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Thread: Unfinished maple necks - is that a disaster in waiting?????

  1. #1
    Mentor Andyxlh's Avatar
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    Unfinished maple necks - is that a disaster in waiting?????

    Hello all
    Just thought I'd ask, I have 2 guitars with unfinished maple necks. I don't mind the grot, it looks good! but I'm a bit concerned now about the longevity of the neck stability.
    One of the guitars is now 3+ years old, and still plays fine, the other is my latest bass project.
    Both are stored in dry, warm areas and are not subject to damp or huge temp changes, not sure if that helps.
    Ideally I'd like to keep the necks unfinished, they are really in keeping with the builds and feel lovely to play
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    Last edited by Andyxlh; 13-10-2021 at 11:15 AM.

  2. #2
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    An unfinished neck is more likely to lose and absorb moisture than a finished one, meaning that it's probably going to need more truss rod adjustment as a result. It's more likely to shrink after a few years, exposing sharp fret ends, which will require filing and sanding back. It may be more inclined to warp, but that probably depends on the cut of the wood and how well seasoned it was before it was made into a neck.

    The double-action truss rod helps correct any back-bow it may develop, which a single-action truss rod wouldn't do.

    There are a lot of variables at play here. Changes in temperature and humidity, any very low or very high humidity levels, the cut and quality of the wood and that particular pieces' resistance to warping, and the acidity of the player's hands.

    I really have no idea what will happen. Best case is nothing. Medium case is that it shrinks over time and the fret ends poke out. Worst case case is that it twists or develops a forward or back bow that the truss rod can't cope with.

    You wouldn't normally oil a maple neck, but that's because it's normally lacquered. But I'd be tempted to apply lemon oil or an equivalent every six months or so to help prevent against shrinkage, but I am only guessing here.

  3. #3
    Mentor Andyxlh's Avatar
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    Makes sense. Worst case scenario involves me replacing the neck which is not too costly, and clearcoating the new neck. I will try that lemon oil though.
    I did sand the necks to a very fine grit and also stained them with coffee and dirt (!), presumably sealing up some of the pores. I'm happy to take that chance and see what happens...... I'll report back.

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