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  1. #1
    Good Enough Kevin Dodds's Avatar
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    09.15.17 @ 08:03 AM
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    Default Finishing a bare unfinished maple neck

    So, I'm giving this guy that makes custom parts a chance -- he's got excellent feedback and the neck was reasonably priced, mainly because it is 100% unfinished.

    I like unfinished neck backs and headstocks, but obviously an unfinished fretboard isn't going to fly. Then I was thinking how in the effing hell am I going to finish this thing with the frets already on?!?!

    Here's the neck:



    So, using that new site called Google, I found that you're supposed to use Birchwood Casey Tru-oil and Birchwood Casey Gunstock Wax. First you apply the oil and wipe off the excess and then apply the wax and polish it up. Seems easy but several hours of labor, especially keeping the damn frets clean throughout the process (which I have read is extremely tricky and labor intensive).

    Has anyone here ever done this before? Please someone tell me you have and exactly what you did it and how to make sure I don't ruin the effing thing... This is for my Unchained replica.

    Help.

    KBD3

  2. #2
    Good Enough
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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Default

    I really really like the Minwax Wipe-On Poly (Satin) for necks. It comes in the old school metal squirt bottles. It's super easy to use, and feels almost like there is nothing on the neck at all -- it's never sticky or gummy whatsoever. It also doesn't yellow as much as many clear coats will do over time.

    You can easily apply it with the frets on -- just go right over them. I've done it many times, just make sure the finish isn't pooling next to the frets (which isn't hard to take care of at all, because you literally have to wipe the finish on with a rag, and it goes on super thin. It will wear off the frets in no time, and you'll probably never even notice it, because it doesn't stick to metal well in the first place.
    Last edited by mrjstudios; 05.01.14 at 01:21 AM.

  3. #3
    Forum Frontman Double Down's Avatar
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    11.17.17 @ 12:11 PM
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    Default

    +1


    I followed Mr. J's advice 8 months ago and couldn't be happier.
    .
    .
    .
    VH with Dave ('78-'84) - The best years....the "real" VH.
    VH with Sam ('86-'96) - Incredible era....."We have renamed this town 'New Halen!'.
    VH with Gary ('98) - Fucking disaster. WTF was that??
    VH with Wolf/Dave ('12-'15) - Amazing comeback. Smokin' album and tours.

  4. #4
    Good Enough 5150rob's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 10:55 AM
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mrjstudios View Post
    I really really like the Minwax Wipe-On Poly (Satin) for necks. It comes in the old school metal squirt bottles. It's super easy to use, and feels almost like there is nothing on the neck at all -- it's never sticky or gummy whatsoever. It also doesn't yellow as much as many clear coats will do over time.

    You can easily apply it with the frets on -- just go right over them. I've done it many times, just make sure the finish isn't pooling next to the frets (which isn't hard to take care of at all, because you literally have to wipe the finish on with a rag, and it goes on super thin. It will wear off the frets in no time, and you'll probably never even notice it, because it doesn't stick to metal well in the first place.
    100% agreed..... also I have used tongue oil in the past with a rag and just go right over the fretboard frets and all and as mrjstudios says just ensure there is no pooling. You'll be just fine, piece of cake. I have done this to many of my completed unfinished EVH style necks.

    Rob

  5. #5
    Eruption AFU's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 06:36 AM
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    Default

    I used Birchwood-Casey gunstock wax and oil on a Warmoth neck about 12 years ago. Looking at the guitar right now. Gave a nice clean feel to the neck. I did not put anything on the fretboard. I was trying to copy the feel of my EBMM Axis. I put some time into applying mine. But the factory videos I've seen using the same products, they apply it with a paper towel to the back of the neck. Wipe a couple times and done. I wouldn't apply any to the fretboard. If you insist, I wouldn't worry about getting anything on the fret wire. After drying tape the fret board and use super fine steel wool or any fret dressing product to polish the fret wire and remove any wax. Easier to tape the fret board after than to tape each individual fret wire before.

