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Thread: French Polishing?

  1. #11
    Mentor Marcel's Avatar
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    Apr 2017
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    My personal preference on necks I do myself is for 3 or 4 coats of Tru-oil. I sand the neck until it feels the way I want and then apply one coat a day until I'm satisfied that the neck is playable. If the "feel" changes then I sand again and then start over with the oil. Over half of my collection have Tru-oil necks.

    On Poly finished necks I use spray cans. Tendency is to use Satin finish clear poly as I personally get better feeling results when the neck is played. When I do gloss poly finishes it never seems to feel right in the hand when done and inevitably I end up refinishing the neck in satin. I blame the products I use more than the actual finish type.

    I've done one painted neck. Results were barely a pass for me until I sanded the paint and got a relic/well used played appearance with lots of Maple showing through. A few swipes of Tru-oil and a light buff restored the feel of that neck.

    The Shellac neck on the ES-1TL requires constant attention to maintain its feel. If played regular it settles down, but if the guitar sits for a few months then some neck prep is required before playing. A rub down with furniture oil makes a huge difference, though you will initially get a greasy feeling on your hands when playing due the oil rubbing off. The feel once settled is similar to a satin poly neck. I applied the Shellac in long stokes up and down the neck, not in typical tiny french polishing circles as done on the body.

    On my store bought guitars and necks I have never made any changes. My LP and PRS have gloss necks and the Fender strat has a satin/matt neck. For me they all feel fine, and all have improved the more I play them. It is interesting to see on the LP the variations across the neck due where my hand spends most of its time and where it doesn't. I suppose I'm lucky that the skin on my hands doesn't 'stick' to the glossier finishes... and also I'm fine with lifting my hand clear of the neck when moving a number of frets up or down the neck (which also stops annoying string squeak).
    Builds-
    #16 PBG IB-1Q http://www.buildyourownguitar.com.au...ead.php?t=8754
    #15 PBG TLA-12 http://www.buildyourownguitar.com.au...ead.php?t=8444
    #14 PBG PRS-1H http://www.buildyourownguitar.com.au...ead.php?t=8021
    #13 PBG SGM-1 http://www.buildyourownguitar.com.au...ead.php?t=7771
    #12 PBG JK-2
    #11 Scratch build AC15 clone head
    #10 PBG RCM-4F
    #09 PBG ES-1TL
    #07 partscaster Alder Denim Tele.

  2. #12
    I too have several necks (and one body) that I've finished with Tru Oil. It's a great product and delivers a very nice finish.

    As for gloss vs satin, I've done (and owned) both. The thing a lot of people don't know is you can go either way with either finish.
    Wha???

    What I mean is you can make gloss finish satin, and a satin finish gloss (to a degree). If you have a gloss neck that you don't like the feel of, all you need to do is "de-gloss" it with a Scotch-Brite pad (or similar - not sand paper!). Alternatively, a satin finished neck (or body) can be buffed and polished to a gloss. Granted, with the latter, the gloss isn't as "deep" as multiple coats of a gloss clear coat, but it still looks good IMO.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

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