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Help needed choosing toner for 50s Vintera Modified neck refinish

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by joulupukki, Nov 26, 2020.

  1. joulupukki

    joulupukki TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for anyone who might help me get this figured out...

    I recently bought a 50s Vintera Modified Telecaster in Daphne Blue. I replaced the black pick guard with a white one. Surprisingly the frets are perfectly level and I don't have to do any work there.

    The one main issue I have with it is that the fretboard edges are really sharp. I'd like to roll the fretboard edges and clean up the edges of the frets like what Dan @ StewMac does in this video:

    However, it appears that this particular neck has a bit of toner in it. I think if it was roasted, the color would be uniform throughout, but just to be sure, I removed the neck and used a tiny file to take of the smallest amount of wood off the corner at the heel (where it meets the body). Sure enough, once the finish is off, it's showing bright light-colored maple wood.

    I'm guessing I need to get one of these toners: https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-too...tints-and-stains/colortone-liquid-stains.html

    My thought is that once I roll the edges and clean up the frets, I would then apply the toner in diluted denatured alcohol (like is done in this video:) and then use a satin wipe-on poly to seal it all up.

    The question is, which one of these colors would I need to use? Any help/recommendations?




     
  2. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    Neither one of those colors is a match.

    The search needs to continue :) . . . . .
     
  3. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Buy a piece of rock maple. Sand it to 320 or so. Start experimenting with your stains just like Dan does in the video. Its going to be very hard to blend the color from the original stain into the new stain and then match the finish.

    In that vid Dan has the entire fretboard to stain, not just little edge that you are going to roll. Remember too that stains can be very unforgiving - if you screw up you can't just sand it off.

    You probably better test the finish also. If it happens to be lacquer you are in business, you can over spray more lacquer and it will melt into the old stuff. You can also tint your lacquer - old stuff from the '50's would have aged that lovely amber color.

    If its poly I'll let you work that out for yourself. I've learned that I can't repair poly finishes to my satisfaction - I warn people of that and frequently won't even try.

    Last comment, the frets are at least partially finished over, then the crowns are scraped. When you start rolling the edge of your f/b you will need to facet the ends of the frets, probably damaging the finish. I've quit refretting maple fretboards because its just too much of a hassle dealing with the finish.
     
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  4. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    My guess is that you will need to buy two and mix them. You may want to contact S/M and see what they suggest. I doubt you will ever get a perfect match, but the area you are refinishing will not be huge.

    You can try various wood stains, and they are OK, but you likely will still need to mix them. Get yourself some rock maple and sand it smooth like your neck, then test your samples. It takes forever.

    Another option is to try Mixol Universal Tints.

    https://www.mixol.com/t-tinting/20-ml-bottles/22-125.html


    upload_2020-11-26_15-36-19.jpeg



    They are much cheaper, but are a powder. You use them as a STAIN, mixed with denatured alcohol and applied to raw wood. Then you finish over them. I tried to put them in my wipe-on poly, but they didn't mix. You will likely need the toner tints for that.

    I purchased #6 Maize Yellow and #5 Oxide Yellow and mixed them. It wasn't a perfect match, but I didn't spend allotta time on it. I was trying to match a 74 Fender neck after I had to sand the fingerboard. But my headstock (lacquer) and neck (poly) were two different shades anyway, so I tried to match the neck. I used clear Minwax Fast-drying wipe-on Semi-gloss poly.


    upload_2020-11-26_15-48-58.jpeg


    upload_2020-11-26_15-49-32.jpeg



    It certainly looks like a refinished fingerboard, but I was too cheap to use the toners. I did get a pretty good match with the neck, but obviously not the headstock. I sent a note to S/M stating they should sell smaller bottles. One bottle would last me several lifetimes, and I would need at least two! Perhaps someday I will redo it, but likely not in this lifetime.
     
  5. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I agree. I rolled my neck even more, but I was also doing a complete refret. The OP may want to consider just polishing the frets and fret ends a little, then assessing. If that isn't going to work, I would shop for a new neck made to his specs and sell the original online. Rolling the neck, if done perfectly, is going to be time-consuming, careful work - AT BEST! Or he could end up with a mess.
     
  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'll be absolutely honest. If I was going to do any carving or reshaping on a neck I would simply strip and refinish it whatever color I wanted after I had the frets perfect.
     
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  7. joulupukki

    joulupukki TDPRI Member

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    Yeah, I think y’all have convinced me to take a step back from this project. I think what Boreas suggested (sell the neck and look for a replacement) might be a better route to go. Obviously sanding the edges and cleaning up the fret ends would be simple in comparison to matching the original finish ... and then trying to deal with getting a smooth transition with a poly finish.

    Thank you so much for the help! The neck is a little more chunky than the Ultra Tele I have (which has great rolled edges), but I can get along with it. I’ll clean up the fret ends and see how it goes from there.
     
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  8. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    This is part of the reason I prefer rosewood fretboards. Perhaps once you polish the fret ends, you will grow to like the neck. It certainly looks nice!! Good luck!
     
