guitar neck tung oil finish

How Many Coats Of Tung Oil On Guitar Neck?

Are you in the process of refinishing your unfinished necks with tung oil? Not sure how many coats you need?

How many coats of tung oil on guitar neck?

For best results, the neck should be sanded and cleaned, then at least 3 coats of tung oil should be applied.  Allow enough time to dry in between each coat.

Advantages Of Using Tung Oil For Your Guitar Neck Finish

The main advantage of a guitar neck finished with tung oil is that it will feel better than a guitar neck finished with a gloss finish.  Gloss necks are stickier and not as easy to play in my opinion.

If you want a neck that you can glide up and down the fretboard with ease, an oiled neck is the way to go.

Tung oil will give you a natural amber hue that looks beautiful on a guitar neck.

How To Finish A Guitar Neck With Tung Oil

Before starting, make sure you get the right tung oil.  Some products are more like tung oil mixtures that include other ingredients like solvents and other things to help with drying, durability, shininess, etc.  Get a good pure 100% tung oil.

  1. Make sure the neck is clean and removed from the body of the guitar.
  2. Remove any hardware like string trees and machine heads.
  3. Wipe the neck with a slightly damp cloth.  This will help raise the grain of the wood.
  4. Lightly sand the neck with 220 and then 320 grit sandpaper.
  5. Using a rag, apply a very thin coat on the neck.
  6. Let it dry for a few minutes and then wipe it down with a dry cloth and steel wool.
  7. Wait 24 hours and then add a second coat.
  8. After another 24 hours, add the last coat.

Three light coats should be enough.

If you want a visual version of how to do it, take a look at this video

Should You Sand Between Coats Of Tung Oil?

I prefer to just buff the neck with a dry cloth after each coat.  If you prefer a shinier neck, then I would suggest sanding between coats.

I find that a tung oiled neck will be shiny enough without having to sand down in between coats.

You do have to be careful not to over apply the tung oil.  If you put too much on it will start getting sticky, so err on the side of putting less oil on.  You can always add more if need be but can’t take it off if too much is applied.

How Long Should Tung Oil Dry Between Coats?

My opinion is 24 hours.  However, check your tung oil’s directions.  Some products suggest that it should be dry to the touch in an hour while some say 24 hours.  I’ve found that many products differ in their instructions.

How Long Should Tung Oil Drying Be On A Guitar Neck?

Tung oil will usually take around 3 days to fully cure on a guitar neck.  Get your guitar back to normal use after each day. After the first day, you can play the guitar without any worries of damaging your new guitar neck finish.

How Long Does Tung Oil Finish Last?

If it has been applied properly, the tung oil finish should last many years.  I’ve had tung oil finishes last me for 20 years before needing to be re-applied.

Also – How long do guitar necks last?How many coats of Tru Oil on guitar body?

Does Tung Oil Darken Wood?

Yes, tung oil will darken wood slightly.  Almost giving it a slight amber hue.

Final Thoughts On Tung Oil Guitar Neck Finishing

I personally think that when it comes to guitar necks, you should keep it simple.  If you just want a nice looking natural finish that feels good when you play, then tung oil is the way to go.  Personally, I don’t like gloss necks very much, so I use tung oil on my guitars to give them the natural finish I like.

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