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How do you stain a maple neck?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by appar111, Jan 2, 2007.

  1. appar111

    appar111 Friend of Leo's

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    I'll be ordering a new, unfinished maple neck in the next week or so, and wanted to know what's the best way to go about staining it? I'd like to use something like a Minwax Polyshades, which is stain and polyurethane in one. Either that, or some sort of stain, and then top it off with some Minwax Wipe-On Poly.

    Should I use some sort of wood conditioner on the neck before applying the stain? Also, should I be using a water based stain, gel stain, or oil based? Mainly looking at the Minwax brand of stains, since they're readily available at a number of stores.

    If the process is going to end up looking blotchy, etc. then I'll just skip the stain and do a couple coats of wipe-on poly, I just thought that it would be neat to try a stain underneath. Not interested in ReRanch stuff, since I don't have an area for spraying, and would need to apply things in a wipe-on or brush-on fashion.
     
  2. GuitarJonz

    GuitarJonz Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have done a few necks with Minwax products, and have had good luck with Minwax Golden Oak oil-based stain, just wipe on a few coats with small piece of rag. Dry and OOOO steel wool between coats, then I finished with a few coats of Minwax Wipe-On Poly, again drying and steel wooling between coats. I like the satin finish, look better to my eye. To sand in close to the frets, I just use my fingernail through the steel wool, it gets right down close to the fret and removes the shiny. A couple of times, I wanted an even darker finish, so I finished off with some Kiwi Brown. I did not use any type of conditioner on the bare neck to start, but just be sure to use some clean rubber loves, and wipe it down initially with a naptha (lighter fluid) damp rag, to remove any body-oils from handling, those would probably keep the stain from penetrating.
     
  3. mellecaster

    mellecaster Former Member

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    Try to find out from the maker of your neck, if they have applied any stabilzer or coating at all...(many do)....which could interfere w/ your stain....many folks just choose a clear finish on Maple....with a little amber mixed in to give it a vintage tint.
     
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  5. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity

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    I've never stained a neck before applying a lacquer finish. I do know that maple doesn't take stain as well as some other woods. However, GuitarJonz has done it and you can't argue with success.

    Another option is mist coats of ReRanch Butterscotch or Burst Amber followed by the clear coats of your choice.
     
  6. Dacious

    Dacious Friend of Leo's

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    I would go the stain-in-coating mix. I stained my first partscaster neck from raw wood and it looked poor so I sanded it back. Fortunately maple seems to not suck the stain in far - it all came off again quite easily. I tinted some topcoat and that looked 100% better.

    Maple is such a tight-grain wood that it needs no pre-coating - you can just finish it provided it is smooth and clean.
     
  7. appar111

    appar111 Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, but as I said, I don't have an area for spraying. I think that since maple might not take stain as well, I may be better off with a clear coat of wipe-on poly.

    Can ReRanch tint be added to Minwax Wipe-On poly?
     
  8. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity

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    Don't think so. If you want it tinted try Guitar Jonz's method.
    Edit: [ Not sure what you mean by ReRanch tint. I was thinking ReRanch tinted lacquer. ReRanch does sell dyes. The dyes could possibly be used to tint the wipe on poly.]

    Just remembered, I did a stain test on some bare maple once. This is Stew-Mac's ColorTone liquid dye (amber) mixed with alcohol in the recommended amount. However it might not work if the neck maker has put a sealer on the neck.

    ..................[​IMG]

    You might be able to tint the wipe on Poly with these liquid dyes but you might get a streaked result from the wiping.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2007
  9. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied

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    Behlen Master Jet Spray Nitro Lacquer, tint in can

    Maple is very hard to stain, so I use a spray nitro with a bit of tint in it to achieve the look of an aged or yellowed neck. I recommend, through www.woodworker.com the following Behlen Master Lacquer tones:

    Catalogue # 851099, Light Fruitwood;
    851106, Brown Mahogany (careful, denser color)
    851141, Maple.

    Brown Mahogany looks like this applied heavily:

    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t25/Bubbanov/49JUNE132007004.jpg

    These are 13 ounce spray cans, highest quality, US manufacture, ships out of New Mexico, about $ 7 a can in small multiples.

    Blend all three tones as you go, or for the full Marlboro look, use just the light fruitwood. Top with gloss or semi-gloss nitro.

    If you have rosewood fretboards, fill the grain or mask the board off, otherwise you'll have pinholes galore. Thanks for the guidance, Jack, in that regard.

    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t25/Bubbanov/51May52007007.jpg

    Bubbanov
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2007
  10. Axis29

    Axis29 Friend of Leo's

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    I have had good luck staining maple with several different brands of stain (Behlen and Minwax included). Both water and oil based will work on maple. However, I like oil based better as it's easier to get a more even color and it does not raise the grain.

    I don't like Poly-shades. It is very easy to get blotchy.

    If you use the oil based minwax, just let it dry a few days and hit it with the wipe on poly. I have used it within just a few hours of putting the stain on and it works fine, but for something like your guitar, I'd say patience is a virtue.
     
  11. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

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    You can make your own wipe on poly out of the Polyshades. Mix it with mineral spirits to the desired consistency and apply just like you would with the wipe on...I just did one and it turned out great.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied

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    Behlen Master Jet Spray in Maple

    This is what a refreshed SB 51 looks like with the neck reshaped ala N.A. Telecaster, and sprayed maybe three coats of primarily Maple, some Fruitwood nitro from Behlen, light top coat of clear nitro. Gotoh 'klusons', graphtech nut, Stew-Mac # 5304 bridge much better than stock.

