Tru-Oil and Pigment Sunburst Question

Q&A Woodworking Forum IndexCategory: Wood FinishingTru-Oil and Pigment Sunburst Question
Brian asked 7 months ago


Great video concerning the artist paints in a linseed carrier. I am constantly learning new applications of guitar finishing through various videos.

My question is this: I have already laid down about 5 coats of tru oil on my swamp ash guitar body and want to tint the tru oil a slight shade of brown in a burst like fade. Can I mix the paint with the tru oil and rub it in with a lint free cloth (coffee filter) and apply multiple coats (tint on the outer rim of the body and drag it inward diluting with straight birchwood casey for the fade) to sneak up on the desired tint?

Is there an issue with blotchiness due to the coats underneath? I intend to apply multiple coats as suggested for control of the hue depth as desired. Any issues with bonding of the coats or grainy appearance? Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much,


This came in through email, and I’ll answer it below. Thanks again Alan and happy building.

1 Answers
Westfarthing Woodworks answered 7 months ago

Alan, thank you for asking such an awesome question. You are very gutsy going for a burst effect, and I want you to know that it can work.

The way you do a burst with sprays is a similar technique as far as the color bending goes, but it will apply differently with artist oils and tru-oil by hand.

I’ve never done anything as detailed as what you are attempting to do, but I can give some advice for the nuts and bolts. If you really want to do a great looking finish that way, start with a test board.

Get something close in color to your guitar, and cut it to the same shape. Then, do the same process you would on the guitar to the board.

This little exercise alone will solve a lot of potential problems on the guitar long before you ever lay down the first coat. A test is really important, especially on something so impressive as what you are going for.

The oils will blend nicely, and the colors will work together really well. I recommend laying down a couple coats of tru oil without any color first. This way, you create a barrier that will prevent the blotchiness you are worried about.

When the wood is sealed with tru oil, the color can’t make blotches because the finish layer has an even rate of absorption.

After that initial layer really dries (give it overnight at least) then you can start blending your colored layers and have fun from there.

I would really love to see the instrument when you are done, and if you have any more questions please join the forum and make a post. I will be glad to help.

Here is the video for anyone that has not seen it: Coloring Oil Finishes

Happy building.

Post Author-

  • More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
  • 7 Woodworking Books Available on Amazon
  • Over 1 Million Words Published About Woodworking
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University
Buy My Books on Amazon

I receive Commissions for Purchases Made Through the Links in This Post.


You Can Find My Books on Amazon!

woodworking and guitar making books

An Exclusive Member of Mediavine Home

Westfarthing Woodworks LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.