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

Why do I have to finish a maple neck?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Lake Placid Green, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. Lake Placid Green

    Lake Placid Green Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    106
    Sep 29, 2016
    Pennsylvania
    other neck woods apparently do fine without a finish rosewood, Pau Ferro, wenge, cocobolo, etc. so why does maple need to be finished and what would happen if I put an unfinished maple neck on my build?
     
    AngelDeville likes this.

  2. Peltogyne

    Peltogyne Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 29, 2012
    Northern California
    You can do it. It will be a bit more susceptible to moisture changes and it will get filthy.

    Many people have removed or worn off the finish and the necks survive.
     
    bradyhylla likes this.

  3. howlin

    howlin Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 19, 2007
    Who wants to know?
    It's no big. I have a maple neck with a PF neck and treated it with Tru-Oil and it's fine. Plys, every 6 mos or so I go over it with Feed 'n Wax and give it a good rub down with some 0000 steel wool.Works great!
     
    RoyBGood likes this.

  4. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    66
    Oct 22, 2006
    Garner, North Carolina
    A proper finish is a moisture barrier - reduces the chance of warping. That's a probability thing. Plenty of people get away with it. Some end up with a warped or twisted neck. I like the feel of an unfinished neck, but that's more risk than I want to take.
     
    bradyhylla likes this.

  5. Count

    Count Friend of Leo's

    Even the "unfinished" wood are sealed. Most, like Rosewood, have a natural oiliness that helps repel moisture but even that dries out with age and a "conditioner" such as lemon oil has to be used to replace the natural oil.
     

  6. Ira7

    Ira7 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    61
    Jan 8, 2008
    Coral Springs, FL
    I learned this the hard way on my recent 12-string Tele build.

    I bought a really inexpensive all maple paddle neck to drill and profile for 12, with the intention of using dye on the back. I had to apply dye and sand like 10 freaking times for it to hold the dye all over.

    Although advertised as unfinished, it sure wasn't. There was some kind of sealant/protectant in there that really went DEEP!

    It was an Eden neck, out of California, as cheap as you can get.
     

  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    Spill a beer on a raw maple board and it will soak up the liquid, buckling up frets enough to screw up the playability.
    By "finish" we think in terms of a hard layer of some plasticky product, but there are options to seal the wood without really coating the surface, like oils or wax products.
    I love an "unfinished" maple board, but not an unsealed one.
    Unsealed maple will get spot stains easily.
    Even drops of sweat could potentially seep into fret slots and swell the wood, raising the fret.
    Oily woods are already sealed against water absorption, though some are still prone to swelling and shrinking with humidity changes, which is a different story. Even thick poly won't protect a neck from humidity caused moisture content changes.
     

  8. RoyBGood

    RoyBGood Poster Extraordinaire

    A maple fingerboard seems like a lot of trouble - does it sound any different to rosewood? :lol:
     
    bradyhylla likes this.

  9. Peltogyne

    Peltogyne Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 29, 2012
    Northern California
    Yes, maple has a voiceless bilabial stop and rosewood doesn't.
     
    mhainz, Modman68, Ricky D. and 3 others like this.

  10. Danjabellza

    Danjabellza Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 22, 2014
    Pahrump, nv
    My understanding is that maple, more so than other woods used in guitar building, is susceptible to moisture/humidity changes. If you want to go unfinished with maple, you could use roasted maple. The roasting process crystallizes the sugars and saps in the maple, sealing the wood from the inside out. It's hardly susceptibile to moisture at all. Then you can sand it smooth as you like or add whatever additional sealer you like.
     

  11. Count

    Count Friend of Leo's

    Wood is a porous organic material and so will absorb moisture. As it absorbs moisture it swells. Different species will absorb more than others. As the grain swell so the timber will twist and bend. Straighter grains do this less than figured grain but they all do it. The only solution, discovered thousands of years ago, is to, once the timber is seasoned, seal it. Sealing methods are many but the all have the same end function, keep out moisture.
     

  12. wabashslim

    wabashslim Tele-Meister

    319
    Nov 26, 2005
    Warmoth of course tells you upfront they won't warranty their necks unless a hard finish is applied, preferable theirs, and tung oil & such doesn't count as a hard finish. But Carvin's built to order necks offer only tung oil or unfinished as options, no problem.
    Since I live in the southwest I think I'll skip the finish on any future Warmoth necks and just use the oil.
     

  13. Lake Placid Green

    Lake Placid Green Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    106
    Sep 29, 2016
    Pennsylvania
    Part of what led me to this question is that Warmoth WILL warranty unfinished necks if they are the woods I named in the post. And most definitely won't warranty unfinished maple
     

  14. wabashslim

    wabashslim Tele-Meister

    319
    Nov 26, 2005
    Right, I should have specified maple.
     

  15. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    As mentioned above these have natural oils and are regularly treated with fretboard-specific oils as part of regular maintenance. Maple does not have the same porosity and would discolor due to the light color.

    Trouble *how*? Finished necks generally take decades to "wear through" - if they ever do at all. finished maple fretboards are actually easier to clean than rosewood and other "natural" boards.

    Yes, they sound different - but it's a subtle difference. Simply Google the subject.
     

  16. RoyBGood

    RoyBGood Poster Extraordinaire

    I was being flippant re the sonic differences...
     

  17. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Jun 11, 2010
    Montana
    Flippant or not, I thought it was very insightful.
     

  18. bradyhylla

    bradyhylla TDPRI Member

    Age:
    30
    4
    Dec 8, 2016
    Minneapolis, MN
    Maple FB might be easy to clean once finished, but there a pain in the add until finished. They get grubby fast, and they show absolutely ever imperfection and mistake. And forget detailed inlays cuz maple dust filler and ca glue is horrendous. IMO Ebony and Rose wood is much easier to work with and WELL worth the extra few dollars
     

  19. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Uhh - that's WHY it's normally finished...unlike ebony and rosewood. They are completely different materials.

    It might be worth your time to do some studying up on woods used in guitar construction.
     
    flyingbanana likes this.

  20. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

    Order up a roasted maple neck, then just go about your day. They don't require a finish...although I'd apply a minimal coating of something anyway.

    In my opinion, people everywhere have lost the desire to work towards something. The decline of civilization is an entitled mentality of wanting something for nothing. Sad really.
     

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