  9. joulupukki

    joulupukki TDPRI Member

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    Yeah, I have an older Deluxe Tele with the rosewood fretboard but love the look of the Daphne Blue with a maple neck and had to try it out. I’ll report on how cleaning up the fret sprout turns out.
     
  10. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    Rockler sells a tint called honey amber and it will probably be very close.

    https://www.rockler.com/transtint-dyes

    You need to be careful straining maple though as it can come out very blotchy.

    Maybe one seal coat of shellac? Maybe even tint the shellac.

    This is the result I got

    20200902_111109.jpg
     
  11. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'll just add one more comment to this. Almost all of my guitars have mahogany necks with rosewood or ebony fretboards. I recently did a refret on a friends J-bass with a maple neck. Dealing with the finish on the fretboard was such a hassle that I swore I would never do another - someone else can have the headache. And it wasn't even a poly neck - I made sure it was lacquer before I started. I did a thread on it if you are interested

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/refretting-a-lacquered-fretboard.1025026/
     
  12. joulupukki

    joulupukki TDPRI Member

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    Wow. Well, I guess I didn’t think it through when I recently bought two new Teles with a maple neck. I hadn’t ever had one before and so I kinda wanted to get one. Well, they look cool at least. The dark blue Ultra (in my avatar) plays so well I probably won’t get rid of it. I shimmed the neck with a thin piece of cereal box cardboard so that the vibramate + Bigsby would have a better break angle over the saddles (to prevent the weird buzzing) and it’s so nice. Very stable tuning/etc. But yeah, too bad it doesn’t have EVO or stainless frets on it so I won’t have to deal with a re-fret at some point.

    Freeman, that refret job on the bass looks pretty involved I guess if I ever have to do that, I’ll deal with it when I cross that point. Looks like I would probably just want to sand down the entire fretboard and start fresh.

    Ok, on this Daphne blue 50s mod I did take the time and file down the fret sprout last night and it’s definitely an improvement. I now need to change it from 9s to 10s (string gauge) so I can really get a better feel for the string gauge I like. Unfortunately, I probably won’t be messing with rounding the f/b edges. It may be on the way out soon I guess. Fun guitar to tinker on though.
     
  13. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    As far as maple fretboards and one piece necks, I understand why Leo did it and I choose not to. I did that refret for a friend and just simply won't do another. I also don't refret boards that have been side fretted or binding with nibs - others are willing to do them and charge the big bucks, fortunately I don't have to.

    I do build a lot of necks however, many of them bound. I always leave a very defined edge, even tho I thumb fret. Its just what I expect to see and feel on a guitar neck.

    Hope you get them playing the way you want.
     
  14. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Holic

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    I miss the old "tester packets" Valspar and Minwax used to sell for $.99. you could pick up a half dozen shades and find one to your liking or a suitable mix. The Mixol pigments look like a no brainer for a touch up but the prices are crazy for a one-time use, especially if you need to mix multiple colors to get a match.

    I would roll the edge, purchase an amber lacquer toner and an inexpensive Badger or Harbor airbrush w. propellant can to build the color up and blend it evenly onto the existing following with a light coat of Mohawk UltraFlo Clear Lacquer which does a really good job of blending with the poly finish. With an airbrush, masking is not needed. You can practice on the inside of the neck heel if you want, but it's pretty easy to do.

    If you look at your pics, you already have a highlight along the edge of the fretboard from the slight bevel anyway. The rolling will show as a wider highlight and will always look slightly different than the neck or fretboard anyway. It's actually a simple fix.

    You can even do this without over-spraying the entire neck and fretboard even if you just used rattle cans by "back-masking". You roll a length of tape around a soda straw sticky side out into a tube shape and place it along the sanded edge leaving a small blend area. This allows you to spray with a rattle can and not build a heavy edge or show a masking line along the sanded edge.

    The soft edge feathers the lacquer out making the transition into the existing finish almost invisible. Light hand polishing will make it a seamless repair. The UltraFlo Lacquer flows out very thin and leaves an almost undetectable edge where it overlaps the original finish.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
  15. joulupukki

    joulupukki TDPRI Member

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    This neck (besides the narrow-tall frets) would be great, but it looks like you can only buy it from the Fender Mod Shop as part of a full guitar order. Hmm.
    upload_2020-11-29_14-53-41.png
     
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  16. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Warmoth will make you a roasted maple neck with any options you want. They will also warn you about the potential of cracking the tuner holes.
     
  17. joulupukki

    joulupukki TDPRI Member

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    Oh interesting. Is a torrefied neck more brittle? ...or is it gonna be fine if you are careful when installing the tuning machines?
     
  18. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Ken Warmoth was quoted in an interview in American Lutherie as saying that they tell people to ream their tuner holes to fit the bushings and it was particularly important with roasted necks. They apparently include instructions to this end with their necks. There was also a couple of folks on the DIY forum who split their heads - one admitted he hadn't read the instructions. I have no experience, just passing along...
     
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