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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

How to finish an Allparts neck?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by manbearpig, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. manbearpig

    manbearpig Tele-Meister

    Nov 4, 2008
    Hi guys,

    Let me start by saying that I searched the forum and I know that this topic has been discussed in several different threads to varying degrees. However, I am having trouble finding the info I am really looking for.

    I have just purchased a body for my very first build and I have pretty much decided on buying an Allparts TMO-FAT neck to go with it (but haven't purchased it yet.) I know that many TDPRIers have used these necks and I have seen lots of threads about them. So here is my question/request:
    What is your favorite recipe for finishing one? I know some of you have finished several by different methods - what worked out best? I am particularly concerned about the "sealer" they put on the "unfinished" necks and what to do about it (if anything).

    Basic info is appreciated...

  2. Chris Leger

    Chris Leger Banned

    May 1, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Easiest way (for me) is spray lacquer, because if I make a mistake, I can sand it out and touch-up.

    3 coats, sand it level, 3 more coats, sand and polish. Having a can of brushing lacquer on-hand is very handy for minor fills and touch-ups.

  3. manbearpig

    manbearpig Tele-Meister

    Nov 4, 2008
    Thanks, Chris.

    So do you do anything to "prep" the neck before the lacquer?

  4. Chris Leger

    Chris Leger Banned

    May 1, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Nope. As long as it's sanded past 220 or so, you're good to go.

    "Sand it level" above refers to wet-sanding. I do 600 in the first pass, then 1000 on the second. You don't need to get really fussy, as the polish will remove pretty much everything. Lacquer is soft, and very easy to work with.

  5. Chris Leger

    Chris Leger Banned

    May 1, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Forgot to mention... one thing I DO do between the two sets of coats is load the walnut stripe with lacquer. It is open-granied, and will absorb a ton of finish.

    Lay on your first coats, then tape-off the back of the neck, and brush on plenty of lacquer, sanding in between, every hour or so. Three heavy coats will do it. I don't mind a bit of texture on the open grain - can't feel it. I just don't want "craters" around the pores, which you'll be fighting if you skip this step and stick to spraying only.

    The alternative is to use a filler/sealer, but it kills the fire in the grain - which is something I like to see, even on that skinny stripe.

  6. Zmatko

    Zmatko Tele-Meister

    My five cents would be that every allparts neck has an uncovered flameyness to it, i have worked on one allparts bass body and allparts jazz neck to go with it.
    Now my experience is that both needed sanding up to 1200 grit and with a hour of said work the neck was flaming even more than when i got it.

    If it's the first time you are doing wet sanding then it may take longer but one evening at most.
    Here is a picture of it with waxed finish, it's plain maple with the occasional usualness.

    As i see it, it's always worth a try with a fine finish.

    Attached Files:

  7. Chris Leger

    Chris Leger Banned

    May 1, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Yeah, even the most humble piece of maple usually has some fire in it somewhere.

    Don't bury it under sealer.

  8. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Chris, your words unleashed images of pickguards with protective plastic film on them. And necks with protective plastic film on them. I think it is true, if you think about it, that these catalyzed finishes creating a heavy film can really dumb down any eye candy in the maple.

    I'll take that to heart.

  9. Chris Leger

    Chris Leger Banned

    May 1, 2008
    New Hampshire
    It really is true. Look at a Fender neck. They're "yellow."

    Buy any piece of clear maple. Finish it in nothing but lacquer (as heavy as you like.)

    If it's two feet long, there will be at least 3 inches of net flame in it somewhere. It may be subtle, but hold it under your lamp and turn it around. It's there.

    There's character in any piece of good wood, and maple is good wood.

  10. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 19, 2006
    Gilbert, AZ (PHX)
    I used a TMO-fat neck and I sprayed nitro lacquer over shellac (real shellac mixed from flakes). I have done a couple of necks that way.

  11. SinnerBoy61

    SinnerBoy61 Tele-Holic

    Feb 24, 2005
    Yes..I wouldn't seal it.

    One thing to consider would be birchwood-casey Tru-Oil, available in the gun/outdoors section in wal-mart. It's a gunstock finish that is extremely thin, and easy to apply with your fingertips. After several coats are applied over a few days time, one waits 1-2 days, then steel wools it (0000) then buffs with a cotton t-shirt. It has a very subtle amber tint to it, and it tends to seep into the grain and pop it very nicely.
    It can also be lacquered over in the instance you'd like to put a decal on your headstock and the bury it with nitro.


    Not saying one is better than the other. Personally I prefer a highly polished lacquer finish on a neck, but this is a very quick nice option too.

  12. TwangMaster1

    TwangMaster1 TDPRI Member

    Feb 13, 2009
    I prefer the satin poly finish which you can get in a spray can at True value.I carefully round the edges of the fretboard to match modern American Stand ard necks starting with 80grit sandpaper and working up to 320 grit, finish sand entire neck with 320 grit,tape off fretboard if rosewood(if maple spray right over frets and cut them out with a razor blade after like Fender does),wash with thinner,blow off,wipe with tack cloth and spray taking your time to wait between coats. Don't rush.Let dry overnight.Sand with 500 grit wet. Reprep.Apply Fender logo with water which you can get on ebay. Apply 3 more coats.Let dry overnight. Wet sand with 1000grit and then 2000grit,buff to nice sheen with compound or toothpaste. I hope this helps. I did an Allparts neck and the boys at FenderDealer musicstore thought it looked genuine Fender and played amazing well and in tune!!

  13. appar111

    appar111 Friend of Leo's

    Mar 8, 2006
    You mean sanding sealer? You guys find that sanding sealer obscures flame & grain on a maple neck? Never really thought about it.. last couple necks I've done have just had a thin spray of Deft sanding sealer to seal the wood and I don't feel like anything's obscured.

    But Tru-Oil can definitely accentuate the grain, that's for sure!


    TELE_BLUES Tele-Afflicted

    I did one with minwax wipe on poly.memebr rod distefano has a info section on his websire in there is how he does his wipe on finishes pretty easy and it looks good too.The wipe on finish is going to easiestalthough spraying with a can is'nt too difficult there are problem that may arise.

  15. ChicknPickn

    ChicknPickn Tele-Holic

    Apr 16, 2007
    Ole Virginny
    Yep, shellac as a base for lacquer is nice. Great under wipe-on poly, too. Of course, shellac as the one and only coating is superb and well worth your time. What shellac does for grain has to be seen to be believed.

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