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I Messed Up: Help Match My Headstock to My Neck

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by heyslowfinger, Nov 18, 2020.

  1. heyslowfinger

    heyslowfinger TDPRI Member

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    Hi all. Long time lurker, first time posting.

    TL;DR: Sanded down the headstock of an Allparts Polyurethane Vintage Tinted neck (TMVF) to bare wood. Need guidance on how to approach re-finishing/matching the color to the neck.


    Backstory:
    Working on my first tele partscaster. Ordered an Allparts neck, applied a waterslide decal, BUT ultimately was not happy with it (I failed to flatten the headstock area, and the decal never sit flush on the wood, leaving a very noticeable white film appearance). Unfortunately, I thought this would go away after applying my Minwax Poly Satin Clear (but it never did).

    After everything dried and cured, the decal appearance kept bugging me so I decided to start over. I sanded until I was able to remove the decal, BUT it left a really bad outline. Decided to sand some more around the area but ended up sanding through my bottom clear, exposing the maple wood. Everything went wrong.:(

    At this point, all I could do was sand the entire face of the headstock back to bare wood.


    The Question:
    How would you gurus approach getting this headstock back to a near matching color?
    The picture below shows the current state it is in.

    Dyes, Tints, Tinted Poly? Any particular color/mixture/product that you think could match well?

    *Would I need to stay away from the Nitro route on this one? Was eyeballing StewMacs "Aged Clear".

    Any help would be appreciated!

    Neck2.jpg Neck1.jpg
     
  2. Wulf

    Wulf Tele-Afflicted

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    I have tinted with cold strong black (no milk) tea...dont drink the stuff...tea is like dishwatta...but only whole necks. you could give that a try.
    another alternative is to match your headstock face to the body colour...or do it black...that actually doesnt look bad on these necks.if you have any spare lumps o wood lying about try on there first with anything you use...preferably maple...it doesnt stain well and caution is always best.
    ive also used rustins wood dye on builds but its easy to make a hogs botty of it.
    be interesting to hear how you get on with that one
     
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  3. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    If that were me, and if that is down to bare wood, I would probably start with a seal coat of shellac.

    Then on another piece of maple scrap, I would copy the process. I would then add some honey/amber trans tint die to some shellac until I matched the color. Then when the scrap looks good I would apply that mix on the headstock.

    Then I would probably use wipe on poly on the face of the headstock. Poly will stick to shellac.

    I have the shellac, dye and poly so it's easy for me, but that's a lot of expense to repair it yourself.
     
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  4. Wulf

    Wulf Tele-Afflicted

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    Had same prob...my solution there.
    that wood just wouldnt stain well...kept going patchy//almost like leopard or cheetah... 20200512_235753.jpg
     
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  5. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    As for the decal, it needs to be on a gloss surface or it will "silver".

    WARNING!!!! Either LEAVE the decal on top of the finish, or spray clear lacquer over the decal/poly to seal it. Do NOT wipe poly on over the decal as the solvent in the wipe on poly will take the ink right off the decal!
     
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  6. Wulf

    Wulf Tele-Afflicted

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    I didnt use a decal for the same reason...i engraved WULF in runes instead
     
  7. Wulf

    Wulf Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks for the like on that...its a pimped up Hodson Surfcat. left the neck bare wood...just waxed it...body is alder with rustins dark walnut and a bit of red car wax...left to dry for 3 months and buffed...back and sides are black...relicd and buffed to look as old as the gods themselves headstock took about 8 coats of rustins ebony before it went black ..you can still see woodgrain through it
    Surf green when i got it with mint guard and 3 strat like pups...guard is sprayed black...as are the screws...theres a pickup hole between those HB P90s
    big brass block with integral brass plate and steel saddles. earthed straight to block...no claw screws or springs
     
  8. Chuckboy

    Chuckboy Tele-Meister

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    Poly on the face of the head stock. Add amber tint. Lay down layers until you get the color you like. Then add the decal and finsih with several layers of clear. Buff-areno.
     
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  9. heyslowfinger

    heyslowfinger TDPRI Member

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    My process was:

    Seal the original headstock with Aerosol Spray - Minwax Satin Poly Clear (light coat)
    Sand/Level
    Seal the Decal with the Poly Clear (light coat)
    Waited 24hrs
    Cut and Apply the Decal
    Wait 24hrs
    Seal decal to headstock surface with Poly Clear
    Sand in between coats
    Build Up
    Finish

    Unfortunately, I don't think I leveled the surface enough before starting, hence the "silvering".
    Maybe could have used Vinegar or a Decal Micro Sol to have it conform better?

    The good news was the decal edges were feathered. Non-Existent.
    Too bad everything else happened.
     
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  10. heyslowfinger

    heyslowfinger TDPRI Member

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    Your axe came out great! The patience needed to let it sit there, being unplayed is brutal. Worth it in the end!

