Damaged neck finish

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Mr Gunny, Apr 9, 2020.

  1. Mr Gunny

    Mr Gunny Tele-Meister

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    Just picked up an 80’s MIK Squier tele because I need a project. The neck finish is completely missing over several frets, I’m guessing I will have to refinish the entire neck and the frets are in terrible condition also. I’m a novice overall, I’ve done simple builds but never done any refinishing or fretwork etc. How would you go about repairing this neck?
    38F807CF-11EC-486E-92DE-A42CE3850665.jpeg A4169E58-E6DD-4750-9676-FB03FAFAF613.jpeg
     
  2. Blue Ass Fly

    Blue Ass Fly TDPRI Member

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    Stripping the frets , finish and then refinish,fretting and setting up (unless your confident yourself) would far out weigh the cost of replacing the neck
    Then you can spend more on some killer pickups
     
  3. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Refret it, sand before installing the new frets. ...and finish with poly. You can do that poly over the new frets if you want. I'd just do it before if you don't poly too thick.

    If you are trying to retain those frets then just scrape off the flaky poly finish in that area with a sharp razor blade or etc. Sand lightly and use some Poly to finish the repair
     
  4. ale.istotle

    ale.istotle Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    First thing is to assess the neck. Is it in good enough condition to put the effort into a restoration/repair? Is it straight? No twisting? Does the truss rod work? Can you set the relief?

    Do you want it to look 'clean' and perfect or do you want it to play well and keep some damage showing? A close-up of the missing wood from the side would be helpful. It's going to be hard to patch in fresh maple without it being obvious.

    I think you are going to need to pull all the frets and at least sand the finish off the fretboard, patch in wood where the damage is, re-cut the fret slots, refinish and do a fret job.
    If the rest of the guitar is the project you might just find a replacement neck instead.
     
  5. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Afflicted

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    Judging by the rusted frets and pithy looking wood it looks like the guitar was exposed to moisture at some point. Not good. Still, it’s probably salvageable if all else is functional and you’re willing to put in the time and effort.

    If you’ve got nothing better to do (like many of us at the moment) you could look into pulling the frets, stripping and sanding the neck, refretting, and refinishing.

    Not a small job, and a bit daunting for a novice. You’ll need to read/watch a few tutorials and invest in some tools and materials. The total cost of which will most likely outweigh the price of a direct replacement.

    But again...you said you needed a project...and if you’ve got nothing better to do.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
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  6. Mr Gunny

    Mr Gunny Tele-Meister

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    The neck is surprisingly straight and the truss rod works smoothly. I don’t have high hopes of hiding the damage but the neck still seems like it can be saved. I want to learn how to fret my own guitars so it seems like this is the perfect opportunity. I’m going to watch some videos and start a shopping list and check back with you guys before I start ordering.
     
  7. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Afflicted

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    Since you want to learn fretwork, what you've got is good material for practicing on. Be forewarned, there are specialized tools involved in refretting and they don't come cheap. I've found diamond crowning files to be worth the considerable cost if you think you're going to end up doing more than one neck.

    That picture is scary! I've never seen frets rusted like that. And the finish looks like something more sinister than water may have come in contact with that neck. Enjoy the adventure!
     
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  8. Mr Gunny

    Mr Gunny Tele-Meister

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    Scary indeed. It’s definitely a big project. I’m bored out of my mind though and willing to spend a bit on tools. I don’t have too much $ tied up in it yet, the guitar came with a Fender hardshell case for $90 so if I can get the guitar playable again I consider it a win.
     
  9. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    As part of my little setup thread I talked about fretting/refretting (post 20 and 21) and fret leveling in general (post 13)

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/basic-setup.952636/

    The rest of the procedure, once you get the new frets in and level is to spray your finish over the entire neck and fretboard - in my case or old Fenders, that would be lacquer, new ones use some sort of poly something). Once the finish has cured you need to scrape it back off the frets without mucking it up on the board itself, then repolish the frets. You will want to either mask the board or use a shield (I think I show that in the thread).

    I'll add that usually I don't work on finished maple fretboards but I have done a couple of refrets. I think they are a huge hassle and not one of Leo's better ideas.
     
  10. Mr Gunny

    Mr Gunny Tele-Meister

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    Here’s a couple of close ups of the side of the neck. I fully expect it to stand out that it’s been repaired, I’m more concerned about playability with this one.
    9C58A59C-0849-4F32-B7F2-D9F293F335AA.jpeg A903A86D-37AA-4E04-9503-D0A079B20A89.jpeg 4649BC45-A1A0-4135-95A3-E7D0F8560EDA.jpeg
     
  11. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Is that missing wood? Has something been put into it to try to fill it?

    I'm able to replace small chips in rosewood fretboards using CA but I have had absolutely no luck tying to replace missing wood - if there has been any oils used on the neck then CA is pretty much out.

    If that is missing wood your one and only option might be to pull the frets, sand the fretboard down enough to eliminate the damage, saw the slots deeper (caution, there is a truss rod lurking in there), refret it and set up from scratch. Obviously you will have slightly less overstand but you might be able to kick the neck back a a half a degree or so to get the geometry right. I have had a couple of fretboard with bad finger tip divots and the only fix was to pull the frets, sand and then refret it. Obviously you need to sand flat and level, then put the radius back in. If that board was low radius (10 or 12) you might be able to go to a higher radius like 7-1/2 - that would take more material from the edges.

    If that is some sort of filler and its staying in place, leave it and just refret.
     
  12. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    if this is a practice project, you might try a level-and-crown job on the frets first. It will give you the technique you'll need to lightly dress a set of new frets anyway.

    When it comes time to remove the frets and strip the finish, I would try a heat gun and scraper before sandpaper - less risk of damaging the wood underneath and the alternative of sanding will be expensive because with that tough poly finish you'll clog up a lot of paper and it takes a long time.
     
  13. Paulie_Boy

    Paulie_Boy Tele-Holic

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    Be sure to get a tetanus shot before touching those frets!
     
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  14. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    That wood is very restorable. Those frets look pretty low any way.
     
  15. Mr Gunny

    Mr Gunny Tele-Meister

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    I‘m leaving the current frets on for right now and getting my feet wet with crowning etc. I’ll probably re-fret the neck in the next few weeks. I was shocked how well the frets cleaned up with steel wool, you would never guess they were green before.

    I stripped the poly off with a heat gun, scraper and razor blade. Definitely put a few scratches in the wood but this thing was always going to be a relic anyways. You guys weren’t kidding, that poly finish is really stuck on there. I almost lost a couple of the plastic inlay dots to the heat gun. The damaged spot isn’t too bad with all of the finish off. Got rid of some of the discoloration just using steel wool. If I can crown the frets and they turn out ok, I may just sand the neck a bit and go with a tru oil finish.
     
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