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

Removing Paint From CBS Vintage Tele Neck

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by CWP0126, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. CWP0126

    CWP0126 Tele-Meister

    119
    Apr 2, 2016
    Tampa, Fl
    Hi everyone,

    I bought an old neck off eBay for a project I have going and am looking for some advice on cleaning it up.

    The seller thought the neck was a '72, but it is hard to confirm because the neck stamp is that weird green 7 digit code that has never been conclusively deciphered, as far as I know. It does have two string trees, but from what I've read Fender quit using that neck code system by '72, and a lot of people think these were only used in '69. The code is 3 22 017 B.

    The neck was painted black. I am in the process of removing the paint and would like to know what I need to after I get all of the paint off.

    I have only used 320 and 400 grit sandpaper for this because I didn't want to sand into the wood. This has taken a lot of time because I am doing it by hand, but has done a pretty good job removing paint only. I even exposed a F71 stamp and a handwritten "C" on the heel that I guess are under the original finish, and some old green finish from a former body.

    I'm not sure if there is any original finish on the back of the neck, it doesn't feel like it. I think the refinisher removed the OG finish before it was sprayed black. There is also some primer or something along the top side that has been a real bear to remove, much more so than the paint.

    My questions are:

    Once I have the paint and primer completely removed should I continue using finer grades of sandpaper on it, or can I stop with the 400?

    Do I need to put anything on the back to seal the wood pores and protect the wood, and should I eventually have a clear coat sprayed on the back?

    What is the best way to clean the maple fretboard? It has a nice amber look, so I just want to clean it up and remove the crap from sanding and the bit of black that got on it. Would using Naptha or 0000 steel wool be best? Please give me,your thoughts on this.

    Thank you all in advance, many pictures to follow.
     

  2. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    54
    Feb 16, 2014
    Auburn, California
    Sounds like you got the tough part done. As far as the back of the neck, if it feels too rough after 400 grit then I'd go with a tighter grain sandpaper. Stop when it feels good to you.

    Front - I usually use elbow grease, time, and a clean cotton cloth. If I use any substance, I use mineral oil. That's it. Never sanded or steel wooled the fretboard of a guitar myself. I'm sure you could use something like 1200 grain sandpaper if you wanted to though. Start out with the least abrasive and then increase if that isn't cutting it.
     
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  3. CWP0126

    CWP0126 Tele-Meister

    119
    Apr 2, 2016
    Tampa, Fl

  4. CWP0126

    CWP0126 Tele-Meister

    119
    Apr 2, 2016
    Tampa, Fl

  5. CWP0126

    CWP0126 Tele-Meister

    119
    Apr 2, 2016
    Tampa, Fl
    Thanks for the reply Dismalhead. My plan is to use the finest grain possible to remove the paint without disturbing what is original underneath.

    I spent a couple of hours again tonight on it with 320 grit, and it is really slow going. I am finally getting rid of the primer. I have been fully expecting to see a major repair or some other damage, but haven't found that yet.

    I am uncovering the original side dots, and right now the the double dots at the 12th fret look like ovals for some reason. Weird, but they may be round once I'm done.

    I want to clean up the maple fretboard as much as possible without having to refinish it. I also want to finish the back of the neck in amber to match the front. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know. Thanks!

    image.jpg image.jpg
     

  6. CWP0126

    CWP0126 Tele-Meister

    119
    Apr 2, 2016
    Tampa, Fl
    I would also like to hear anyone's opinion on how to best clean up the neck code stamp area without disturbing the stamp. I think it is under the OG finish but not positive, and I have been very careful here but it has gotten a bit gunked up from the sanding action, combined with my sweat because it is Florida in the summer! All help is appreciated!
     
    coonhollow greg likes this.

  7. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    62
    Apr 11, 2016
    Las Vegas, NV
    Wipe it all down with Naphtha to see where you're at. Just be careful around the stamp and other writing. I would then do as you are doing and carefully get that black crap off the fingerboard. Then I would lightly scuff/sand the fret board and front of headstock (avoiding sanding the logo off, of course), clean well with Naphtha and then spray with a tinted lacquer. like from StewMac or ReRanch, over the whole thing, including the fret board, to lock it all together.
    Just My $.02,
    Gene
     
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  8. CWP0126

    CWP0126 Tele-Meister

    119
    Apr 2, 2016
    Tampa, Fl
    image.jpg Thanks for everyone replies,

    I have found the damage, unfortunately.

    They heavy stuff I thought was primer I now think was body filler. I started at the upper frets moving down to the lowers frets, and the stuff was heavier as I got to the first fret.

    It looks to me that someone tried sanding the neck with a power belt sander or something and messed up big time. The first three frets have a major indent in them, with the worst at the 1st fret. What do you all think?

    Again, I have only used 320 grit as the harshest grain for this, so I don't think 320 can do this type of work. It was hard enough getting just the paint off with 320! Also the rest of the neck seems fine the using the 320.

    So, any suggestions now? I don't know what to do. I don't think this neck can actually support the low E string like this.

    Thanks!
     

  9. Trow

    Trow Tele-Holic

    Bummer! That sucks! How deep are the indentations? Can you pull the frets and sand the fretboard down enough to level it?
     
    CWP0126 likes this.

  10. CWP0126

    CWP0126 Tele-Meister

    119
    Apr 2, 2016
    Tampa, Fl
    Hi Trow,

    That's a good suggestion, thanks. I am going to have to have an expert look at it, but I'm afraid it may be too deep. Measuring behind the nut I get 1.620 inches, and at the skinniest at the first fret I get 1.565 inches. I don't know what the smallest practical width would be.



    image.jpg image.jpg
     

  11. CWP0126

    CWP0126 Tele-Meister

    119
    Apr 2, 2016
    Tampa, Fl
    I wonder if I could have it capped with rosewood or maple and salvage it? Kinda defeats the purpose of having a nicely aged original neck though. This has really taken the wind out of my sails on this project, I must admit.
     

  12. dkmw

    dkmw Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    62
    Mar 30, 2016
    Florida USA
    It has to be disappointing to put in all that careful work (I'm not sure I'd have the patience) and then make that discovery.

    I'd say you're now an expert hand-sander, though; so there is that:)
     
    CWP0126 likes this.

  13. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    62
    Apr 11, 2016
    Las Vegas, NV
    My guess is that the neck was very worn , with divots under the strings and some one sanded to remove those divots, giving it a "scalloped" effect! From what the pics show, There "appears" to be enough meat on those frets to allow a bit more life for this neck. A re-fret looks like it may be a bit dicey, but likely doable, if done very carefully. A re-planing/re-levelling/re-surfacing of the fretboard surface looks to be out of the question though!

    I suppose you "COULD" mill it down and put a new fretboard on it, but that would most certainly remove most, if not all of the acquired & accumulated Mojo!

    Best Of Luck & Keep Us Posted!
    Gene
     
    CWP0126 likes this.

  14. dkmw

    dkmw Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    62
    Mar 30, 2016
    Florida USA
    You could make it a 5-string open g neck and then you wouldn't have to worry about the low E rolling off:)
     
    Nightclub Dwight and CWP0126 like this.

  15. TwangToInfinity

    TwangToInfinity Tele-Holic

    Age:
    51
    614
    May 2, 2013
    Twangville
    was it expensive?

    yea this is probly so so wrong but- fill and build up areas with clear epoxy ! looks a mess anyways, it will be a survivor!
     
    CWP0126 likes this.

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