    In my case, I'm trying to keep a stock 50's aged neck look, so I think I will have to play around with some different approaches to get it to match again.
     
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  11. Wulf

    Wulf Tele-Afflicted

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    Keep us all up to date ! be interesting to know how you get there
    and thanks for the compliment on the axe.
    i grumbled to the supplier about a minor flaw...nothing much...thought i would try my luck...they sent me another and said to keep that one...winwin
    other one is all black with gold HS filtertrons in it....same black headstock...much thicker neck and a nice maple fretboard its not up n running yet...in bits along with a few others im doing.
    will show it here when its done though
     
  12. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    I am/was really into scale modeling, so decals are my thing. MicroSet, MicroSol and/or Solvaset are excellent products. Even lacquer itself can be an excellent solution, but THAT you have to be really careful with.

    The problem may have been the satin coat. Even though you had gloss over it, satin and flat are created by adding something to break up the reflectance. (An old modeling trick is to use talc to make gloss paint flat, but talc isn't talc anymore, it's cornstarch thanks to cancer.)

    Anyway, silvering isn't just about the gloss, it's about the smooth. So if the satin coat had very fine (incredibly fine) micro bumps which are there to break up the reflectance, it also may be what caused silvering of the decal.
     
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  13. heyslowfinger

    heyslowfinger TDPRI Member

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    This is the approach I'm leaning towards. Trying to do some research on which Tint to use (TransTint or Maybe StewMac Color tone) and the colors I would need to mix.

    After applying my Poly seal on the headstock, how would you advise I apply the tint? As in, which mixture should I approach? Water + Tint, Tru-Oil + Tint?
     
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  14. Wulf

    Wulf Tele-Afflicted

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    that lil3/4 is one i rescued. its got the thinnest possible finish on it...just enough so it doent get the wood black. put a bone saddle a refret and stone down...gone from an insult to firewood to a lovely bright loud and lovely playing flamenco...very low action for a nylon strung...it gets that sizzle when you play it hard..fingerstyle only took all the factory gunk off it...i think it was done in tractor factory spray shop...the neck and maple bridge were in some rubberized black crud...no wonder it sounded bad. 20201117_030027.jpg
     
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  15. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    I mixed Transtint Honey Amber with 90% isopropyl to tint a raw neck, then finished with Tru-Oil. It was my first try, and I was quite impressed (if I do say so myself). The trick is many, many light coats. You won't see a change at first, but it builds slowly with the coats.
     
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  16. heyslowfinger

    heyslowfinger TDPRI Member

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    That's actually an interesting point. Never thought about the consistency of the satin being the issue. So for my next attempt, think I can get away with applying the Satin (and sanding better) and having better results using the MicroSol/MicroSet to make the decal conform?

    Thanks for the tip! I'm eyeballing the TransTint colors, and am on the fence between a few. My neck has hints of brown, so wondering if I'd need to mix in two colors.

    I also emailed Allparts about the situation and what their approach would be. Waiting to hear back.
     
  17. Wulf

    Wulf Tele-Afflicted

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    patience is the key word doing these things isnt it...if you try and rush to get a quick result it usually (not always) ends in dissapointment...even if no one else sees the booboo...we know its there....and grrrr....like a tiny flaw in wallpaper...your eyes are straight on it
     
  18. Wulf

    Wulf Tele-Afflicted

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    I was too for many years...started out doing that with my granddad....he was a stickler and a perfectionist
    Learned engineering when he was at Avro ..making lancaster bombers...he ended up being one of the top model yacht racers in the world and died in a boating accident when i was 17...decals were his thing...and micro engineering..tiny lathes and such...if he bought something he always did what he could to improve it...i think its rubbed off on me
     
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  19. heyslowfinger

    heyslowfinger TDPRI Member

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    UPDATE 1:

    Allparts rep has responded to my situation.

    I responded and asked about adding a decal over the tung oil, then adding a Poly clear finish. This was the response

    This doesn't sound right, so I will ask here:

    1. Can I apply a decal over the Tung Oil finish, then seal with Satin Poly Clear (Aerosol)?
    2. Is it better to coat the Tung Oil with a Gloss Poly Clear (so the decal sits better) THEN bury it with Satin finish?

    I have seen conflicting discussions that Tung Oil should not be coated with anything.

    I have also see comments that my decal should be sealed with the same Tung Oil (BUT that will continue to darken the headstock, which I do not want once I reach my desired look).

    Thoughts?
     
  20. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Holic

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    I've applied a half dozen or so decals over satin. Never had a problem. If you soak the decal too long, the backing paper begins to dissolve and you get a milky haze on the clear part of the decal.

    On your headstock I would just give it a quick wipe with Minwax Golden Pecan 245 penetrating stain which should be a pretty good match. Second coat to darken or wipe with mineral spirits to lighten if needed. You can sand it back in a couple spots to match the "wear" on your fretboard. Top it with the clear lacquer of your choice to match the gloss level of the neck. Sometimes simpler is better.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
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