maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

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Jean-Philippe regnard
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maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

Post by Jean-Philippe regnard »

Hi,
I’m building my first own guitar and I bought an unfinished maple guitar neck (neck and fretboard).
To finish it, I would like to use tru oil. However, maple fretboard needs to be protected by an waterproof layer to avoid dirty stain on the wood. Tru oil is not a real oil because it became hard but can it provide a sufficient protective layer for maple?
If it’s not the case, can apply tru oil just on the neck part and use acrylic or polyurethane lacquer for the fretboard? Personally, I don’t seed any difficulties but perhaps I’m too confident.
Has anyone ever done that?
Thank you for your answers.

Gordon Bellerose
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Re: maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

Post by Gordon Bellerose »

I thought we covered this already, but perhaps it's my bad memory.

I would use Poly X Oil, for the fretboard, and it can be used for the back of the neck also.
It can be wiped, brushed, or sprayed.
It dries waterproof, hard and clear, but does not have a build up that will chip, scratch, or flake.

One or two coats are all that is necessary.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!

Jean-Philippe regnard
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Re: maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

Post by Jean-Philippe regnard »

ok, so i guess that it means that tru oil is a bad idea for the maple fretboard.
is it right?

Brian Evans
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Re: maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

Post by Brian Evans »

Tru Oil is a true oil finish, it just dries and cross-links to form a hard coat. It's been used on fretboards for years. Musicman apparently used it on production guitars.

Freeman Keller
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Re: maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

Post by Freeman Keller »

As Brian says, Tru-Oil is a very popular finish for necks, even on guitars where the body or other parts are finished differently. Many people prefer the feel over lacquer or some of the "sticky" feeling finishes. You are correct that the maple f/b needs some sort of protection - that is usually lacquer which is scraped off the frets, but I see no reason Tru-Oil couldn't be used for that also. If you decide to use different finishes on the back and f/b you'll have the interface to deal with but that shouldn't be too much of a problem. Remember that people finish their entire guitar in Tru-Oil

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

One advantage to drying oils is that they can be renewed periodically by top coating the old finish without the need to remove it.

David King
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Re: maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

Post by David King »

Tru-Oil doesn't really cross link however and isn't ever likely to be a totally moisture resistant barrier. Sweat can strip it off pretty quickly.

Jean-Philippe regnard
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Re: maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

Post by Jean-Philippe regnard »

Ok,
so there is two groups here; those who say that the tru oil protects the maple fretboard from stain and those who say no.
I made some additional research and it seems that if i want to keep my maple fretboard, i have to maintain it by cleaning up. That's pretty logical.
It seems that maple fretboard finised by tru oil can turn stained.
however, because it becomes hard, I do not see why it will not protect the handle properly.
Is it possible that when this happens it is because of a bad application of the product at the junction of the wood and the base of the fret?
Tru oil is currently applied with a piece of cloth, it must not be obvious to put in this area no?

Chris Reed
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Re: maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

Post by Chris Reed »

Tru Oil has worked nicely on necks I have made.

However, it is not very resistant to abrasion. On a fretboard, fingernails often dig into the surface, and I think Tru Oil would soon wear away there.

So I'd choose a polyurethane varnish, and a hard one, for this fretboard. You could thin it to make wiping varnish and then wipe it on - 2 or 3 coats should be enough.

Whether you then use that for the back of the neck, or Tru Oil instead, is your choice. Tru Oil feels nicer to play (to me).

Brian Evans
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Re: maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

Post by Brian Evans »

I personally am about to finish a maple neck, maple fretboard and I'm just going to spray EM6000 lacquer. If it stains, it's patina and at least the guy plays it.

Jean-Philippe regnard
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Re: maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

Post by Jean-Philippe regnard »

What a chance!!
It's the same lacquer that i'll use for the solid body (EM6000).
It will be useful for me to use it for the fretboard.
However, EM6000 is an acrylic lacquer, i don't know if it's a hard when dry.
Does anybody used it for neck, especially fretboard, and have an experience with it?
Brian maybe?

