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

Need advice on finishing mahogany neck

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by heffus, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. heffus

    heffus Tele-Meister

    333
    Apr 20, 2014
    cHICAGO
    I have an unfinished Musikraft mahogany neck (bocote fingerboard) that came with their "thin lacquer sealer". I have been playing it like this for over a year now but I want to finally put a proper finish on it before I ruin it. I have a few maple necks with oil finishes that I love the feel of. Would tung oil work on a mahogany neck? What would I need to do to prepare the neck as far as removing the lacquer sealer and all the dirt from me playing it? Would it be easier to just rattle can some satin nitro? IMG_1945[1].JPG IMG_1946[1].JPG
     

  2. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    You're not going to remove the lacquer sealer. It will have penetrated the mahogany far too deeply.

    Naphtha (Ronson lighter fluid is close enough) will clean the neck without leaving any residue - just make several passes with a clean cotton rag each time.

    You can apply just about any finish you want over the sealer, but penetrating oils may not penetrate much. You would be better off with a normal film-forming finish like lacquer, polyurethane, rubbing varnish etc. IMO.
     

  3. ndeli55

    ndeli55 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    33
    May 12, 2008
    oklahoma
    Dog hair finish or go home
     

  4. ndeli55

    ndeli55 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    33
    May 12, 2008
    oklahoma

  5. imploration

    imploration Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    141
    Sep 19, 2010
    Midwest
    You could lightly sand it with steel wool and then hit it with a few LIGHT coats of shellac sealer. Once cured rub it down with 0000 steel wool and linseed oil, perfection. Ive had nothing but great luck with this finish combo.
     
    oldfish likes this.

  6. heffus

    heffus Tele-Meister

    333
    Apr 20, 2014
    cHICAGO
    I decided to just rattle can some satin nitro lacquer on there and call it. Did 3 coats today. How many total coats do I need to put on?
     

  7. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    The problem with shellac are 1) it has the lowest durability of just about any normal guitar-finish coating, especially over another something else, and 2) it has almost no solvent resistance. This can be problematic on a neck if you clean the fretboard with sol;vent or a commercial "fretboard oil" - all of which contain solvents. So it's easily smeared/streaked and damaged.

    It depends on how thick you're applying it, if it's consistent enough that you won't need to wet sand (if applied right it should be) and how durable you want it.

    First - when you say "coats" what do you mean? When applying aerosol lacquers a "coat" consists of three light passes - the first "coat" shouldn't even flow out all that smoothly. By the third "coat" (i.e. after 9 light passes with several minutes - 5-15 depending on weather - between "coats") it may flow out fairly smoothly - but that's usually not enough to get a smooth finish.

    If it is nice and smooth after 3 coats /9 passes the time between coats needed to be more like several hours or solvent entrapment may result. And if just 3 heavy "passes" are what you mean by coats you almost always have a short or long term problem with trapped solvent, especially if the weather was warm (>75 degrees F).

    Excessively thick lacquer coats dry on top, or "skin" very quickly, especially if it's warm. As lacquer dries by evaporation, when the film "skins" solvent underneath can't escape. This eventually (sometimes very soon - sometimes months or years later) results in bubbling (which happens soon) blistering and/or peeling. It may not occur soon, but almost assuredly will.

    If it was applied wrong, start sanding and take most or all of it off and re-do it.

    If it's OK I'd apply at least 2-3 more coats. Correctly applied lacquer dries to a very thin, completely "homogenized" film as each coat melts into the previous one. Three coats can wear through or be damaged pretty quickly, especially if scraped or bumped against hard surfaces.

    Make sure you spray at 10-14" distance; perpendicular to the surface as much as possible; and do NOT move with a "golf swing" - keep the tip at the same distance, depressing the tip fully before it's over the neck and ending when you're past it. Don't wave back-and-forth, go sideways and then up and down on the same pass, or press the tip down only part way.

    And make sure you don't sand between coats! Only spot-sanding to fix tiny runs, but that shouldn't happen if the passes are correct. Extensive sanding almost always contaminates the surface.

    On necks - unless someone wants a "no finish" look and doesn't care about it looking old or dirty - I apply at least six coats, often more. It's one of the high-wear areas. And I have never sanded necks - after several days' dry time they are polished on a cloth wheel withstick-type buffing compounds.

    I tried to cover all possibilities for you - hope it helps!
     
    heffus likes this.

  8. Twobeers

    Twobeers TDPRI Member

    Age:
    62
    4
    Oct 18, 2017
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Lightly sand with 220 grit paper & finish with several coats of Mixwax Rub on Poly Finish, available in satin of gloss. Lightly sand between coats with 400 grit. You'll only need a few pieces of lint free cloths about 4x4". I used a few cut off bottoms of small plastic pop drinks for transferring the Poly finish to the cloths rather than contaminating my can of Minwax Rub on Poly Finish. U don't need much for each coat. Basically one soak of the cloth will do the entire neck for a coat. I would say about the equivalent of about 1/3rd of a shot glass worth of poly per coat.
     

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