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Another cue refinishing thread about linseed oils and grain fillers

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  • Another cue refinishing thread about linseed oils and grain fillers

    Hello everybody,

    I'm new to this forum as I had the idea of restoring my brother's old Peradon King cue (raised and faded grain, no more filler) and tried to soak up every information out there on how to do it properly. After now about a week of research, I'm still not sure what to do effectively, but I'd thought why not discuss this topic (again 😁) among some of you, who may have some experience with it.

    First of all I want to share some basic information I gathered along my way. I may need to emphasize here that I'm from Germany, so availability of some UK based products might be a concern (like some special MW products or other cue oils).
    Furthermore I'm atm focused on classic linseed oil finishing. I didn't get my head around mixtures or other oils like tung oil, danish oil, tru oil, etc. yet


    Linseed oils - which is the right one?

    I often came across the debate whether raw or boiled is better suited, just to notice there are far more categories than just these two (at least over here). Here is a short overview, but by no means I'm any kind of expert in this 😅

    Refined linseed oil - also known as hot pressed, contains a lot enzymes, mucilage & suspended solids, relatively lower on unsaturated fatty acids (more on that below), limited storage period before getting rancid.

    Cold-pressed linseed oil - food grade/supermarket quality, contains enzymes, mucilage & suspended solids as well, high amount of unsaturated fatty acids, can get rancid after a while as well.

    "Lackleinöl" (=Alkali refined linseed oil?) - purified & filtered version of either of the two above, so almost no mucilage & co, just a lot of unsatured fatty acids. Much brighter color, almost no smell of linseed oil, doesn't get rancid. Less yellowing over time.

    Stand oil - the traditional vacuum boiled & thickened version for prepolymerization without siccatives/driers. Can come as purified and non-purified as seen above. Available in different viscosities, but generally penetrates the wood less.

    Sun thickened oil - slowly prepolymerized through long time UV exposure. Very similar to stand oil.

    Blown linseed oil - prepolymerized through (sometimes hot) air circulation. Also similar to standoil, but seems to be more viscous, darker in colour and faster drying due to some oxygen bond stuff I don't understand :P

    "Leinölfirnis" or often simply Boiled linseed oil - this can be all of the above mentioned variants or a blend of these combined with additional driers, mostly manganese based. So watch out closely what's exactly in there

    Now what to look for?

    Some posts in various topics in this forum mentioned a certain stickiness even after some time of drying, which is often said to be down to using too much oil (which sounds reasonable to my mind). But there is another point what I would call the "gum up factor" of each oil type. So here some theory from what I read:

    The polymerization process happens mainly when the linolic acid (one of the unsaturated fatty acids) builds some bonds with oxygen. The saturated fatty acids, proteins and all the other stuff do not contribute to this curing process and will remain as "individual parts" in the mix, which can be felt as a tacky & unhardened surface. In some cases this might be wanted, but I guess the way to go here is to get the finish as hard as possible for smooth gliding on the bridge hand.
    Therefore, I think the purified form should be preferred, either as raw or prepolymerized. It is said to dry generally quicker (still slow of course) and more thorough, has better water protection and has no chance to get rancid and smell bad.
    Of course I would prefer faster drying times and opt for a stand/blown oil variant, but to obtain a good penetration into the wood, it has to be heated up slightly.

    So my question here is, am I on the right path and do you think the cue can handle a heated oil of around 60-80°C? Would make waiting time a breeze


    Grain filler

    To sum up, I have little to no idea about this topic. I have heard many things about wood glue & super glue with ebony/grpahite dust, oils, cigarette & paper ash, wood stain, sanding sealer, shoe polish, and so on

    I'm looking here for an easy and ready-to-use product without tinkering to much about. So here are my favorites until now:

    Legends Grain Filler black - seems to be a rather new product and exactly what I'm looking for. Unfortunately availability here in Germany is bad, did reach out to the manufacturer, but no solution in sight. Additionally could not find any information on wheter it's oil or water based. Read also somewhere, that it dries out fairly quickly and becomes unusuable...

    Nitorlack Grain Filler black - this is a water-based grain filler originally for classical guitars, very easy to use (apply water for right consitency and go).

    Rustins Grain Filler natural - according to some posts, this stuff works well on cues and is oil-based. But is has to be dyed some way, what would the best option be here?

