Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by rfiori9, Dec 6, 2017.
Any advice on what sandpaper to use on a neck that was previously painted by an amateur?
I had a similar deal. I may have started with 80 grit. May have been 120. Don’t remember. Think I ended with 220. Stained it and followed up with several coats of Tung oil. Turned out pretty decent.
I took the finish down on my Epi LP's and SG's neck in stages by taping off the areas I wanted to remain glossy, then using a foam sanding block first with a medium-light grit, then a very light grit, then a scotchbrite pad. Finished by polishing up with a soft towel and a very small amount of Old English. Smooth as butter - I won't play a glossy neck anymore.
Save yourself some work mask off the areas where you want to keep the existing finish, fret board etc, and strip the old paint job off with stripper. Then move to sanding. I would start with #400 and move toward #3000, and go to an auto body paint store for really good paper. Remember the courser the paper you start with the deeper the gouges you have to sand out later.
I'd start with the green kitchen scouring pad and see how durable the amateur job was.
You might just take it right off with that, easily. You might not.
I'd use 150 grit after that, and then 220 grit after that and then 400.
I wouldn't use chemicals without knowing what the amateur painter had applied.
Sanding down a neck isn't too much work. And I have done it to nearly all my instruments.
The Kitchen Scouring pad really works well, as does the foam sanding sponge. I have three
guitars with Polyurethane finishes, (two Epis and a MIM Fender). I've used the green scouring
pad to take the plasticky feel away from the backs of the necks.
It's well worth the effort IMHO. you can play it bare naked just fine, or add some tung oil
and seal it.
Now let's see some pictures.
I'd use paint stripper and start from bare wood. Tung oil is a good way to go. Too many coats can look like plastic, however. One of my first jobs as a repairman was a broken neck on an EB-0 bass. I redid it in a tung oil finish. The owner was initially upset that I didn't do a nitro refin, until he played it.
I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I didn’t over do the Tung oil. But it turned out really nice. Feels and plays great.
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