Finishing guitar neck advice

Deep Purple in Rock

Active member
Messages
27
Hey guys.

I'm about to finish my first guitar neck and could need some advice from you fellas who are a lot more knowledgeable than me.
The plan is as follows.
Edit: It's a one piece maple neck.

1. Use a clear gloss lacquer as a sealer, not sure how many times I should spray it though, I'm thinking 2 times with 1 hour in between.
2. The day after step 1, spray 4 coats of vintage amber lacquer (more if it's not orange enough), 24 hours in between every coat.
3. Finish up with 2 coats of clear gloss lacquer, 24 hours in between.
4. Wet sand off all bumps, paranoid over damaging the neck joint so I'm going to use a really fine wet sand paper.
5. Bolt on the neck to the body and rock on.

Does this sound like a good course of action?
Any advice?
 

Lbpesq

Senior member
Messages
200
The best ways to finish a neck are dependent on the type of wood.  What’s yours?

Bill, tgo
 

Deep Purple in Rock

Active member
Messages
27
Lbpesq said:
The best ways to finish a neck are dependent on the type of wood.  What’s yours?

Bill, tgo

How could I leave out such important info? Must be going senile.
It's a one piece maple neck.
 

DuckBaloo

Senior member
Messages
282
I assume you are using aerosol nitro, like Stewmac or Reranch. For all coats, many finishers use a "Rule of 3".

  • 3 passes = a coat
  • Maximum 3 coats a day
  • 3 hours between coats

It errs on the conservative side to keep you from building up too much finish too fast before it can all properly dry between coats.

When I lacquer coat necks, I use a total of 10-12 coats. A sealer coat of clear is a good idea to prevent blotchiness, then amber tint to taste, then enough clear coats to get you to the to 10-12 coats. You're going to want enough clear than you can wet sand without going through to the color.

One word of warning, if you don't have an arbor buffer (and experience using on), then don't expect a mirror gloss finish on the fret board. It's pretty hard to wet sand and hand-buff between frets (you can use a good ol' fashion Pink Pearl-/Ruby-style eraser as a sanding block to do what you can). Buffing the back of the neck is easy enough. Just be careful of the edges of the headstock and fretboard, it's real easy to sand through.

Wetsanding nitro usually starts at 800 wet/dry and progresses to finer grits, as you work up the neck will become shinier, then buff with polish.
 

docteurseb

Senior member
Messages
743
DuckBaloo said:
One word of warning, if you don't have an arbor buffer (and experience using on), then don't expect a mirror gloss finish on the fret board. It's pretty hard to wet sand and hand-buff between frets (you can use a good ol' fashion Pink Pearl-/Ruby-style eraser as a sanding block to do what you can). Buffing the back of the neck is easy enough. Just be careful of the edges of the headstock and fretboard, it's real easy to sand through.

Having finished my first 1 piece maple neck in gloss nitro last summer it's not impossible at all to get a mirror gloss finish on the fretboard w/o an arbor buffer; it is however a real pita.

Since I had a fixed radius fingerboard I cut a matching radiusing block to make two short pieces: a narrow enough one to go between the 21 and 22 frets, and a wider one.

With this you can use a microfiber cloth and polishing compound for a few hours until you get a mirror like surface.
It won't be fun, but it's do-able.
After this I swore it would be my 1st and last ever gloss finished fingerboard.
:laughing11:


Of course this technique doesn't work with a compound radius.
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,217
DrSeb said:
Of course this technique doesn't work with a compound radius.

Unless you cut up several blocks of differing radii. Though I would suspect even with erasers as backing cut to shape and enough time put into the job it could yield a good result.
 

docteurseb

Senior member
Messages
743
It’d seem slightly cost prohibitive at that point to buy all several radius blocks needed for a 10-16” compound radius. And it would still not be a perfect fit resulting in easier burn through.
The eraser method might however work very well.
 
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