43 yr. old maple/maple neck - removing finish from fret board,

Steve_Karl

Senior member
Messages
1,626
Greetings all,
I just acquired an other '80s G&L F-100 II. 1980 to be exact.
It's my second one. My first is a 1981 and I bought it new from a store.
I removed the finish from the fret board of my first one about 30 yrs. ago and it's been fine like that, but back then I had no idea
that maple was supposed to be finished to keep the moisture out.
The reason I removed the finish on the fret board of the first one was that I didn't like that it tended to feel sticky / grabby when sliding.

So, I'm doing the same on the new (new to me) new one. I have 11 more spaces to go to be dome with the process.
I'm scraping with a pen knife and then going over it with 320 grit. There was a lot of checking and some raw wood spots and dirt,
especially at the edges. I've gotten the dirty parts off and am giving it a slight round over in the process. It's getting a very slight scallop in the process also.

But ...
The real question is - Should I be worried about leaving the fret board unfinished?

As I said, my first one has been unfinished maple on the fret board for about 30 years and not one issue.
It's a very stable neck - but did I just get lucky on that, or have these necks, being so old, just become stable enough to exist without a finish on the fret board?

Any thoughts are welcome.

I'll have some pictures up once I get this fret board totally cleaned off.
 

Steve_Karl

Senior member
Messages
1,626
Yea.
I might do a test on the very highest part right about the top fret with some Minwax Satin wipe on poly.
Put it on with a Q=tip or small brush.
I still have 11 spaces to scrape.
 

Street Avenger

Senior member
Messages
2,250
I'd use acetone to remove the old finish, and then do several coats of Tru-Oil. Then scuff to a satin finish.
It's never sticky.
 

Steve_Karl

Senior member
Messages
1,626
Update: All done.
The knife worked great! As I developed more technique I went from scraping - to shaving / carving ... somewhat like peeling the skin from an apple.
I took a bit of maple off here and there but after a bit of sanding with 320 grit 3M precision it all got really smooth.
And the Minwax Wipe-On Poly Satin - I love it. So easy. Just did 2 coats.
I then dressed the fret ends a bit - getting rid of some grabby sharp edges.
I then satined the back of the neck with a grey (about 1000 grit) Scotchbrite. - It's ok but still a bit grabby compared to a raw wood neck.

I also ungraded the tuners to Schaller mini locking.
Replaced the wang bar socket and got a new bar also. The newer socket and the slip in bar are nice. There's a tension adjustment screw with a nylon plug in it. Almost as good as a Wilkinson Vs-100.
I'm using 2 springs and .009s on this one and so far it's close enough for R&R.

Here's the photo gallery of the process.
 
Last edited:

DuckBaloo

Senior member
Messages
299
I'd use acetone to remove the old finish, and then do several coats of Tru-Oil. Then scuff to a satin finish.
It's never sticky.

Just a word of caution for future lurkers. Acetone, and other solvents, can melt dot markers/inlays (and binding when present).
 

Steve_Karl

Senior member
Messages
1,626
Acetone would also be nearly impossible to keep from running off onto the sides of the neck and would probably also melt any tape off, done for protection, and also melt the finish creating a bond between tape and melted finish.
 

Street Avenger

Senior member
Messages
2,250
I've used acetone to remove the finish from the back of a Fender HM Strat neck (not the fretboard, which was rosewood) without any problems. I don't seehow it could "run off" on to anything since it would be applied to a cloth and not poured onto the neck.
 

DuckBaloo

Senior member
Messages
299
I've used acetone to remove the finish from the back of a Fender HM Strat neck (not the fretboard, which was rosewood) without any problems. I don't seehow it could "run off" on to anything since it would be applied to a cloth and not poured onto the neck.
I believe the OP was keeping the finish intact on the peghead and back of the guitar, and only wanted to refinish the fretboard.
 

DuckBaloo

Senior member
Messages
299
Exactly. And also not wanting to inhale fumes and deal with any liquids.

Looks like you picked the wrong week.

maxresdefault.jpg
 
Top