    Clou Wood Filler black - can bought as water- or oil-based (the latter is said to be smoother). It's of course no grain filler, but also a bit pasty and can be thinned with water or white spirit. What do you think of this option. Furthermore, it's the cheapest option of them all, but I'm not sure if I want to try it on this cue.

    Aqua Coat Grain Filler clear - among luthiers this stuff is quite popular and easy to handle. Has to be dyed as well (no clue what to use) and is obviously water-based.


    My questions are now, does it matter if the grain filler is water- or oil based. Will it affect the oil finish is some way? Found only little information on which is suitable for what kind of finish, but very confusing thou.


    Sorry for this long post, I hope there is some discussion stuff for you in there 😋

    Cheers Julian


    P.S.: would be very cool if Mike would offer his products over here in some shops, would make life much easier 😀

  • #2
    So just in case somebody stumbles upon this thread, I think I found the right oil for me
    https://mylands.com/products/boiled-linseed-oil
    It is a puriefied and hot blown linseed oil with no driers or additives, which happens to dry a lot quicker according to a video about it.

    Another alternative for me would be the swedish Allbäck boiled linseed oil, which seems to only have a little amount (0,09mg/liter) of manganese driers in it.


    So now I only have to choose a grain filler, but I'm not so sure about this one. This here
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJHXLrRR960
    would still be my favourite. Since it can be rubbed down/cleaned with some cue oil, I think it might be oil based.

    Has anyone maybe a clue, if water-based fillers are also good for this job?

    Comment


    • #3
      What’s the condition of the cue?
      pics would be helpful..

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd imagine raw linseed oil would be cold pressed. I tried the boiled stuff, but wasn't happy with the finish, so have been using raw linseed oil since which is great after a few coats.

        I think for grain fillers it would be better to have an oil based one, I'd be wary that the water based ones would react with any oil based finish on a cue. If you are doing it on a good cue, I'd get a product that was designed for it.

        Saying that, the one time I did it was using spray paint, but it was on a very cheap cue that I got from ebay. It did work, but I think actual grain filler will give better results
        Last edited by weepete; 28 September 2021, 07:17 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally Posted by j6uk View Post
          What’s the condition of the cue?
          pics would be helpful..
          https://ibb.co/LSch7BC
          https://ibb.co/2dzYGG8
          https://ibb.co/F6Rv4xp​

          The left one is the Peradon King, on the right just for comparison a rather new Cannon Focus (which is super smooth, that's my goal for the peradon as well). As you can see, the grain is pretty washed out and not filled anymore, so you can feel the roughness and it pulls always some stubbles from the chin, very annoying. On the ebony part, there are 4 scrathes all at the beginning of the splices.

          I will sand it down to the bare wood in order to start with a completely new finish

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally Posted by weepete View Post
            I'd imagine raw linseed oil would be cold pressed. I tried the boiled stuff, but wasn't happy with the finish, so have been using raw linseed oil since which is great after a few coats.

            I think for grain fillers it would be better to have an oil based one, I'd be wary that the water based ones would react with any oil based finish on a cue. If you are doing it on a good cue, I'd get a product that was designed for it.

            Saying that, the one time I did it was using spray paint, but it was on a very cheap cue that I got from ebay. It did work, but I think actual grain filler will give better results

            Yeah at first I thought raw linseed oil might be the better choice, as John Parris states in his FAQ that raw should be used for reoiling the cues. On the other hand, some experienced people like Mike Wooldrigde and other woodworking channels say, that raw linseed oil never really cures (besides that it would take ages to dry anyway). That's what lead me to use boiled linseed oil, without any driers that would probably leave a gummy surface during playing.

            It's interesting that you can recoomend raw oil, did it fully harden and how long took it to?

            I would absolutely love to use some dedicated products, but as I mentioned availability in Germany is a major concern here. Didn't find any sources where I could get such stuff. If I'd get my hands around Mike's Q-Gel and Q-Age, I would instantly order it. But no shops over here for that.


            About the grain fillers, I also tend to use oil-based, because it seems to be the traditional method. I'm also not sure about water-based combined with an oil finish, but some luthiers seem to use it. For the spray paint, I think the cue is to expensive to experiment with that 😅 But thanks for your reply

            Comment


            • #7
              This is a project you’re determined to do yourself? As it would be better to give it to someone experienced who has all the ingredients .

