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Neck Finishes? Help if you know please...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Johnny Fila, Feb 22, 2005.

  1. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader" Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    I just got 3 necks in from USA Custom Guitars and I need to finish the necks so that I amy start using them (of course).
    Any recommendations as to the best way to do this myself?
  2. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    I like oil myself, but I can't always use it. Shellac is, from what I've been told (by the most learned tech at an acclaimed guitar shop a few blocks from my house), the best. Better than Danish oil, better than nitrocellulose, better than cynoacrylate (sp), etc.
  3. I used a couple of coats of tung oil on the neck that I got from Carvin. It makes for a very smooth finish.
  4. When you purchase a Warmoth neck, the warranty won't be honored unless it is finished with a hard shell finish like nitro or poly. The reason given is that this is the only way to keep the neck sealed from the elements and the climatic changes that can give it problems. Warmoth doesn't say oil is bad - just that they can't guarantee the neck several years down the road if it doesn't have such a finish.

    I tend to agree with this.

    I use oil on the backs of my most of my necks for feel and ease of finish and with that decision, I accept that I might have some issues in the future with neck stability. Depending on the style of bass, I have also put clear poly coatings on and I am just as happy with that as the oil. It all depends on what moves me at the time. You should just be aware of the possiblility of a problem if the neck wood happens to be sensitive to moisture so that it twists or bows later.
  5. Try a wipe on polyurethane. I used Minwax brand satin finish poly on my Warmoth neck and it wasn't difficult. It protects better than oil, although for feel, it's hard to beat an oil finish.

    These are bolt on necks. If it was me, I'd finish them with Tru Oil or tung oil and replace them down the road if there was a problem.
  6. www.reranch.com for the nitro amber or clear coat rattle cans. Deft wood finish from the HOme Despot produces good results when used as a light coat on maple necks. I like a very thin finish that allows the wood to "feel" through and these work well for that.

    if you use nitrocellulose just use acetone to remove overspray from fingerboard rather than deal with taping.
  7. It might not be great for protecting your bass from the elements, but the wax feel of a stingray is just... ahhh.... hmmm, sorry i think i need to go freshen up... :D ... :eyebrow: ...well... it's darn nice on the hands...
  8. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    Once again, I'll buck the trend. I used to like oil finish necks until I got my Status Retro-Active "J". Rob Green puts a thick, highly polished finish on his graphite necks and I love the feel. I'm doing all my necks in a similar fashion, using catalyzed lacquer. With some Mother's California Gold on there, they're is nothing like it. Yummy.
  9. I second the Minwax wipe-on poly. Wipe it on, let dry, and then rub it down with 0000 steel wool. Do this several times and you will have a silky smooth finish.
  10. bwbass


    May 6, 2002
    My favorite DIY neck finish is Petri gel polyurethane. Goes on like paste wax with a paper towel, and no sanding required -just a little 0000 steel wool. You can get it from specialty woodworking or woodturning suppliers.

    blipndub: Hey, I'm in OlyWA too! So you play in a band with Bill Nash? Small world, eh? :)
  11. I'm going out on a limb and saying Brian's got the upper hand on finishing these necks!

    Yeah I play with Bill and help out around the shop a few hours a week. I met him about three years ago looking for teles on ebay, turns out he lives three blocks from me! So we became good friends.

    We're getting geared up for summer gigs (as in a new Taylor for our singer Chris Curtis, a Sterling for me and Bill's building 72 Custom from you guys) - you play around town?

  12. bwbass


    May 6, 2002
    Not really - I used to be the sit-in "session" guy at the Matrix open mike down in Chehalis, but not much lately. I'll have to check you guys out next time you're playing!
  13. Brian,
    On the warmoth bass necks, what do you guys recommend for pickguards? Do you cut pickguards to accomodate the fret extention?
  14. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader" Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    I think that sounds best so far.
    BTW Brian thanks for helping me out with the Gecko.
    I also just bought another jazz body from you guys. I think it weighs about 120 lbs, but I can handle it. :p
  15. bwbass


    May 6, 2002
    With a 5/8" deep pocket like our bodies have, there's 1/8" between the bottom of the fretboard and the top of the body, so the pickguard goes right under it - no cutting required (or offered). If your pocket's deeer than that, you might have to dremel out a square for the fingerboard to rest in, or go with a 20-fret (non-extended) fingerboard.
    NovusOrdo: Your body is a brick, but it will sound great! The birdseye's cooler in person, too. Just check if your medical covers chiropractic work... :)
  16. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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