Tuesday, 24 September 2002

The Project: Short-scale bass guitar - Pt 2: Stripping the neck and applying stain

Stripping the varnish from the neck was much the same procedure as it had been for the body, only this time I used masking tape to protect the fingerboard. Which turned out to be a waste of time in the eventuality, as the tape just came away when the stripping solution was applied. The varnish stripper I have been using is called Nitro Mors. It's the kind of thing that is used in furniture restoration, and it does its job very well, happily eating its way through lacquer and varnish.

Having let the Nitro Mors do its stuff, I cleaned the neck off with white spirit and set to work on it with sandpaper, and soon obtained quite a satisfactory result. The only fly in the ointment was the total Pig's Ear of a job that someone had made of trying to add their own side dot markers to the top edge of the neck. Crude holes had been drilled straight into the wood of the neck - not even into the side of the fingerboard which would have been understandable - but into the neck itself. These holes had then been badly filled in with white woodfiller or something. A real bodge job. I took a drill to these dot markers and drilled out the white woodfiller, and then used woodfiller of my own (mahogany) which when sanded afterwards made the offending holes much less visible.

Before: the neck and those
offending side-dot markers

Nitro Mors
Nitro Mors...

Varnish removing
...goes to work on the neck

Before: the headstock
The headstock as it was

The headstock being de-varnished
The headstock gets the Nitro Mors treatment

Sanding the neck
Sanding the neck

Reapplying a coloured stain
to the back of the body
and the headstock

The stain was a pain to find. Most shops I tried only seemed to stock wood stains and dyes in woody colours. I wanted a coloured colour. I was thinking blue, green, purple... something like that. Eventually I discovered that in Homebase you could get a base and have the lad in the shop add the colour of your choosing to it. Just what I wanted! So, I chose this turquoise colour. This particular woodstain is supposedly a varnish too, so I'm not sure - yet - what the effects of putting a polyurathane finish on over the top will be (as was my intention).

Having applied the first coat of stain/varnish it struck me that my translucent stained wood effect is not really going to happen. I'll need to put a second coat on, and when that's in place the finish will be opaque. It wasn't quite what I was aiming for, but still has potential to look good.

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