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Bob Gramann
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Re: maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

Post by Bob Gramann »

I have used and continue to use EM 6000 extensively. It’s soft. I buff and polish it by hand. I would not recommend it for the fingerboard. Target Coatings sells a crosslinker for it that may make it tougher, but I have no experience with that.

A couple of decades ago, I was under the impression that the water based finishes wouldn’t do well on the neck shaft, so I experimented with oil base varnishes. None if them would hold up under my playing. Player sweat and friction would break it down in very few months. Target Coatings was then selling “Premium Spray Lacquer (PSL),” and it didn’t hold up very well either. PSL became “ Ultimate Spray Lacquer (USL).” That seemed to hold up under my playing. The EM 6000 is the modern version of that. I don’t dissolve it, but one of my customers, who does 200 gigs a year and teaches, has really put it to the test. His chemistry overwhelms it. In addition to his corrosive sweat, I suspect that he spilled some alcohol on it, or maybe even played it when he was coated with bug spray. Fortunately, he doesn’t mind that his guitar looks like it’s been used a lot.

In other words, for most applications, the EM6000 is fine. I buy it in gallons and seldom use any other finish. For the fingerboard surface, I think it will wear away quickly. Years ago, I tried KTM-9. If it were still available, it would probably work well for the fingerboard. I didn’t like it because it was hard enough that buffing it out took a long time. And, it was hard enough to be brittle. Tightening the tuner nut on the peghead caused the finish to crack. I didn’t buy a second can.

Jean-Philippe regnard
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Re: maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

Post by Jean-Philippe regnard »

Bob Gramann wrote:I have used and continue to use EM 6000 extensively. It’s soft. I buff and polish it by hand. I would not recommend it for the fingerboard. Target Coatings sells a crosslinker for it that may make it tougher, but I have no experience with that.

A couple of decades ago, I was under the impression that the water based finishes wouldn’t do well on the neck shaft, so I experimented with oil base varnishes. None if them would hold up under my playing. Player sweat and friction would break it down in very few months. Target Coatings was then selling “Premium Spray Lacquer (PSL),” and it didn’t hold up very well either. PSL became “ Ultimate Spray Lacquer (USL).” That seemed to hold up under my playing. The EM 6000 is the modern version of that. I don’t dissolve it, but one of my customers, who does 200 gigs a year and teaches, has really put it to the test. His chemistry overwhelms it. In addition to his corrosive sweat, I suspect that he spilled some alcohol on it, or maybe even played it when he was coated with bug spray. Fortunately, he doesn’t mind that his guitar looks like it’s been used a lot.

In other words, for most applications, the EM6000 is fine. I buy it in gallons and seldom use any other finish. For the fingerboard surface, I think it will wear away quickly. Years ago, I tried KTM-9. If it were still available, it would probably work well for the fingerboard. I didn’t like it because it was hard enough that buffing it out took a long time. And, it was hard enough to be brittle. Tightening the tuner nut on the peghead caused the finish to crack. I didn’t buy a second can.
Hi,
I know that I deviate a little from the subject but how much of EM6000 is it necessary for a guitar body?
I have two choice: 1/4 gallon or 1 gallon.
Thank you for your answer.

Jean-Philippe regnard
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Re: maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

Post by Jean-Philippe regnard »

For the fretboard, i think i'm gonns try the SuperClear 9000 WB Polyurethane by Emyech.
In addition, it's a non-yellowing laquer.
I just asking me where a make the junction between the two finis (tru oil / laquer)?

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Bob Gramann
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Re: maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

Post by Bob Gramann »

I usually get 2 to 4 guitars out of a quart of EM6000. It depends on how many coats you use and how much you waste. I’m thinking that I usually get 4, but I’ve been buying it by the gallon for so long, it’s hard to for me to remember. I pour the gallons into 4 Mason jars and just open the next when I finish the last. I don’t count.

Jean-Philippe regnard
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Re: maple neck - use different finishing for neck and fretboard

Post by Jean-Philippe regnard »

Perfect,
i just wanted to know if with on quart of EM6000 i was able to make one guitar.
So i got my answer.
Thanks

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