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Sanding/refinishing neck for 1st time. Advice welcome.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by GlassToMouth, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. My main axe since 96 has been a USA Hamer Cruise 4 2TEK that's seen a few mods over the years. I lived a pretty GAS free life up until the past year or so. It's still got 'dat tone' that I love, but the satin/matte feel of the necks of my other basses I've acquired recently have really opened my eyes to such comfort in a neck. In short, I intend to sand the poly coat off the back of the neck. I plan to start with about a 600 grit to take off the coat, then switch to a 1000 or so grit for the final touches. I don't care too much about resale. I plan on taping near the nut and at the heel to create clean lines. Any advice for a simple, yet somewhat reliable sealing/oil option to maintain the smooth feel? Any and all input is welcome.
  2. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    Have you tried just hitting it with a Scotchbrite pad? That will give you a deglossed look and feel without a need to refinish! Just don't totally remove the original poly. As you are planning a total refinish anyway, there's nothing to lose by trying this first!
  3. I have thought about the Scotchbrite pad method. However, I do wish to remove the entire poly finish since there are a few dings and dents in the back of the neck I also want to address.
  4. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Scothbrite method leaves a lot to be desired, I wouldn't bother with it.

    Here is a thread where I asked for help, I go over what I did at the end. It is just easier than re-typing everything.

    Hope that helps.

    If you are planning on removing dings and dents from the neck, be careful. You may end up re-shaping the neck. I personally wouldn't do it.
    GlassToMouth likes this.
  5. Thank you very much. I did some keyword searching, but never came across the thread you posted. Much appreciated. I plan on keeping the neck on the body during this process, but will tape and trash bag accordingly. Maybe I'm just hesitant to remove a neck out of fear for not getting it back on correctly. I plan to try and take plenty of photos before, during, and after.
  6. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    You do not have to but I would highly recommend you remove the neck. If you are capable of removing a finish, you have the handy skills to align some screw holes.
    GlassToMouth and Joedog like this.
  7. bass_case

    bass_case Maintain low tones. Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Miami, FL
    Take the neck off, having the body attached would be a pain.

    Once you get the finish off, any of the standard oil finishes will work. All are based on either boiled linseed oil (BLO) or tung oil. Tru oil gets a lot of love on TB. I haven't tried it yet but have used several different BLO-based finishes. Most have some type of varnish and other stuff -- the companies are very secretive about their special recipes. Also, some contain stains if you want to go that route. I have used:
    Generic BLO
    Watco Danish Oil (BLO based)
    Watco Teak Oil (same as Danish oil but with UV protection)

    I like the Watco stuff, but there are many others. Note that many so-called tung oil finishes do not actually contain tung oil.

    You can find a lot of good oil finish info on woodworking sites. Oil finishes are very forgiving and easy to repair. However, they are not impervious to moisture like poly or nitro, and give little if any impact protection.

    I got good results with multiple wet-sandings using finer and finer grades of sandpaper. It's a slow process but worth it.
    GlassToMouth likes this.
  8. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    This. It's not even close to rocket science. Refinishing a neck while on the bass is illogical, and has its own set of problems, that will almost assuredly diminish the quality of the finished product. I am a fan of oil finish WITH sealer(s). plenty to choose from. I make my own blend of about 90% oil, 10% poly. Multiple hand rubbed coats. 20 years and going strong on my oldest bass. I've recoated a time or two (easy as pie). I admit, I HAVE lightly rubbed the neck a few times w/green scotchbrite. Nothing but goodness as a result.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
    GlassToMouth likes this.
  9. Excellent advice and info everyone. I'll heed your words and remove the neck before sanding anything. Plus, more parts on the table feed my tinkering addiction. And good tip on some of the 'tung oil finishes' not containing any actual tung oil. I've already read some rants on those products. Minwax and others are guilty of this.
  10. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Then the Scotchbrite is the way to go. I've received more than a couple of used basses with pits, pocks, indents...you know, the stuff that makes it feel like a washboard. I hate it when people insist upon leaning their instruments against amps, chairs, table tops, etc. Steel wool can be a pain because the spoil is hard to contain and poses a threat to the pickups and elex unless isolated (saran wrap, tape, whatever). It's also a little too easy sometimes to remove too much finish in certain areas and not enough in others. I swipe well-used Scotchbrite pad from the kitchen sink...my wife wonders where they disappeared to...as they're better-suited when conforming to the shape of the neck. They remove a relatively small amt of the finish when compared to steel wool so the project can be time consuming. On the plus side, I found the final results to be more consistent in appearance top-to-bottom while effectively reducing the blems to the point of being virtually inconspicuous. Here's the best part: the materials are cheap (...free if you live at my house) and, if not happy with the progress, you still have the option of removing the entire finish by more aggressive means.

  11. I started last night. Took off most of the poly coat with 200 grit sand paper, moved to 600, then finished with 1000. Probably going overboard on cleanliness and particle removal. I used Watco Danish Oil. I chose the Golden Oak variety since I felt that a golden, yellowish tinge would be attractive in contrast to the body's tobacco sunburst. I'm very pleased with the smoothing out of most nicks, peels, and scuffs. Certainly felt like a great satin, natural feel like on my Brubaker Brute and Peavey Grind. I hope the danish oil preserves this feel.

    I had fun doing this! I might do my Hamer Slammer SBF4 that I string piccolo. I don't ever intend to sell yet it sees little playing time. I just don't ever think I can play a glossy neck again after seeing the light of satin.


    This is the biggest issue I wanted to address. I felt like a pothole in the neck even though it was quite shallow and small. It's completely vanished now.


    I promise I didn't mix the Watco and Narragansett Lager, however they both played a part in this endeavor.

    DiabolusInMusic likes this.
  12. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 18, 2021

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