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Sanding previous black finish off of maple headstock

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Ninja>Pirate, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. I'm currently assembling a P-bass project and the previous owner of this warmoth neck painted the headstock black. I'm trying to return it to natural but after stripping most of it I noticed some black stripes still in the grain, and especially some black dots that look like they are semi-deep in the grain where the neck ends and the headstock begins.

    Should I just keep sanding and hope for the best? Any advice on removing this with a chemical?

    If you're curious I posted a picture of the body, which is ash with a p-bass pickup and a thundertron in the bridge (should be interesting). I managed to route the thundertron's cavity with a drill press, a chisel and a dremel, it took allot of time but got good results. It's currently being painted Ocean Turquoise at the bodyshop.

    Attached Files:

  2. Praxist


    May 28, 2010
    British Columbia
    I don't have an answer for your question but i have a question of my own! what is the string spacing for the thundertron? It looks too narrow for the spacing of your bridge in that photo. But I'm a noob and don't really know what I'm talking about!
  3. You'll have to decide if thinning the headstock sufficiently to eliminate those marks is what you can live with.

    Have you considered a vernier? Oxalic acid MIGHT help - but it's not a positive.
  4. I've got another 2mm to sand to make it the same thickness as my USA fender so I think I'm good for sanding it that much more. I'll try that oxilic acid.

    About the string spacing it is not bad but it would be best in the neck position further up. I'm not a stickler for perfect string spacing on pickups.
  5. When/if you buy the oxalic acid, get the powdered version as the liquid doesn't have the same efficacy. It will be called Wood Bleach. Using rubber gloves is always a good idea, but I've never had any troubles with it on my hands.

    Just don't inhale the dust of either the oxalic acid powder or when you sand it later on.
  6. Thanks for the tip surfer joe but I didn't have any luck finding that, I did try some poly stripper but it didn't bring the paint out of the grain to the surface, luckily it didn't harm the wood either.

    The majority of the black in the grain on the surface I got out with elbow grease, tonnes of sanding and eventually it went away, probably 1mm or 2 of material removed. I think I may have to just live with the black dots where the end grain is exposed.

    For the finish I'm going to strip it all down and use minwax oil based golden oak stain on it to give a bit of a vintage tint to the maple, then apply tru-oil with japan dryer. I've used tru-oil before and I love the feel.
  7. Ooops, forgot update picture.

    Attached Files:

  8. I just noticed: Canada. The product may not be sold there.

    Did you try your local 'chemist' which we call drug store? They will sometimes sell oddball chemicals to you if you don't look like a mad underwear bomber.

    I've been able to purchase reagent quality potassium permanganate that way as a medical intervention for my tropical fish. Potassium permanganate is a fast oxidizer, so they really have to know you.

    How dark is your final color going to be? It may not matter that there are small black spots.


    And please tell me that you used a sanding block and not your hand/fingers.

    Have you thought about binding the edges on the head?
  9. Haha of course I used a sanding block, one almost as big as the headstock itself, The surface is perfectly flat, except for the curved part where the fretboard starts.
  10. For anyone interested this is how the bass turned out, I'm pretty happy, plays great buuuuuuuut if it was a perfect world I would have:
    -taken a biiiiiiit more off the back of the neck, I like slender necks, but I took off 2-3mm which was all I was comfortable taking off not knowing the depth of the trus rod cavity and got it close to the thickness of my favorite highway 1 p-bass
    -I may be replacing the thundertron with something else in the future, maybe a ric humbucker, not thrilled with the sound.

    Attached Files:

  11. I used tru-oil after first using some minwax golden oak stain to bring out some vintage looking color. It really brought out some beautiful flame in the maple that wasn't showing before.

    Question: Tortoise shell pickguard? I'm contemplating it.

    Attached Files:

  12. Really turned out great. Congratz
  13. Oh yeah. Dat's nice!
  14. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    That's a pretty bass indeed. I really wonder how the ThunderTron sounds in that position. Will you be recording it soon?
  15. I did some recordings trying to minimize the impact of anything but the bass's sound. This is recorded directly into a Mbox 2 Mini with no compression or eq. the thundertron is in the bridge position 67mm away from where the string makes contact with the bridge and is only roughly 4k ohms, so is quieter than the pbass pickup, which is a vintage vibe.

    Any other questions let me know (I know the bass playing isn't mind blowing but I just wanted to play simple riffs that utilized different areas of the bass)

    Attached Files:

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