              Comment


              • #8
                The first couple of coats took about 4-6 hours to absorb, then the next couple I left for 24 hours. I sanded in between with 1200 grit wet and dry and it ended up glassy smooth, but with a little grain feel on the shaft. After it was done it took a couple of sessions to settle down, as a warm hand could raise a little oil from the wood. An occasional wipe down sorted that during play though.

                I've just refinished a recent cue I bought the same way, but only gave it 2 coats and didn't sand after the last one, so it may just depend on the cue.

                Ultimatley, there's only one way to know what you like, and that's to try it out. Could always get a bit of scrap ash to test finishes out on, before you try it on your brothers cue.
                Last edited by weepete; 28 September 2021, 10:12 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  If I ever use a raw linseed oil, once I feel the shaft is full of oil, the excess has been wiped clear and we have left it a good time to dry I will always burnish it to 'cook' the oil into the wood pores. This always help seal the oil in that bit extra for me and then once happy I'll cut it back so slightly with 0000 steel wool.
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                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally Posted by j6uk View Post
                    This is a project you’re determined to do yourself? As it would be better to give it to someone experienced who has all the ingredients .
                    Yeah for two reasons, first I love to learn new things and second, I couldn't find any known cuemaker in Germany whom I could give it to. To my knowledge they are all UK based and since Brexit, this could easily very costly with customs, delivery, etc.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally Posted by weepete View Post
                      The first couple of coats took about 4-6 hours to absorb, then the next couple I left for 24 hours. I sanded in between with 1200 grit wet and dry and it ended up glassy smooth, but with a little grain feel on the shaft. After it was done it took a couple of sessions to settle down, as a warm hand could raise a little oil from the wood. An occasional wipe down sorted that during play though.

                      I've just refinished a recent cue I bought the same way, but only gave it 2 coats and didn't sand after the last one, so it may just depend on the cue.

                      Ultimatley, there's only one way to know what you like, and that's to try it out. Could always get a bit of scrap ash to test finishes out on, before you try it on your brothers cue.
                      That actually sounds quite promising. I also had in mind to sand it (or buff it with steel wool) in between the coats. My question here would be, if the cue still feels a little tacky after wiping down the occasional excess, so after which time do you think it is perfectly playable?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally Posted by Shockerz View Post
                        If I ever use a raw linseed oil, once I feel the shaft is full of oil, the excess has been wiped clear and we have left it a good time to dry I will always burnish it to 'cook' the oil into the wood pores. This always help seal the oil in that bit extra for me and then once happy I'll cut it back so slightly with 0000 steel wool.
                        It sounds that raw linseed oil is not your favorite oil, may I ask what you like to use the most? That burnishing thing sounds like a good idea to me, very few oil for each coat, a lot of buffing, a lot of drying time.

                        What do you think of the Mylands oil I posted above, do you think it could be a good choice (no driers, but thicker and much faster drying times)?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          the ash on the Peradon is different to the other cue so could be difficult to achieve the same finish without sanding it right back, and that would open up a can of worms.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally Posted by j6uk View Post
                            the ash on the Peradon is different to the other cue so could be difficult to achieve the same finish without sanding it right back, and that would open up a can of worms.
                            So therefore I want to use a grain filler. My plan ist to first sand the cue down with 800 grit until the surface coat (oil finish) is gone, then clean the grain with steel wool and apply the grain filler. The residue will be wiped off and after a day of drying, the cue will be sanded again with first 800 grit and then 1200 grit, so only the grain is darkened and filled and the cue surface is smooth. After that, I'm gonna aplly the first oil coating, again wipe off the residue after 30-60min, let it dry and burnish it. This step will be repeated until the cue doesn't take any oil anymore (can take up to 5 coats from what I read, but has to be handled individually). After I'm done with all that, I will let the cue rest for some time for complete curing of the oil.

                            So the only question marks for me are here, if a water based grain filler works fine for that and if I should chose rather a raw or the mentioned hot-blown linseed oil. At the moment I'm considering the latter one with a water-based filler, since oil-based ones are difficult to get here.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally Posted by Shockerz View Post
                              If I ever use a raw linseed oil, once I feel the shaft is full of oil, the excess has been wiped clear and we have left it a good time to dry I will always burnish it to 'cook' the oil into the wood pores. This always help seal the oil in that bit extra for me and then once happy I'll cut it back so slightly with 0000 steel wool.
                              Hi Marc, glad you are still selling the Halo catches! Busted one the other day so ordered some from the website yesterday. Big saving on a new case!!
                              No cheap shots...well maybe the odd one if its funny...

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