Neck Sanding - I Didn't Think This Through

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by PiezoMan, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. PiezoMan

    PiezoMan Strat-O-Master

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    A couple years ago I decided to build a strat, because I couldn't afford one. I started off with a loaded CS 60's body from ebay, then a couple months later I got an MIA neck with maple fretboard.

    When I got the neck, I noticed something disappointing. The finish at the back was cracked along the skunk stripe. This means some clown messed with the rod too much, then returned it when they cracked the finish. Case closed on how it ended up parted out on ebay. I live in Trinidad & Tobago so returns are a drag and I decided to keep it. I built a Classic Player 60's after, and that became my main.

    Two weeks ago I decided to give the first strat some love and make it a joy to play. The bridge had no bar, and an aftermarket bar cross threaded the block ( I can be a clown too). I decided to change the bridge and electronics, as well as sand the neck.

    I sanded the neck with 120, then 300, then 400. The crack's almost gone and the neck feels great so far, but I'll be going higher (higher grit was out of stock atm).

    But I didn't think about what to put on the back of the neck after sanding. Do I rub something on it, or leave it bare. Bare in mind, I'm on a tropical Island so I don't get the usual weather conditions you guys put up with. I don't want to spray any finish on it to get it sticky again.
     

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  2. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Senior Stratmaster

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    I don't know what you have available where you live, but there are wipe on urethane products that you can apply.
    You can apply just enough to seal the wood.
     
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  3. EAllen

    EAllen Strat-Talker

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    Leaving it bare will not end well over years. Even if you use an oil of some sort it needs to be sealed to avoid issues down the road.

    Eric
     
  4. telepraise

    telepraise Strat-Talker

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    How does it feel bare after sanding to 400? If you like the feel, just play it. Did you sand all the way through the finish? If you don't care how it looks, just leave it bare. If you want to seal the wood so it doesn't pick up dirt or sweat, there are lots of choices. If you put on a finish that gets hard, sanding to 1000 grit will leave that silky feeling. If you go much higher, it won't be long before your hand burnishes a sheen (which can get sticky in your island climate).
     
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  5. PiezoMan

    PiezoMan Strat-O-Master

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    If it's available on amazon, I can get them. I'll look into it. I just ordered some 0000 steel wool and a fret polishing kit, neither available locally.

    This is what I was wondering. I have Dunlop Lemon oil. Will that be sufficient? I use it on rosewood boards, but not sure how much maple would absorb it

    The finish is almost gone, but there's still a little bit of the crack. I may start over. How it feels and sounds is more important to me than the looks. So far it feels like the easiest neck to move around on. I may do it to the Classic Player after lol.

    By the way guys, I didn't mention it before. I adjusted the truss rod and it works
     
  6. tschucha

    tschucha Strat-O-Master

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    This - https://www.lowes.com/pd/Minwax-8-fl-oz-Satin-Oil-based-Polyurethane/999914535 or one of these - https://www.minwax.com/wood-products/one-step-stain-and-finishes/minwax-polyshades

    Or any other polyurethane finishes. They have these with various tints and in semi-gloss and gloss if you prefer but any of these are easy to use and give fine results. I'll sand the neck down to a very smooth 320 grit and wipe on a thin coat with a clean rag. Let it dry and repeat as many times as makes you happy. 4-6 coats usually does it for me. Sand it every couple of coats. When I think it's ready I let it sit for a few days, maybe even a week if I'm not in a hurry and then sand it with 600/800/1000/1200 and 1500 grit. Necks finished like this play better than anything else I've played. It feels like you are playing on bare wood but better.

    Being in a warm and humid environment take your time between coats.

    Good luck.
     
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  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    Avoid steel wool around electric guitars. Just as easy to use high grit sandpaper on the frets (800, 1200, 2000 to polish) and they you don't leave debris scattered around that the magnetic pickups vacuum up. Those steel chips work into an older pickup and short them out. There are a lot of tough guys out there that have used steel wool for years 'and never had a problem!' but they were just lucky. Probability theory says you should keep the steel wool to refinish the book shelves not scrub on your fine guitar.

    Rub-on tung oil, tru-oil, or polyurethane should all work fine for you. Experiment with the products and your application technique on scrap wood first.

    The trick to having a smooth non-sticky neck (after avoiding any 'nitro') is sand with 800 grit until a satin feel is obtained in the clear finish coat you have on the guitar. If you play it so much you polish it smooth and sticky again, just go along with the 800 grit again at that time.

