Neck finishing

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Lou Bottini, Feb 24, 2017.

  1. Lou Bottini

    Lou Bottini

    Feb 25, 2004
    I purchased a replacement neck for a P style bass unfinished maple/maple. I want to finish it with a dark vintage amber tint in nitro. My question is: Do you spray over the frets, try to mask the frets off or somehow polish the frets after spraying?

    This an inexpensive neck going on an old ash Mexican P body that is nicely aged . Ideas and help are appreciated.
  2. Jebberz

    Jebberz Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2012
    Quebec city
    At Warmoth, they spray over the frets.The frets will polish themselves when playing, or you can shoose to do the polishing by yourself
  3. SLivinghouse

    SLivinghouse Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Meadow Vista, CA
    I see a lot of folks mask. Look through the builds. Fretboards are masked since removing the finish would be much more work that masking it.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  4. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Ric bass necks are oversprayed with the same clearcoat on the bodies, then they just level the fret tops to flat with no attempt to crown them. The "ramps" of laquer either side of the frets sometimes separate leaving a cloudy line along the frets. In your shoes, id finish the back and headstock with satin poly and use something like Stewmac Fingerboard Oil, which is basically a penetrating oil with driers so it hardens. That would give you some fingerboard protection without gunking up the frets. I suppose you could mask each individual fret with fineline masking tape, sounds like a PITA.
  5. Lou Bottini

    Lou Bottini

    Feb 25, 2004
    Thanks for the replies guys. Rookie questions I know.
    What I'm trying to accomplish is a yellowed finish on the fingerboard as well as the back of the neck and headstock similar to a '57 reissue Fender P. I thought most maple fretboards have a finish on them not just oil ala rosewood. No?
    I suppose I could tint an oil to look yellowed. What oil and tint with what?
  6. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Stewmac Colortone "Vintage Amber" can be used to stain the neck, then the whole thing coated with Tru-Oil, that's a stupid-easy finish that's reasonably durable and repeatable. If it ever wears thin, you just re-apply over whats already there. You could do the whole neck with it, the act of wiping off the excess will take it off the frets. You can do repeated coats until it gets up to the shine level you want, the more coats, the shinier.

    Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil® Gun Stock Finish : Cabela's
    Here's a discussion of the technique:
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2017
  7. Lou Bottini

    Lou Bottini

    Feb 25, 2004
    This is great. Thanks.
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
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