Adding more finish to a neck (headstock)


Hi all! After several days on the forums, I still need some clarity on some things, and was hoping for some help. I know these questions have all been addressed in some form or another, but please bear with me...
First, the scenario: The warmoth pbass neck I ordered was finished with the Warmoth clear glossy finish. I want to apply a waterslide decal on the headstock. I'm quite clear on how to install it. It's adding the finish on top of the decal (for protection and looks) that i need a little help.
I don't really care about adding any 'vinatge' or 'relic' visual effects on the bass, but I don't want it to look like it's got an inch of polyurethane on it either.
The questions: What finish is safe on top of a) the Warmoth clear glossy finish and b) a waterslide decal? I've read about incompatibilities between laquer, nitro, oil, and other finished with each other, as well as problems when using certain solvent-based finishes on top of a waterslide decal. Should I use a water-based solvent? or an acetone based? I'm fine with spray/aerosole cans, or wipe on finishes. Brand names and recommendations, please!


Hi Clint.

From my experience building model cars, lacquer over urethane is a bad idea, most lacquer solvents are too aggressive to spray over anything except lacquers.

The other thing to watch is the decal itself, a hot solvent will eat that too, stick to oil or water based.

For a good, brush on, water based varnish try and find some Johnson's Future (Klear in Europe), it's an acrylic varnish for wooden floors.  Goes on easily, levels beautifully give a good gloss finish, it's widely used in modeling circles.

Cheers - Rab.
There are all sorts of catalyzed poly finishes.

I do know that Nitro Lacquer is fine over Fender factory finishes.  The finish they use is some tough tough stuff.

I'm not sure on W's case tho.

If the finish is lacquer "ok" (in light coats), then I'd apply the decal, put clear shellac over it.  Then I'd rough up the area around the decal, and shellac that.  Then I'd lacquer the whole headstock.  When roughing it up - just 600 or 800 paper to get the shine off.  Do that right up to the edge of the shellac'ed  decal edge... so the shellac has something to bite.  You really might get by without the roughing... but I'd still do it.  A few coats of lacquer - light at first, then heavier.  The shellac will protect the decal.  LET THE SHELLAC DRY AT LEAST A DAY before lacquering.  After lacquer, level with 600 paper and hand buff with white compound, have a drink, admire the work.  You did a good job!~
I put the Warmoth decal on my Warmoth finished headstock and used shellac over it without any adverse effects!
Great information! Thank you very much! I'll take the full shellac - sand - laquer - sand - finish approach.
Thanks again, everybody!

Aulman said:
Great information! Thank you very much! I'll take the full shellac - sand - laquer - sand - finish approach.
Thanks again, everybody!



How did it turn out? I am considering going down the same road, and am curious as to how it looks afterwards... anyone else applied at waterslide over the warmoth clear gloss?