Burnishing Raw Necks

Random Stranger

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17
Yup, I thought about that. I also don't want to wait a month for pure tung oil to dry... so I think I'll skip that and take a risk with the warranty/warping. The burnish combined with the gunstock wax should be more than sufficient to keep moisture out.

I was very curious why Ernie Ball decided on this product for their raw Music Man necks, so I looked up the MSDS.

The MSDS basically lists 85% solvent, 9% hydrocarbon wax (I'm guessing paraffin), 3% polydimethyl siloxane, and 3% carnauba wax.

https://www.birchwoodcasey.com/content/datasheets/Gun%20Stock%20Wax.pdf

Obviously the paraffin? Is highly hydrophobic. Carnauba is probably used to make it a little bit harder for a shine. But I had no idea what polydimethyl siloxane was, so I looked it up. Apparently it's in everything from breast implants, to medicine,  McDonald's cooking oil, condom lube, flea treatments, and hair conditioner/shampoo....

So apparently the stuff is safe, but its still kinda scary that I might be eating the stuff without knowing it. Anyway, it sounds like its very slippery stuff and very hydrophobic. I was concerned that it would "soak" the wood and make it too "wet", but apparently, according to Wikipedia, the stuff eventually evaporates. "They are used in many cosmetic products where eventual complete evaporation of the siloxane carrier fluid is desired. In this way they are useful for products like deodorants and antiperspirants which need to coat the skin but not remain tacky afterward."

I'll try it out sometime and let you guys know what I think about the stuff.
 

TBurst Std

Senior member
Messages
2,661
How about Howard’s Feed n Wax with Orange oil.  Lakland finished their maple USA necks like that.  If a neck will warp, the bass will do it first.
 

Random Stranger

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17
TBurst Std said:
How about Howard’s Feed n Wax with Orange oil.  Lakland finished their maple USA necks like that.  If a neck will warp, the bass will do it first.

I looked up the MSDS to compare the formulas. The Feed N Wax mixture is a bit proprietary, so the values ill post are averages.

3% Orange Oil, 3% Paraffin Wax, 37.5% light petro-based oil, and 62.5% heavy peteo-based oil.

Oddly no mention of beeswax or caranuba in the MSDS.

https://www.howardproducts.com/files/Feed-N-Wax%20Wood%20Polish%20and%20Conditioner%20-%20US%20-%20English%20(2020).pdf

I'm not chemist, and just looking at the formulas I'd have no idea which one is superior. I'm sure they will both work though! Very different formulas though, to be clear. The Gunstock wax looks more like its formulated to be a harder/thicker wax. Feed N' Wax looks like its mostly oil-based with some waxes added.

Only way to know which is better is trying both lol. The "dryer" formula, if you will, of the gunstock wax feels safer to me by instinct.

I've also considered Renaissance Wax. Definately the safest option as far as formula goes. Reading a little bit about the chemistry, it sounds like it was made specifically to be inert (non-reactive) as possible. Interestingly it has cleaning properties too!

https://restorationproduct.com/shop/renaissance-wax/

MSDS lists 80% Solvent and 20% microcrystalline wax. Sounds like its the most "dry" formula. Probably a hard-shell type of finish. Might be too hard for our uses, but again... I really have no idea. Only one way to find out lol.
 

Random Stranger

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17
Micro-mesh pads came in, and I re- did the burnish up to the 12,000 grit. In my opinion diminishing returns hits at 6,400 grit. Pictures are from my build-log here:
https://www.unofficialwarmoth.com/index.php?topic=32441.0

9RzB7jL.jpg


JyUi5RA.jpg


AnBwhZf.jpg
 

brain21

New member
Messages
20
OK, so I did the sanding up to 2000 grit.  I couldn't do 45 minutes with the 1500 or 2000 because the paper that I had fell apart.  I did 2 necks and each got 20-30 minutes at these stages.  The result was the neck was really nice as so many reported here.  Felt like a smooth gloss, but not sticky, just slippery, glass like.  Really nice!

After that I applied some Howard's Feed-n-Wax.  The 2 necks are roasted flamed maple.  Holy cow.  It looks amazing!  So my questions are what's next?

After the feed-n-Wax the necks are no longer as glass-like as they were before.  I have the 3M polishing papers.  I tried with the pink (4000 grit?) but it made no difference.

What's next?  Do I try higher grit polishing papers?  Lower grit?  Don't use the polishing papers at all?

I also have some Howards Paste Wax that I got when I thought I was going to Tru-oil these necks.  Should I still apply that, or is it unnecessary with the Feed-n-Wax applied?  I'll post pics in the next post.

BTW, I did NOT sand down the fretboards at all.  I left them as-is, and only applied the Feed-n-Wax.  I don't think that the fretboard needs to be glass smooth anyway.  I'd be more concerned about the frets being smooth.  :)

thanks!!!
 

brain21

New member
Messages
20
OK, here are the pics...

Warmoth-Original.jpg:
This is the best shot I could get, as it came from Warmoth.  Sanded to 200 grit apparently.  It looks great out of the box, but the flames don't really have that 3d look, and at some angles the flames are a little hard to see.

