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How do I get Maple to look like a Fender Maple neck?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Slowtwitch, Jan 27, 2021.

  1. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    I'm doing a maple neck for a friend who doesn't want a vintage tobacco look, but rather a modern neck look.
    I don't like those necks with no coloring to it, it just looks too white/ bland for my taste, so I want to warm the color up a bit
    I don't have access to those fancy color dyes from StuMac and others, so need to make up the color myself

    But where do I start to get a light (is it) amber like Fender uses just to warm up the very white color of Maple.

    I have the basic dyes of Yellow, Black (with a blue base), Red and Green to play with

    It doesn't look like Fender dyes the wood but rather that they use the dye in their clear finish to give that bit of warmth. Is that correct?

    This is raw Maple vs my MIA Fender
    IMG_20210127_103622.jpg
     
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  2. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Try a little Minwax or other "Natural" stain in an inconspicuous place. It tends to enhance the grain without darkening much. You can even thin a small amount of it to your liking. You could also fill the grain if desired and try a clear finish that you intend to apply. It will darken the wood somewhat as well. If you have another chunk of maple from the same blank, use it for testing.

    Bottom line is the particular piece of wood you chose will effect how it takes up stain and finish.
     
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  3. ponce

    ponce Tele-Afflicted

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    You can put a coat of darker shellac before shooting nitro.
     
  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    First, wipe your raw maple with some naphtha - that will show you the approximate color under a finish like lacquer. Second, remember that as lacquer ages it turns amber - people duplicate that by adding a tiny bit of amber dye (sorry, I use that fancy stuff from StewMac). Third, there are other finishes that have an amber cast to them (that fender doesn't use) - many of the oil finishes, shellac for sure.
     
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  5. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    You didn't say if you were using lacquer or poly. If lacquer, would you be using a spray can or an airbrush?

    If poly, a spray can or wipe on?


    I did a minwax wipe on poly on an Allparts neck and it was amber enough right out of the can that it looked very Fender.

    I've also used Behlens stringed instrument lacquer out of a quart can through my airbrush.

    I put about 4 ounces of it in a clear glass jar in the sun and left it for a few weeks. It also slightly ambered all on its own without any dye.

    You can stain maple, but maple can take stain very blotchy, so be careful.

    Most shellac is already amber and it would be an excellent seal coat under either clear lacquer or clear poly.
     
  6. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    Sorry yes I should have said, I'll be shooting a Satin 2k poly. HOWEVER, in that pic above I swiped a finger of Nitro clear over the raw wood (sanded to about 220) to see what it would look like, but as you can see it didn't make much difference

    I must also add, we don't get Shellac in South Africa which is a pity
     
  7. klobasa

    klobasa Tele-Holic

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    Stain the wood by using water colors. Yes, those water color what kids (and adults) use when painting pictures to paper. Super cheap and works perfectly!

    I take a small container, add water, take a rag, mix colors to the water, and when thw color is good, stain and finally store the container for future use. Before shooting lacquer/PU, do a light sand and clean with naphta. 20200517_162815.jpg
     
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  8. somebodyelseuk

    somebodyelseuk Tele-Meister

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    Do what you were asked to do.
    Your opinion doesn't matter.
    You were asked for non tinted, do non tinted.
     
  9. Sweet Lou 275

    Sweet Lou 275 Tele-Meister

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    I will agree. There are certainly some very natural looking maple necks out there now. I personally did the same on my custom build. If your friend said he wants a more modern look and isn't worried about a vintage tint or anything, then that's what I would do. Unless someone requests something that is going to make the guitar not function correctly in form or sound, I do what they ask. Even if it is a simple neck finish. My own personal preferences are set aside. If they don't like it, they picked it.
     
  10. Billy3

    Billy3 Tele-Meister

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    If he doesn't want it to look a certain way, respect that. It doesn't matter what You want it to look like. He's the one playing the guitar. Give him what He wants. I don't think it is wise to build vicariously, especially when it comes to aesthetics. Just my two cents worth. It's nice you have a friend to build for and it's nice to build for a friend! However it goes, I bet he'll dig it! Keep on pickin!!!!!
     
  11. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    Well he doesn't want vintage, so I won't give him vintage.

    But he likes the modern Fender color as per my MIA Strat, which is not quite the color of the raw maple wood I used for the neck as you can see in the pic. The Fender is a much warmer color.

    Hence the question, but I agree if he digs the raw maple white/ reddish color, I'll finish it in that way
     
  12. 61fury

    61fury Friend of Leo's

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    Wipe on poly warmed my neck up without making it overly vintage yellow.
     
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