  6. #6
    Good Enough Kevin Dodds's Avatar
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    09.15.17 @ 08:03 AM
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    Default

    Awesome, thanks guys.

    KBD3

  7. #7
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    12.10.17 @ 10:38 AM
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    Default

    Formby's Tung Oil is sort've the standard for most people, but just about any manufacturer will do. I have other people apply the finish on my stuff because I just can't do finishing in or around my house and I like paying other people to do things I don't want to do...either my guitar painter/finishers in Beaumont (The Jagneaux Brothers) or Musikraft or whatever manufacturer. I really like the results-the neck is protected and it feels like bare wood. If you do it right, it should last a long time before you need to re-apply. I have the Tung Oil finish on my '78 Frankenstein and my black Musikraft/"Kramer" 5150 replica and they feel fantastic.

    On another point, I always wipe down my strings and necks when I reach the point of stopping playing for the day. I really wipe the finger gunk off of each fret space on the fingerboard and each string. It really helps the string life and the comfort of playing. When I was in high school, I used to change strings a lot...I mean A LOT! I would change whole sets of strings just because I really liked that snappy, bright tone that you get with brand new strings. I pissed away a lot of money like that for years. Then I started just using the same set until I break one and then I replace that one...completely the opposite of how I used to change strings. I've gone almost a year without breaking a string using the same set the whole time. Now sometimes I'll put completely fresh strings on for an important gig or a recording session to get that bright tone, but I'm OK with old strings on my guitars at home and for most times I get to play out.
    Last edited by garbeaj; 05.01.14 at 09:54 AM.

  8. #8
    Good Enough Kevin Dodds's Avatar
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    09.15.17 @ 08:03 AM
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    Default

    Sweet jumping Jesus on a pogo stick! It turned out awesome!

    I hope the photos show it good enough, but it has such a beautiful clean satin sheen on it now -- it looks and feels great! I put three coats on, brushed it with steel wool between each coat, and let each coat dry for 2 hours.

    This is THE product!


    Fret board.


    Back of the neck -- it looks soooooo good.


    Thanks to Mr. J specifically (I owe you a J...) and everyone else for helping out. I have pretty much every single thing I need to put together my Unchained Guitar replica now. Should be a fun weekend!

    KBD3

  9. #9
    Good Enough
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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Dodds View Post
    Sweet jumping Jesus on a pogo stick! It turned out awesome!

    I hope the photos show it good enough, but it has such a beautiful clean satin sheen on it now -- it looks and feels great! I put three coats on, brushed it with steel wool between each coat, and let each coat dry for 2 hours.

    This is THE product!


    Fret board.


    Back of the neck -- it looks soooooo good.


    Thanks to Mr. J specifically (I owe you a J...) and everyone else for helping out. I have pretty much every single thing I need to put together my Unchained Guitar replica now. Should be a fun weekend!

    KBD3

    Yep, that's the stuff! I usually do 2-3 coats of it as well, and the steel wool will get it feeling as smooth as an unfinished neck. In 3-5 years if it gets dirty, you can simply steel wool it again, and optionally put on another coat (I've never needed to do the extra coat.)

  10. #10
    Atomic Punk RRvh1's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 04:53 PM
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    Premium Member

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mrjstudios View Post
    Yep, that's the stuff! I usually do 2-3 coats of it as well, and the steel wool will get it feeling as smooth as an unfinished neck. In 3-5 years if it gets dirty, you can simply steel wool it again, and optionally put on another coat (I've never needed to do the extra coat.)
    Hey , mrj !

    I just clicked on your Youtube link and watched your 'Tattoo' cover . Great job , man . Holy - that sounded really cool

    What was the unfinished/natural guitar you were using ?
    "There's too many people on this basketball that's floating around the sun, who are too afraid to allow themselves to FEEL" - Edward Van Halen
    "Van Halen was never about the singer..." - a very wise fan.
    "Embrace the past. Live in the moment but keep your eyes on the future, and keep on moving forward..." - Richie Sambora

 

 

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