Raw necks

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Fernando Esteves
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Raw necks

Post by Fernando Esteves »

Hello!
I know some guys leave the neck raw on Wenge, Bubinga, Rosewood, Purpleheart and such...
What is the opinion of you? Been adviced to sand up to 2000 and leave raw, but the guy is not an actual luthier, he just like to play with his own guitars, so I thought it's better to ask the pro...
Cheers
Amateur luthier from Brazil.
I'm here to learn!!!

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Barry Daniels
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Location: The Woodlands, Texas

Re: Raw necks

Post by Barry Daniels »

You can get the same effect by finishing the neck and not buffing it but leaving an ±800 grit sanded surface. The only difference is the finished neck will not adsorb moisture and dirt.
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Bob Orr
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Location: Nailsea, Nr Bristol, UK

Re: Raw necks

Post by Bob Orr »

Tru Oil gives a nice finish on a neck. A couple of coats should leave it pretty matt and stop dirt ingress. A bare neck will look pretty grubby quite soon.

Alan Carruth
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Re: Raw necks

Post by Alan Carruth »

As Barry said, you should do something to seal the wood against moisture, dirt, and non-drying oils, which are no good for wood.

Alan Carruth
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Re: Raw necks

Post by Alan Carruth »

As an example of why finishing the neck matters:

About 25 years ago somebody came by with a sweet sounding early Tele. He's a blues player, and the guitar suits his music perfectly, but he had one problem; the back of the neck was like chewing gum. He could hardly move his hand on it. The lacquer had all worn off, and the sweat and dirt built up on the bare wood. The guitar was worth about $12,000 on the vintage market then, but only if it had not been re-finished; re-laquering the neck would cut half the value, at least. He didn't want to sell it in any case, since he seriously doubted he'd find another instrument he liked as well, but he didn't want to take the hit on the value either. What we ended up doing was cleaning off the crud (with water, mostly), and French polishing over the back of the neck with shellac. This sealed the wood and made it playable again, but if he ever decided to sell he could easily remove it with alcohol without harming the lacquer finish, or impinging on the value. The FP needs to be renewed periodically, of course; it's not as hard as new lacquer, but that's a small price to pay to get your instrument back into playable shape.

You don't face the same dilemma with a guitar you've made, of course, but it does point to the utility of a finish that seals the wood.

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Fernando Esteves
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Re: Raw necks

Post by Fernando Esteves »

Thank you Alan, you are always very helpful
Amateur luthier from Brazil.
I'm here to learn!!!

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