Getting down to the bare wood on an SG neck

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Whiskeyrebel, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Member

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    I've thought many times about stripping the neck on my SG and just putting mineral oil or beeswax on there. It's a late 90s Standard in cherry finish. The neck has had a repair to the base of the headstock (surprise surprise) so the ship has sailed on keeping it original or preserving its resale.

    Anybody know if there is a chemical finish remover that would allow me strip the neck without harming the binding or softening the glue joint? With appropriate masking of course. Don't know if it's laquer or poly.

    The reason I'm asking about a chemical rather than just sanding off the finish is I do not want to make the neck's cross-section any smaller, just take the finish down to the bare wood.
     
  2. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    Aren't most of the SG finishes nitrocellulose? I don't know what would be the best chemical to use in the stripping process. But I wouldn't use mineral oil on it afterward. I'd go for tung oil. You might want to google finish removal.
     
  3. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    Alcohol based strippers will easily remove the neck finish but could dissolve the bindings. I'd just sand down the back of the neck with a ultra fine 3M sanding pad and wax it. The pad will only tahe the gloss and stickiness off the finish.
     
  4. sleek

    sleek Member

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    I do this all the time...

    I am less tender than most here, though. I usually start with something with a really good edge, like a pair of scissors and scrape away the majority of the finish. If you do it right, it comes off in big strips or chunks, and your apartment doesn't end up coated in toxic dust for weeks afterwards.

    The exacto wood carving blades are nice, too, as are nice sharp chisels for sliding between the finish and the wood...

    ...THEN I use sandpaper after the heavy lifting is done.

    I love the feel of bare wood!
     
  5. tnvol

    tnvol Supporting Member

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    I sanded the finish off the back of my Faded SG neck. It feels awesome now. Not much for looks but it feels great.
     
  6. MikeVB

    MikeVB Supporting Member

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    Put a couple light coats of Tru Oil gunstock finish on the bare sanded wood. Feels like nothings on it but it protects it from dirt, moisture, etc. Thousands of instruments have been finished with tru oil.
     
  7. Julia343

    Julia343 Member

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    I used 000 steel wool on mine and took off the stickiness, then applied some Turtle Wax Ice. Much faster neck now. Pledge works too.
     
  8. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Member

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    I've used tung oil varnish although it wasn't on an instrument. It solidifies and cures to a permanent coating. I was more interested in something that will soak into the surface of wood and block any water absorption without forming a cured varnish. That's what made me think of a nondrying oil like plain USP mineral oil, or maybe Sno-Seal.

    So is there anything that will soften the nitro but not harm the binding? Or is mechanical removal the only option?
     
  9. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Supporting Member

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    You (compared to most here) have the right idea. DO NOT use abrasives (or scissors or blades) as a means to remove finish if you wish to retain the dimensions of your neck. Go to any hardware/paint supply and buy "paint stripper". Almost any type will do, as long as it is high viscosity. At the same time, purchase some cheap paint brushes, chemical-proof gloves, single-0 steel wool, some sort of rubber or plastic spatula, and some high quality masking tape. Mask the off binding overlapping the finish a 1/32" or so. Carefully paint the stripper onto the area your wish cleared of finish, stopping just short of the tape. Allow the strippper to soften the finish then scrape it off with the spatula. Follow up with single-0 steel wool (mask p.u.s entirely) and a damp rag. Repeat if necessary. Judicious scraping or sanding with a block will be required to fair in the finish left under the tape. Work in a well ventilated space, dispose of the used stripped paint, brushes, etc sensibly. You can go finer with the wool if you like. Leave it bare or apply Truoil or similar. As cautioned DO NOT use mineral oil. Sno-seal sounds like an even worse choice.
     
  10. cugel

    cugel Member

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    i sanded the neck of my agile (thickpoly) and threw some lemon oil on it
    it does feel fantastic and i am not done yet. i need to work on the boundary between finish and sand. but hell its an agile (or a-gee-lay to make it sound exotic)
     
  11. sleek

    sleek Member

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    Ya gotta really watch the binding with stripper.

    Honestly, I think you're less likely to harm it with scraping...a lot of strippers just don't work well. The only thing I have found to work universally is Jasco, and it'll eat through binding on touch!

    Even masking doesn't insure you're safe, because it'll eat through the masking adhesive as well...
     
  12. chucke99

    chucke99 Member

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    Just did the same thing with my faded SG. I started with 80 grit paper to take off the finish to bare wood, then bore down a bit more to take some thickness from the neck, then followed with 240 grit, then 600 and finally 1200 grits to get the wood to a smooth, almost glossy surface. No need to oil it or finish it. It's wonderful the way it is.
     
  13. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    Mineral oil, pledge, lemon oil, turtle wax etc. aren't the best things to use on a musical instrument. Some of these contain petroleum distillates which can dry out the woods and cause cracks. Turtle wax can contain silicone which most luthiers usually avoid. Also alcohol should never come in contact with wood. Use the best stuff. Linseed oil is what violin makers have used over the centuries. It doesn't harm wood. Tung oil is also good. These oils help protect the wood. And upon drying help create a water tight seal. Just be careful with the oil soaked rags because they can sometimes catch fire spontaneously.
     
  14. scott

    scott Member

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    Absolutley DO NOT rub the unfinshed neck with a damp rag. The last thing you want to do is get any wetness on the back of your neck. It can warp it.
    You really dont want to take the finish off of Mahogany, it needs a coated finish on it to keep it stable as a neck wood. Its not like Maple, it has pores that will fill with grime and crap. I dont recommend it.

    Never jump from 60 to 240 if you want it to look professional. You will never get all of the 60 grit scratches out with 240. You shouldnt really even have to used 60 at all unless you want to take some wood off. Id start with 120. If your carefull you wont take much wood off with 120......if your carefull. Be patient, take your time.
    You also dont really need stripped. With some elbow grease you could take the finish off with a rag and some laquer thinner. It wont eat the binding at all.
     
  15. Bruceman

    Bruceman Member

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    Uh... I love the feel of my bare wood too fella...but geeez... in public...?:knitting:knitting
     
  16. sleek

    sleek Member

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    Only if there is an audience....:rockin
     
  17. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

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    Be aware of leaving a mahoghany neck bare.
    It's much more susceptable to damage from moisture that maple is.

    I've seen some mahoghany necks that sure didn't bode well from sweat. The wood appeared to be rotting in some areas.

    Tru-Oil is a good bet to protect but still have that bare wood feeling.
     
  18. Sterling#Sound

    Sterling#Sound Member

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    Really interesting... just this week I was thinking if it would be worth sanding down the neck of my SG, which Iommi also does. If you look at the new issue of Guitarist, it shows Iommi with an SG with bare wood neck ...
     
  19. Julia343

    Julia343 Member

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    One thing to consider is that bare wood is going to be more susceptible to humidity changes. Think about that before you go all the way down to the bare wood. I just like to take the gloss off the neck.
     
  20. FlyingDutchman

    FlyingDutchman Member

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    It should also show Iommi's storage lockers with 100's of SG's so when the neck on one warps or cracks from having no finish on it, he just gets another one..
     

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