Oh Finish Gurus, Save Me


Master Member
I have almost finished the shaping on my formerly-paddleheaded 7-string neck.



I want to tint the entire neck a light amber. I necessarily have to use water-based polyurethane as my finish coats (smell...). I know that Warmoth puts some kind of light sealer on their necks. What I have done previously to tint a Warmoth-sealed neck is to mix up a strong concentrate of powdered amber dye (from L.M.I.) in water, then just tint a batch of water-based polyurethane to do the neck with - 6 or 8 thin coats an hour or so apart. However, I have now removed some of Warmoth's sealer from parts of this neck.

To dye an unsealed body, I mix up powdered dyes in water, dye the body, then seal that with Zinsser's Bulls Eye Sealcoat, which is a wax-free shellac that seals in the dye. Then I can put on clear water-based polyurethane with it lifting the water-based dye. To dye this neck evenly, should I:

A: sand off ALL of Warmoth's sealer, dye it, then seal it, then finish it;
B: put on a coat of Sealcoat all over everything, then the tinted polyurethane;
C: go straight to the urethane stage, because Warmoth's sealer won't affect the absorption;
D: something else?

I'm leaning towards "A" because it seems most predictably error-resistant, but any and all advice would be appreciated.

P.S. (I need to get this sealed up real quick, before jackthehack's "ex" arrives....)  :guitarplayer2: -> :eek:ccasion14: -> :blob7:

I think i have read elswere on this board that you should never sand a neck but somebody else should know for sure.

That's SOME people's opinion on sanding the portion of the neck that fits into the neck pocket; you HAVE to do some sanding on the rest of the neck if you are going to finish it dependant on wood selection....
I think i have read elswere on this board that you should never sand a neck but somebody else should know for sure.

A: It's MY board and I'll sand if I want to;

B: What could possibly go wrong, if you refinish it so as to seal out moisture?

C: I already DID....
B - The issue is not sanding, but how much and where.

Excessive sanding - reshaping if you will - alters the stresses in the wood, and can make it go all wavy.

Sanding on the heel of the neck is not a good idea to get a fit.  Much better to sand the body.

A light sanding, to get the finish off is fine. 

As far as W's sealer goes... its not much of anything, and dont worry about getting the rest off before finishing
Alcohol based dye dissolved in acetone, wipe acetone over the neck first to cut the sealer then the dye.
i sanded my goncalo neck to get the skunk stripe level - it raised up a good deal.  Then I used alcohol dye.  No line, or other tell tale artifacts where I sanded then dyed.  The W sealer just did not make a difference as far as dye was concerned.
Side note on the "sealer"; you may have seen my post on the '54 Goldtop Tele project in which the neck came several mahogany shades darker than the body. I experimented last night with some stripes of different dye colors. This evening I was getting ready to grain fill the body and neck and when sanding the dye out of the neck it lightened up a couple shades. Anyone else notice this?
Not I.

Only sanding I did was on that goncalo neck and it stayed a medium brown

I do think Gregg said thats why necks are darker tho, maybe some woods more than others?
Dunno... As far as mahogany goes the only other time I had a mismatch problem the neck was much lighter than the body and any sanding on it didn't affect coloration...
guess ya just cant tell till ya see what its gonna do

spose if you had a mismatch, might be ok to sand it down just to see what it did

certainly wouldn't hurt if done carefully and minimally