Tung oil

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments

Tung oil

Post by billr » Sat Oct 14, 2006 1:47 pm


A luthier named Chuck Rodgers finishes his guitars in tung oil. This results in low luster or matt finish, I suppose.

Any thoughts on this type of finish? Do you think its a big turn off to the majority of classical guitar enthusiasts, who are accustomed to the brighter, glossier finishes?



Post by Toad » Sat Oct 14, 2006 7:06 pm

Hi Bill,

I really love my oil finished guitar by Kevin Aram.

It really does show the true beauty of the wood, and compared to my other french polished guitars is much more durable and resistant to damp and sweat.

They also very tactile - you can feel the grain under your fingers.

I also find moving between positions is much easier on this type of finish as your thumb doesn't stick on the neck.

I'm not sure how many more guitars I'll buy, but they will all be oil finished.



tung oil

Post by billr » Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:37 pm


Thanks for your thoughts. They are very helpful. And congratulations on your beautiful guitar!


Patrick Mailloux

Post by Patrick Mailloux » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:01 pm

I use tung oil on the necks of my guitars. It has, in my opinion, the best feel under your thumb when playing. You can feel the wood on your skin and it doesn't stick when wet. Almost everyone who has tried it loved the feeling.

Another advantage is if it gets worn out, anyone can fix it by buying a can of oil, lightly sanding the original coats and applying a few light coats. It amalgamates immediately with what was left of the old coats. If you let it dry properly (a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on how many coats you apply), it will feel good as new.

I used it for entire guitars a few times, but don't do it anymore. Most people didn't like the looks of it. It also has a bit of a damping effect on high frequencies when used on the soundboard.


Post by Toad » Sun Oct 22, 2006 12:23 pm

By the way, if you want to see how nice oil finished guitars can look, check out the guitars by Kevin Aram and Michael Gee at staffordguitar.com



Post by tomc » Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:34 pm

Well putting a chisel in my hands near a guitar or a nice hunk of Brazilian rosewood would be about as safe as housing a lamb with a butcher, but I have refinished my fair share of furniture and there is high gloss as well as low gloss (matte) tung oil.

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