Warmoth-800-grit.jpg:
This is after sanding and cleaning with 400 and then 800 grit.  The color is a little lighter after sanding.  It was smoother, but I was a little sad that the color was no longer as rich.  I will say that the biggest difference was after 800 grit.  I could feel the difference between 800 and 1000, but only after A/B'ing them.  Same goes for 1000 to 1500 and 1500 and 2000.  I couldn't A/B between say 800 and 2000.  But if you';re short on time, or just have a bunch of guitars with raw necks and don't want to spend hours on all of them, do the 400 and then the 800 and you'll get 80% of the results.  I have a baritone warmoth roasted maple neck on a guitar.  It is raw, as it came from the factory, and I'm fine with it.  I might do 400 & 8000 on that one and leave it at that.

The rest of the pics are after 2000 grit and after Howards Feed-n-Wax.  You can see how rich the color is.  All that richness came back with the feed-n-wax, and the flames are now more 3d, and you can see them at all angles.  It just looks great. 

FYI: It seems to me that the feed-n-wax may add some color?  I'm not a woodworker so this is all new to me.  When sanding the neck was more pale.  When wiping it down with a cloth+naptha, it looked rich, like this, but that faded/dulled as it dried.  Now, 3 days later, it still looks like this.  Stunning.  Not sure if that is just the nature of the feed-n-wax, or if it is actually adding some color or not?

 

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brain21

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20
OK, well a few days with not a single reply, I went ahead and tried "sanding" it down with the higher grit (1200 and 4k) polishing papers.  They didn't really seem to do much t all.

I applied the Howard's citrus Wax Paste to one neck.  Rubbed it in, waited ~12 minutes, wiped it down and buffed it w/ polishing cloths.  Made no appreciable difference. Maybe the Paste Wax will provide better long run protection, but then again it's not like this neck is getting drinks set on it, nor experiencing spills.

Next time I'll do the sanding and then the feed-n-wax, and then done.
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
Sorry you didn't get a reply. I could swear I wrote one, but maybe not. Anyway, in my experience polishing beyond 2000 grit is a waste of time. I've tried and got no return. Also, it shouldn't need any finish at all. Even wax might not feel as good as just the raw wood, and any other kind of finish may not adhere. At 2000 grit, it's almost glassy and there's nothing for a finish material to grab onto. The whole process seems to seal it somewhat, so you don't get that grungy look that you often see on raw Maple. If you ever feel like it needs cleaning, use naptha. Anything with water in it is liable to raise the grain.
 

brain21

New member
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20
Yeah, I think you're right.  I think the only difference that the paste wax made is that it is more water proof.  But I don't plan on that neck being in any extremely humid environments or resting drinks on the neck.  :)

It was at its slickest when I was done with the 2000grit sandpaper and before applying anything.  The feed-n-wax, on these roasted flamed maple necks, really made them look amazing.  So now it feels (after feed-n-wax and Paste wax) maybe like it did at 800 grit.  I'm good with that.  800 grit was the last one that made a big difference.  THen you hit the margin of diminishing returns on higher grits.  Not that they don't make a difference, just not as much.

Next time sand to 2k grit and done for most necks.  Add the Feed-n-Wax for any figured darker woods (like roasted maple or darker), and that's it.
 

Re-Pete

Senior member
Messages
633
I have a Wenge neck with Rosewood fingerboard/ Ivoroid binding come in recently.

I will be refurbishing the guitar that's shown in my profile for a 24.75" Conversion neck. The neck that is currently on it is 25.5" and that scale is a touch too long for me.

I will be burnishing this new neck.

Been out & about today, picked up the recommended grit grades of sandpapers....

For anyone in Australia, I got these high grit sandpapers from Auto Barn & Supercheap Auto. Wet & Dry, 600,800,1000,1200,1500,2000.

Anyone who's done this before, can you tell me if you sand the neck dry or wet? I suppose a bit of moisture on the sandpaper will help keep any dust down?

After each run, you wipe off with Naptha, right?  :icon_scratch:

After reading this thread I see that the finer grit sandpapers take more time on each grit than say, the 600 or 800.... I suppose each person just sands until they think the grit they are using won't get it any smoother?

Any information & little tips would be appreciated.  :icon_thumright:
 

DuckBaloo

Senior member
Messages
299
Re-Pete said:
Anyone who's done this before, can you tell me if you sand the neck dry or wet? I suppose a bit of moisture on the sandpaper will help keep any dust down?

Dry sand. You do not want to add water and risk swelling the grain.

