new top, the centreblock under the soundhole is a lot more obtrusive than I expected, so the replacement can have f-holes instead.

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