Monday, March 5, 2018

Headless Kit Build: First Six Tru-Oil Coats

I'm about a day and six coats into Tru-Oil application. Five on the back and one on the sides. That seems like a lot of coats for just over 24 hours. Especially considering I was not home most of today. But with thin enough coats (just a few drops) it is possible to re-apply every three hours or so. As soon as the last coat is no longer tacky. I enjoy this approach because it means even on a workday between the morning and the evening I get at least two, maybe three chances to spend 5-6 minutes moving the project forward. In a busy week, I'm still able to make a lot of visible progress with less than an hour of time to put into it.

Here's a bottle of Tru-Oil. The big bottles like this are a slightly better value but unfortunately because Tru-Oil does thicken and get hard as it is in contact with oxygen if you don't use it fast, all sorts of bad things happen. The texture changes. It yellows a bit more (might not be bad, depending on what you're going for). And you get "crusty attacks" all around the cap. Little critters that jump off the bottle onto your project.
So I definitely recommend making a very tiny hole in the foil gap and to slow this process. It also helps to avoid pouring out too much of the oil.
In this case, the hole I made was actually a little too big. I use cheap coffee filters (like the ones from Duane Reade) to apply Tru-Oil. I have read that some people use specific filters like Melitta natural browns. I tried a few kinds. And in the end, the finer filters fall apart too quickly on me and I end up needing to sand fibers out of the finish after a few coats. The brittle white paper ones are perfect to fold over a few times and sturdy enough to not come apart against the surface while spreading oil around.
Here are the first five coats on the back.
 And finally, tonight I started around the sides.
As this moves along I'm going to need to start wet sanding the oil level as it builds up. This will dull the finish a little but the goal is to get it thick enough and flat enough that we can go back and buff it out later. The key thing is that the thinner each coat is, the less work there is sanding out mistakes later. Another big problem is dust getting onto the sticky oil as it hardens. That is unavoidable in a small workspace. More sanding. More patience.

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