While you could wetsand with naphtha or mineral spirits, there is no reason to. We wetsand top coats because it keeps the lacquer from gumming up and clogging the sandpaper. Wetsanding is not necessary on raw wood.
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
As DuckBaloo said, no wet sand unless you use a solvent, which is unnecessary. You'll find with such fine grits you actually produce very little dust, but you'll still want to wipe it down (naphtha, alcohol) between grits just to get a better look/feel of what you've accomplished so far. The finer grits do cut much more slowly, so you almost have to take it on faith that you've done anything until you feel it - it'll be difficult to see unless you hold it at an oblique angle to the light and look at the reflection. It should appear "glassy" smooth, as if you'd finished it in lacquer and finish sanded/buffed it out. It won't look that way straight on or at larger angles, and it won't feel "sticky" like some gloss finishes do, but it'll feel fantastic. You'll want all your necks done that way  :laughing7:  Problem is, it's time-consuming so few OEMs will do it (I don't know of any), as it's nearly pure labor and lots of it, so the cost would be prohibitive for commercial products. Plus, some people would rather have a more or less "impervious" finish such as polyurethane.
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
Bob Hoover Ross said:
But mostly because the results I was getting just seemed to be ideal earlier in the process. This might have something to do with the difference between Padouk and Brazilian Ebony?

Yes. The harder the wood and tighter the grain, the better the result. Then there's a couple anomalies, such as Wenge. Very hard/waxy with a deep grain, so it's pretty slick to start with, but even that stuff will improve. Doesn't look like you've done anything, but the feel is sublime. Some of the tighter stuff such as Bloodwood, Pau Ferro, Hard rock/torrified (roasted) Maple, Brazilian Ebony, etc. will burnish up super nice. Brings out any figuring and feels like a whole different neck.
 

Re-Pete

Senior member
Messages
633
Re-Pete said:
I have a Wenge neck with Rosewood fingerboard/ Ivoroid binding come in recently.

I will be refurbishing the guitar that's shown in my profile for a 24.75" Conversion neck. The neck that is currently on it is 25.5" and that scale is a touch too long for me.

I will be burnishing this new neck.

Been out & about today, picked up the recommended grit grades of sandpapers....

For anyone in Australia, I got these high grit sandpapers from Auto Barn & Supercheap Auto. Wet & Dry, 600,800,1000,1200,1500,2000.

Anyone who's done this before, can you tell me if you sand the neck dry or wet? I suppose a bit of moisture on the sandpaper will help keep any dust down?

After each run, you wipe off with Naptha, right?  :icon_scratch:

After reading this thread I see that the finer grit sandpapers take more time on each grit than say, the 600 or 800.... I suppose each person just sands until they think the grit they are using won't get it any smoother?

Any information & little tips would be appreciated.  :icon_thumright:

Thanx for the info DuckBaloo & Cagey.
Just did the first 3 courses of burnishing of this neck.
Having never done this before I suppose I picked a tough ask with an exotic wood like Wenge and for the price I paid for the upcharges....
In any case, it's gone well....
15 minutes on 600, 800 & 100 grit each. Wipe off the dust (and yes, there was dust on the neck) with a cloth with some naptha on it.
It feels a LOT smoother already, and looks a little better too....
Calling it quits for the night. I had to do this on my front veranda and light was fading into twilight so I want to see what I'm doing better.
My gut feeling is I will do 15 mins each remaining course (1200,1500 & 2000) and that should be enough. As it is now, the neck feels a lot smoother than when I started and definitely an improvement for playability.
 

Re-Pete

Senior member
Messages
633
Burnishing done......

I think the Wenge's stubborn nature to being worked on didn't help me beyond 1000 grit.

It feels a lot better than out of the box from Warmoth, but I think if it was a wood that would sand better and not have the deep grains intrinsic with Wenge, it would be glassy smooth & shiny. As it is it is VERY smooth, it will improve playability but there is still just that touch of woody touch to it. You  can still feel the grain. It's been a good learning experience for me.
 

Bob Hoover Ross

Senior member
Messages
143
Interesting follow-up on one of my burnished raw wood neck instruments:

Since completing the build a couple years ago I've only used it occasionally in the recording studio for some quick tracks, or for noodling around the house...so I've probably never played that bass for more than 20 minutes at a time. Last night I had my first gig in over a year (thanks, pandemic!) and used the bass with the burnished neck for the entire night, so ~3 straight hours of playing it.

I almost kinda think the burnished neck is too slippery!

It's definitely fast, and beautifully consistent in feel. But it's so slick that I just don't have any similar tactile reference from my other basses. Hard to tell whether it impacts my playing either positively or negatively; for now I'm just so aware of how unique the neck feels that I want to make sure it doesn't become a distraction.

Fascinating experience.
 

patracles

Active member
Messages
26
Sorry if I missed the answer to this, roasted maple necks are warrantied without a finish, but does sanding them in this way void the warranty?
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
Not that I'm aware of, but while I can't speak for corporate policy, I can't imagine why they'd exclude a part for having been finished that way. They're warranted without a finish, and you're not adding a material one or modifying the neck in any way. They'd probably do it themselves if they could justify the expense of it, but it's labor-intensive and not everybody might want it.
 

justsomeguy1

Active member
Messages
74
Does anyone know what warmoth necks are sanded to from the factory?

Just got my roasted flame maple neck in the mail. Planned on doing this burnishing but I dunno, feels pretty damn good and smooth right out of the box if you ask me.
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
I think their raw bodies are sanded to 220 and the necks to 320, but it does 't seem to be written anywhere. Raw roasted Maple as provided is pretty nice, though. Still, the difference between that and burnished is worlds apart. If you've never done it, you're in for a real treat. It's one of the woods that responds especially well to the treatment.
 
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