    .
     
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  8. EAllen

    EAllen Strat-Talker

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    Jvin248 is right on tungoil, true oil, poly. When I say oil I mean a type that seals the surface.

    Nitro also makes an excellent neck finish unless it is piled on like it often is and solvent gets entrapped resulting in becoming sticky over time.

    Second staying away from steel wool.

    Eric
     
  9. Cerb

    Cerb Anti conformist reformist Strat-Talk Supporter

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  10. rockon1

    rockon1 Strat-O-Master

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    Minwax tung oil works well and is easy. Really just a varnish. Wipe on a couple coats and hit it with light abrasive(scotchbrite, steel wool, 600 paper for a satin finish. Or a couple more coats for gloss.
     
  11. Believer7713

    Believer7713 The Pink Bunny Frankenstein Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I just got done doing the same thing to repair a dent in the back of the neck. I use, and have great luck with Fromby's Tung Oil Finish. Here is the one that I just finished.
    [​IMG]
    3 coats and when it is dry it will feel like a bare wood neck and never get sticky. Only takes 12 hours between coats and I like to wait 24 hours after the final coat before hitting it with 0000 steel wool very lightly.
     
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  12. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

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    ill tell you how i finish the back of a neck fast and efficient:Take very thin superglue, dub a few drops in a paper towel folded in four and run it in the back of the neck(since you have already sanded the thing).Thats one coat.Dries almost instantly...after 5 or 6 of them..level it with 400.....after that stage each time you put another coat you ll start build a nice finish film.....when you are happy level it again with 800 and then something around 1500 or 2000 grit and you are done...in one afternoon.Use some polishing compound or wax for the final touch if you want;).

    The nice thing about it is you can go all glossy and shiny with it..or stop earlier and have the neck feeling like natural wood almost but protected....you can also check it very quickly since coats are curing fast by running your hand up and down and judging when its time to call it good.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
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  13. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    If using steel wool, either cover the pickups with masking tape, or better yet, use it on the neck while the guitar body is in a different room.

    In your warm humid climate you need the wood sealed. I'd use a wipe on poly. Or order Tru Oil.
     
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  14. integra evan

    integra evan Strat-O-Master

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    Get some Tru Oil and apply a few thin light coats. Do not use steel wool
     
  15. rockon1

    rockon1 Strat-O-Master

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    Minwax, Frombys, tru oil pretty much the same stuff I believe. I know Fromby and Minwax are. Fromby sold out to Minwax.
    Yeah steel wool is last choice. Fine grade scotchbrite is my choice, second paper and in a pinch steel wool.
     
  16. mistermikev

    mistermikev Strat-Talker

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    I'm going to second tru oil for the 5th time. some folks say it doesn't protect well over time but I've seen plenty of guns that have been out in weather a lot and it has held up fine. love the feel of it. I've read that this is what music man uses so... seems to work for them. note that if you pile it on your will eventually get sticky just like any other finish. fortunately tru oil builds up slowly even on maple.
    also - PICS PLEASE!
     
  17. rockon1

    rockon1 Strat-O-Master

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    20191109_150820.jpg

    Minwax "Tung oil" (frombys) 5 coats for high gloss
     
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  18. Will Lefeurve

    Will Lefeurve Most Honored Senior Member

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    Not going to add to what all the guys have said above.. just make sure you seal it with something. Bare wood absorbs moisture. Not good. Also further down the road the neck will become sticky, and that's the last thing you want.. :thumb:
     
  19. jaxjaxon

    jaxjaxon Strat-O-Master

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    I my self use tung oil but it takes longer to cure than Tru oil or Danish oil.
     
  20. PiezoMan

    PiezoMan Strat-O-Master

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    I also ordered an MIA performer loaded pickguard to throw in, so in light of this new advice, Ill just pull out the current guard with pups if any steel wool is to go near the guitar.


    A quick update. I THOUGHT the finish was gone, but when I reached the 800, I noticed a pale spot. The finish was only gone there lol. So I'll start over at 180 (need more sheets) and work my way back again.

    I'll look for the tung oil or tru-oil to apply.

    It's not jungle level humid here, but I'll still be cautious and move the guitar to my bedroom, where the ac's on a lot.

    Thanks for all the replies guys. I can't wait to see the finished product.