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Refinishing the back of a neck

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by fenderx55, Nov 4, 2005.

  1. fenderx55


    Jan 15, 2005
    Hey, I love my MIA J alot. ALOT. However, finish on the back of the neck is kinda sticky; is there a way to sand it and then refinish it so it's still protected?

  2. keyboardguy

    keyboardguy Supporting Member

    May 11, 2005

    You could sand it down, then do a final sanding with 0000 steel wool. (the more zeros' the finer the steel wool.)

    Then get Minwax tung oil. Tung oil will soak into the wood, but leave a very smooth satin finish. I've finished 3 Carvin basses with the tung oil and its' smooth as a babys behind.

    To apply, liberally put the tung oil on a piece of paper towel and let it sit for about 5 minutes NO MORE. If you wait longer the tung oil will turn into a honey consistancy and makes it hard to wipe off.

    So apply tung oil, wait 5 minutes, use a soft cloth to wipe off the excess. I usually put on 2 coats a day with 5-7 hours between coats. You only need to sand with the steel wool before the first coat of the day; none needed between the 2 coats.

    Total 5-8 coats

  3. shameandspite


    Oct 12, 2005
    Tung oil is a drying oil, and is made to be flooded on to the wood. I'm not saying dip the neck, but you'll need a bit more than a paper towel, use a soft absorbent cloth and apply liberally, very liberally, you shouldn't have a problem with over-applying. After 10 minutes or so on the piece or after it wont smudge, wipe up all the excess and buff like mad. Some woodworkers prefer to actually sand the oils in to help fill crevises better because its an oil and not a shellac or wax, the advantages bieng a smoother slicker surface. Not to mention a high abuse area like the back of a neck finished with oil will gain a certain amount of finish from sebaceous oil, or the secretions from your skin worked in with friction. With time, the neck should only improve. I totally agree on using the tung oil though. Just make sure it's not tinted, some oils (almost always boiled linseed, but tung differs by brand. Minwax is usually trustworthy) have the nasty side effet of turning light woods urine yellow. Found that out after a two hour sanding process on a lathe. Ended up just french polishing it, after another two hours of fine sanding.

    As for the finish getting sticky, I had the same thing happen to an antique cello of mine, which consequently I'm terrified to have refinished because I dont know exactly what that'll do to the tone, take care of your hands. Wash them before you play, Make sure they're always dry when you play. I keep a hankerchief in my back pocket to dry my hands. And wipe down your instrument after you play. It takes five seconds and will save you the predicament I'm in.
  4. when you say sticky, do you mean the finish is actually gummy, or is it that the finish is high gloss and your hands stick to it cause they are getting a bit sweaty.

    I guess you mean its a high gloss neck, there is no need to remove all the finsh in this case. All you need to do is 'satinize' the neck gently with the 0000 wire wool and some briwax (prepared beeswax). Knocking the gloss off the finish should solve the problem. The disadvantage of this is that it may need redoing every so often as your hands naturaly buff the neck. The advantage is that you can always buff the neck back to high gloss if you need to sell the bass. This is a good method if you have a bass that you dont want to harm the value of.

    If you have a bare wood neck the oil method works really well, in fact its my favorite neck finish. But i dont like doing it on already lacquered necks, stripping the finish in a PITA. You dont want to accidently sand the neck into a new shape.

    Anyway, if you do have a barewood neck you need finishing, this is my method.

    1. sand the neck to 600 grit
    2. Liberally apply oil (i use danish oil cause i cant get hold off tru-oil in the UK, tru-oil is higher gloss) and let soak for 5 mins
    3. wipe off excess and leave overnight
    4. Wetsand with oil and 800 grit paper, wipe off excess and buff
    5. Repeat with 1000 and 1200 grit paper wetasnding with oil. (the neck should be really smooth by now). Leave overnight
    6. apply briwax to the neck using 0000 steel wool, repeat as neccisary
    7. Buff, buff, buff

    By the end of the process the wood should look gorgeous and feel extremely slick, its a much more tactile/fast neck.

    This finish also needs abit more upkeep than a lacquer, its worth re-waxing once a year to prevent the wood becoming to dry.
  5. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Sadowsky uses 200 grit on the back of his necks to acheive the satin finish.
  6. shameandspite


    Oct 12, 2005
    Yeah, I guess that is a clarification we'll need. I assumed that the finish was in dire condition and slowly coming off on your fingers. Is the finish actually stripping down, or is it just not slick enough for you. I never really though of it that way.
  7. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Yes it's worth a try.
    Just using 200 or 400 grit to turn the finish to satin.