    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t25/Bubbanov/51May52007002.jpg
    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t25/Bubbanov/51May52007007.jpg

    This neck was stupidly pale, worse than most stock 51s, and all the 'stain' you see is in the tint of the nitro.
    Really hard to disagree with this result on a $ 99 guitar, don't you think?

    Bubbanov
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2007
  13. Axis29

    Axis29 Friend of Leo's

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    Hey Bubbanov,

    That guitar does look quite good! Spray finishes with tints are very nice and can give a very nice and even look.

    I forgot to mention my normal broken record comment when tinting... orange shellac works well. With a small can and some denatured alcohol to thin it out, you can make a very nice aged nitro look. You can spread it with a clean soft cotton rag. Then use a little wipe on poly.... or shoot some nitro over top. Using this method I matched the color over the binding on my early 70's SG.
     
  14. Stubee

    Stubee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Boris--nice work! I should try that one on mine...

    On Polyshades: I used it years ago to finish some house trim. I've done a bunch of stripping & finishing or refinishing of furniture, trim, etc. and never hated anything as much as the Polyshades. Streaking, blotching, etc, and I do know how to finish wood a bit. As it started doing this on the only piece of wood I was working on that day, it was too late to thin it out, only remedy was to dry/strip and start over or try to work it in & live with it. I did the latter, cheap house.

    So I'd second Fezz's comments--and nice work there too--and if yer doing Polyshades, thin it down a bunch & you probably eliminate the problem I had.
     
  15. 1293

    1293 Friend of Leo's

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    Listen to Jack.
     
  16. postjob62

    postjob62 Tele-Holic

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    Neck tinting procedure question

    I've read and re-read as many archived posts as I can bring up on neck tint tinting, and had developed an plan based on using all locally available materials. My plan is (was?) an adaptation of Jack's method, but the first coat was going to be wiping on a Woodcraft product called TransTint. It's an alcohol soluble tint, and after achieving the right color I was planning to shoot Deft clear as Jack and others have outlined.

    I'm a little slow on the uptake I guess, but I could never figure out why the recommendation was to spray the Butterscotch instead of wiping something on like this TransTint, nor could I figure out how this Butterscotch could penetrate whatever light satin clear finish is on my Squier '51 and MIM Std. necks. Then it hit me--duh! The Butterscotch and Deft as [Jack] outlined must sit on top of the existing satin, just like paint, right?

    If true, this may change my plans to tint at all. Has anyone tried an accelerated sunlight method, like a UV lamp or the like? I'm not looking for a huge change, but just something to take the edge off that pasty-white look that Fender currently thinks is attractive on maple necks and boards. Looking at a 12 year old MIM Std. maple neck I just got made me realize how much better a little aging looks.
     
  17. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied

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    The Behlen sprays right on over the sealer

    I know my approach seems too simple, too 'fast' to be right, but that's all ya do, just spray the tinted nitro right on over the clean existing Nelsonite or whatever sealer that's on there. Same approach for better finished necks, tho you may want to manage the amount of finish accumulating on the fretboard and especially the frets. You can take an aluminum soda can and create a shield or template to protect the board while you clean up the frets, once the nitrocellulose is good and dry.
    Next I'll try this tinted nitro on existing matte body finishes such as the Squier Tele Special in walnut, to give the body a little depth and character. Plus it'll disguise those three stock bridge mount holes that will be exposed when the vintage bridges go on.

    Bubbanov

    BTW, if you sand through the sealer to reprofile the headstock and adjacent neck, the more finely you sand the more slowly you must go in applying the first mist coats of the lacquer. If you rush, the tint will agglomerate into freckles, you can't just spot sand the area and respray either. Ask me how I know.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2007
  18. KokoTele

    KokoTele <img src="http://www.tdpri.com/gifs/vendor.png" /> Vendor Member

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    I used Minwax stain and was not happy with the results. The stain went into the pores of the wood and obscured the beautiful grain lines I had. It was a little worse on the end grain.

    I now have a neck with a semi-relic look, kinda dingy looking. I no longer notice it, but it bugged me for a while.
     
  19. WrapAround

    WrapAround Tele-Holic

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    I've actually used Minwax stain on a neck. I used their conditioner first to pretreat the neck. Then I used wipe-on satin poly i got a few years ago from StewMac.
     
  20. postjob62

    postjob62 Tele-Holic

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    Hey Bubbanov,

    First off, that '51 looks great. What a change in the overall looks!

    But here's what I can't figure out: is your new stain/tint just sitting on top of the factory sealing coat, or did it somehow permeate the surface? Seems to me if it's just sitting on top like paint it'll quickly wear off.
     
  21. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied

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    What happens as it wears?

    I wanted to give the nitro a chance to get a bit harder; since then I've played the guitar a good bit but I have not been able to generate any meaningful wear. If I see any sign of premature wear, I will apply coats of clear nitro to protect the tinted nitro. The factory sealer is way thinner than my subsequents coats, would not last long by itself I believe.
    I know where you're coming from, when the shoe polish and poly some are using looks strange once the poly starts coming off, you get a reverse relic look, darker where there is no wear. Don't want that, but almost any stain will be worn thru at some point.
    I can only say that if the nitro is scarred or comes off faster than I'd like, I can always respray with the same product and the layers of nitro will mend and marry together, or I can let the wear go all the way, wear thru the sealer as well and get some good old fashioned filth down into the maple. Doin' a whole bunch of them. 51s are great that way, you can do one of every possible treatment combination, just have to take notes as to which 51 is which. $ 69 right now.

    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t25/Bubbanov/49JUNE142007007.jpg

    Bubbanov
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2007
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