Roasted Maple - Gun Stock Oil or Wax?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Pax, Dec 30, 2017.


  1. Pax

    Pax Gold Supporting Member

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    Getting a lot of different opinions in my research. Maybe some of you can help straighten this out.

    I have a roasted maple neck on the way that is without a finish. Maple fretboard, too. I’ve read a finish on roasted maple is optional, but I feel like I should probably apply at least a light finish of something. Looking to apply gun stock oil. Do I need wax too? I was just going to dab a paper towel with oil, wipe it on and then quickly off with dry paper towel. Do that a few times and let it “dry” for a few days before assembly. Is that a good plan? Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Ayrton

    Ayrton Member

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    Roasted or not, I use Tru Oil.

    Baked birdseye with Tru Oil and wax.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  3. Qmax

    Qmax Member

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    I put a coat of tru oil then follow up immediately with wax. Silky smooth!
     
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  4. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    Wow. That's a beautiful piece of birdseye!

    I never put anything on roasted Maple necks. I burnish them. Makes 'em super slick without being sticky like a gloss finish would.
     
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  5. Ayrton

    Ayrton Member

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    Credit goes to Mike D'Avanzo for the build. I just told him what I wanted.

    http://davanzoguitars.com/da004
     
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  6. Pax

    Pax Gold Supporting Member

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    Awesome looking!

    Thanks for the thread link. I really like this idea. I know you said you don’t put anything on the neck after burnishing, but do you think a few coats of tru oil would would help or just a waste?
     
  7. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    I think it's a waste and wrecks the feel.

    Polymerized oils were great back in the days before modern finishes when you needed at least some nominal protection from the elements, such as one might want on a gun stock or farm/garden implements. They're still good on things that won't be handled much, like arts and crafts or hanging decorations, where durable finishes aren't required. But, musical instruments? No. Some folks use them out of desperation, since the instrument needs something on it and they can't (or sometimes won't) use something appropriate. But, on the neck? No. Not unless it's a wood that's prone to distortion. Raw Maple, Mahogany and Walnut all need hard finishes to provide a barrier between them and the environment. Few other woods suitable for neck construction do - they're stable even in the face of wildly fluctuating temperature/humidity. Roasted Maple is stabilized, so it needs nothing. Burnish it, and you will have one of the finest feeling necks you ever wrapped your paw around.
     
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  8. GA20T

    GA20T Member

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    I've been sanding my Warmoth unfinished roasted necks to 2000 since I purchased my first. Never thought of it as burnishing, but I suppose the result is the same for all practical purposes. It's the fastest, driest, smoothest feeling neck possible (that I know of). Still like Tru Oil for the heel area and headstock though as it looks similar to aged traditional lacquer.
     
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  9. supergenius365

    supergenius365 Silver Supporting Member

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    I would leave it as is, but Odie’s Oil does a nice finish.
     
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  10. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    I used to refer to it as "polishing", but in review of some fine woodworking articles, forums and whatnot, it was always referred to as "burnishing", particularly among the the wood turners. I suppose polishing implies the addition of some material, like an abrasive compound or filler of some sort. Burnishing implies a structural change in the surface without any additional material, which is probably closer to what's happening when you get to the higher grits. The surface can get so fine, particularly with harder and denser-grained woods, that it would be difficult to get any kind of stain or finish to stick even if you wanted it to.
     
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  11. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

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    I think of "burnishing" as rubbing with something hard, like a bundle of straws or a flat stone. It kind of crushes the surface, like if you roll the edge of a board with the side of a screw driver, but to a much lesser degree. Probably the result is similar to very fine abrasives. It feels like it's been polished.
     
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  12. GA20T

    GA20T Member

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    Yeah, compression. But the end result/feel is the same for a guitar neck.
     
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  13. Pax

    Pax Gold Supporting Member

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    What do you do with your fretboard?
     
  14. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    I burnish those as well, unless frets are already installed, in which case I do nothing. Not much you can do once frets are installed, other than shoot lacquer or something at it. But, to my delicate little digits, the only thing worse than a finished neck is a finished fretboard. Not that finished necks are so terrible - sometimes you don't have any choice - but I really dislike finished fretboards.
     
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  15. Crunchtime

    Crunchtime Supporting Member

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    What I have done on my last two roasted necks were to first sand down to 2500. I get a variety pack of paper in the auto supply deparment in Walmart. Then I give it a coat of tung oil. The oil may not be needed but it makes the grain pop like crazy. Then I give it two coats of Casey's gun stock wax. Looks great and silky smooth.

    Btw, if fretboard is maple I only sand the back of neck as you would never get even sanding with grain next to frets.
     
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  16. Guitarworks

    Guitarworks Member

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    [​IMG]

    I loooove finished fretboards as much as bare fretboards.
     

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