Difference between Birchwood Casey "Tru-Oil" & "Sealer & Filler"

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by wpshooter, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. wpshooter

    wpshooter Member

    Jul 21, 2009
    Can anyone tell me if there is any "real / practical" different between the 2 products that Birchwood Casey sells, one is labeled as TRU-OIL and the other is labeled as SEALER & FILLER.

    I understand the intended purpose of each of them. I have read the instructions of the products regarding why and how they are to be used.

    I just am wondering if there is any reason why one should be used as opposed to the other in refinishing a gunstock.

    I have used both and the only difference that I can see is that the Tru-Oil seems to have quite a bit longer drying time.

    I have used both to refinish gunstocks.

    I have applied several coats of JUST/ONLY Tru-Oil & then again I have applied several coats of JUST/ONLY Sealer & Filler and to me the end results seem just the same.

    Am I missing something here or are these 2 products practically the same thing with one just being a bit thinner than the other ?

    If you put a little of each one in a small container could you tell which was which by looking at each ?

    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  2. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    Check out the MSDS sheets to see what they're made up of.

    Tru-Oil is a modified Linseed Oil finish...comprised of linseed oil, mineral spirits, and a polymerized linseed oil (erm...it's been plasticized or turned into a varnish-type finish)

    Sealer & Filler is a sanding sealer type of product. It's an alkyd varnish and not an oil finish at all. Basically, it's just varnish.

    an alkyd finish is not as weather-resistant or UV-resistant as a polyurethane or other plasticized finish.
    But it is cheaper to make and is easier to work with (easier sanding and faster dry time with less shrinkage)...thus why it is commonly used as undercoats such as sanding sealer to fill the grain.

    You may not notice the difference right away, but in the long run a Tru-Oil finish will outlast just using Sealer & Filler.

    It's the same as painting your car with $25/gallon alkyd enamel paint from the hardware store as opposed to using a Polyurethane enamel paint like a body shop will probably use.
    The alkyd will oxidize and fade faster than the Poly will.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012

  3. da357mag

    da357mag New Member

    Sep 26, 2009
    The filler as was mentioned is actually not good for anything I can think of!:eek: I have found the best way to fill the proes of walnut is use Tru-Oil in small sections soak it with the oil and use wet or dry sandpaper (about 320 grit) and sand in a circular motion to build a "slurry". After you get it to fill the pores, wipe the exess off across the grain. You don't have to worry about the roughness, you take care of that later anyway. That's the way I do it and I do it for a living!:) JMHO Doug
  4. wpshooter

    wpshooter Member

    Jul 21, 2009
    How do you take care of the roughness ?

  5. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    da is correct. When doing an oil finish, you don't want that sanding sealer underneath the oil since all it does is prevent the oil finish from penetrating the wood. Basically it turns your oil finish into a high-build varnish...it will just build up on the surface of the wood instead of soaking in, which is the advantage of using an oil finish to begin with.

    As da posted, wet-sand as you're applying the Tru-Oil (or whatever oil finish you're using) to make your own "filler" with oil and wood dust slurry. Once the pores are filled, set the wood aside to let it dry...and yes it'll take a few days. I usually wait a full week between coats at room temp. Some guys will accelerate the drying process but I don't like to to that since I don't have a nice heat/humidity controlled drying room to work with.
    After this step, if you've got any pores that aren't filled, repeat with the same grit. If just a few small voids, then you can move onto a finer grit.
    Next step is to repeat the oil/wet-sand process with a finer grit or with fine steel wool.
    I personally like to finish wet-sanding with up to 600 or 800 grit before I move onto a 4/0 (0000) steel wool.
    The very last step that I do after I've got a nice smooth oil finish is a wax-type top-coat finish. http://sport.birchwoodcasey.com/Fin...roductID=ec9c6e4d-c473-4714-9296-5fe9175b5e9b is the product in the Birchwood Casey line, but the one that I use is good old-fashioned floor wax like Johnson's Paste Wax (NOT their one-step wax).

    The waiting between coats to ensure the oil has had time to fully cure is the key to applying an oil finish...and is one of the main reasons that you don't see oil used as a primary finish as much any more. Varnish is faster and easier to apply.
  6. wpshooter

    wpshooter Member

    Jul 21, 2009
    While you are doing this process how are you "holding" the stock ?

    Do you have the stock hanging or are you doing all this while holding the stock in your hands and if so are you wearing gloves or are you just ignoring any runs / non-even places and smears that would be made by your hand(s) that is / are used to hold the stock while doing this operation ?

    Sounds like to me this could get pretty messy !!!

  7. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    Yup, for small pieces like gunstocks, you'll want to be holding the piece.
    When you're all done, the final step for each coat is to wipe it down with a lint-free rag. I do the wipedown after the piece is hanging to dry. (read on for handle/hanger tips)
    You don't want any runs when you're done.

    Depending on what type of stock you're working with you can fiddle up some kind of temporary handles that attach in non-exposed areas of the stock.
    I usually attach a chunk of wood to the butt end (where the recoil pad would be) on butt stocks.
    For shotgun fore-end wood, you can use a wooden dowel (wrapped with a rag and plastic to give you some "wedge" material) inserted where the action bar tube is normally installed.
    Basically, find non-exposed areas of your stock and brew up something to hang onto the stock with.

    Attaching a loop of wire to your temporary handles is a must too. That way you can hang up the piece while the finish cures without it touching anything and spotting the finish. After it's hanging, do the final wipe down to get rid of and smudges from your hands.

    Put down some plastic drop-cloth on your workbench.

    Wear disposable gloves. If you can find the nitrile rubber ones, they stand up really well to most wood finish products (and petroleum cleaning solvents too). You can usually find them at auto parts stores if you can't find em at the local home improvement store.
    Otherwise, just latex rubber dishwashing gloves will work fine too for short periods of time but keep an eye on them if they start getting spongy...they're about ready to start falling apart and will muck up your finish.
  8. wpshooter

    wpshooter Member

    Jul 21, 2009

    Thanks for the advice BUT I just tried doing a stock while holding it in my hands (with rubber gloves on) and wet-sanding the Tru-Oil into the grain of the wood and then wiping the stock after I was done applying the oil.

    I have to say this process is just as I had imagined. Leads to a BIG mess !!!

    Although the wet sanding of the Tru-Oil into the grain does seem to do a very good job of forcing the oil into the grain of the wood, holding the stock in your hands and then trying to wipe the excess oil off of the stock afterwards produces a stock that is filled with smudges from holding the stock in hands and also filled with tiny fibers from the attempt to wipe off the excess with the cloth.


    But I can tell you that the next time I start a stock, I am going to go back to my old way of doing it by hanging the stock so that I don't have to touch it in the process of applying the Tru-Oil and I am going to apply the Tru-Oil by my old tried and true method of putting the cotton ball inside a piece of ladies' stocking/hose and then just force the Tru-Oil into the grain of the stock by applying the oil in a circular motion with the cottonball/hose.

    What little difference there might be in the absorption of the Tru-Oil by doing it via wet-sanding method and applying with cotton ball is not worth the mess !!!

    I am just posting this to relate my experience for anyone that might be contemplating starting some gunstock refinishing projects. If they want to try the wet-sanding method more power to them but definitely not for me !!!

    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
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