Operation: Newb Strat Neck Relic Refinish (pic heavy)

bad alice

Easily distracted and...OHLOOKAGUITAR!!!
I love the way the maple neck/fb on Max feels and plays but I’ve always wished it had more of a vintage tint about it. So, Santa, being the obliging fella that he is, delivered these from Crimson Guitars on Xmas Day. However, the combination of a chest infection plus associated maxed out can’t-be-arsed-to-do-much-of-anything levels meant that this project has been bumped till...TA DA! Last night! My plan is to sand, stain and then oil finish. Having never done anything like this before the possibility of things going pear shaped is real. However, as I can sand away any cock ups - a PITA but definitely doable - the level of “utter destruction risk” feels mercifully low.
Game on then!
Stage 1: Here’s the stains and finishing oil from Crimson...
And bonus chuckle points for the entertaining instructions...

Stage 2: take neck off. Then remove all hardware and mask off areas, including the nut, that I don’t want sanded or stained...for hopefully max cool relic look...

Stage 3: it’s sanding central a go go over at The Syretts! Started with 180 grit to get through the oil/gunk barrier and take it down to the wood. I’ll go again with 320 and then go over the fingerboard with 410 to finish. Here’s a halfway through pic...
The nut was pretty loose and removable with my fingers so I’ve taken it off and put it away safely. And 40mins later...
There’s a couple of small marks on the bottom edge of the headstock but seeing as this neck is going on a relicked guitar anyway I’m quite happy to leave them be...
I got in pretty tight on the frets and took a chance on not masking them off - I’m going to polish them after the staining/oiling is done - and was super careful. Think I got pretty lucky with how it’s turned out...

Sanding finished! I decided to leave the end of the heel alone as I couldn’t find a way to properly mask off the truss rod access plus the heel fits nice and snu (and, crucially, isn’t visible when the neck is attached) so all good. I used 320 grit all over bar the fretboard where I gave it a smooth out with 400 then 600grit. I’ve given the neck a good wipe with a damp microfibre cloth to remove all sanding dust and then resanded to remove any raised wood fibres. Going to leave it to sit till later in today so it’s fully dry and ready for *gulp* staining!
Now to watch and rewatch some Crimson Guitar vids - and some others too - on staining so I minimise the chances of making a royal ARSE of it.
Also, DEFO worth another mention is that I’ve FINALLY found a legit use for that weird clip on accessory doo dah you get included in the box when you buy a new toaster.
*mic drop*
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bad alice

Easily distracted and...OHLOOKAGUITAR!!!
Forgot to add that I still have a Chinese vintage tint Tele neck kicking around so I’m going to use that a tone guide.
I want a lighter, more yellow finish than it has so hopefully it help me figure out the colour/intensity of stain I end up with.
Here’s the sanded Strat neck and the Tele neck side by side to illustrate what I mean...
Back later...

bad alice

Easily distracted and...OHLOOKAGUITAR!!!
Some mixing of stains happened - turnsout a more dilute version of Crimson’s yellow stain was what I was after - and then a folded rag upwas used for application
Btw as I didn’t have a spare piece of maple to hand I used the neck heel to test the colour.
Anyway, now the neck is drying for a bit while I have some lunch.
Here it is with the darker Tele neckfor comparison.
And yes, I remembered to wear gloves!:D
I think I might have a bash at giving the fretboard a big if a relic look
Better cross those fingers eh?

bad alice

Easily distracted and...OHLOOKAGUITAR!!!
Okay, so my foray into making a neck look old has begun with a watercolour paintbrush and neat amber stain to accent the darker tint around the frets - there’s be less wear to the original tint/finish there.
I’m using a CS Fender relic neck pic as a basis for this btw.
Here’s how it’s looking now while it’s drying off...
There’s much sanding ahead - particularly on the fretboard - but currently I’m focussing on getting the base colour right.
All good so far
Still PAAAHHHHHHH-LLLLENTTTYYY of room for massive fhhk ups though...
Nice, that's a great little project! I suggest doing some colour tests on a separate piece of wood before you apply any colour to your neck itself. If you have a spare bit of pine or any other light-coloured wood lying around, that will do - or you could do it on the heel, where it will be hidden away.

I see that you got the water-based stains, which is a good choice because you can dilute them with water, and for the colour you want, I would recommend doing that. The yellow on its own will probably be too yellow. I only used diluted amber on the white lace tele, but for that colour you might find that you need to mix the yellow and amber, and I'd suggest diluting them with about 2-4 parts of water to 1 part of the stains. You can always do a second coat, and/or adjust the dilution level. It's easier to apply a second coat to make the colour stronger, rather than sanding off what you've applied to make it paler.

Before you apply stain, you should wet and sand the wood enough times that the grain stops raising. That's probably around 3 times, give or take. Otherwise you will need to sand it again after you apply the stain, and then you'll sand off some of the stain.

You don't really need to go as high as 600 before the staining - 400, or even 320, is fine. You will want to fine sand it after you apply the oil, though, and then you can just go up to whatever level of grit feels OK to you. Oil finishes won't give you a high gloss anyway so there probably isn't much point going a lot higher than 600.

It looks like you're doing great so far anyway so all of this might be useless! Good luck for the rest of the work :)

bad alice

Easily distracted and...OHLOOKAGUITAR!!!
Okay, so here’s the rear view.
Unfortuntely, the unstained part already has several layer of oil on it so blending the unstained and stained parts isn’t going to happen
That’s okay though, this is my first try at something like this so I can live with it for now.
The stained part has had one coat of oil and now that that’s dried for a few hours I’ve roughed up the unstained/oiled part with some steel wool
The plan now is to oil the whole lot so that it feels and looks the same all over in terms of finish...

bad alice

Easily distracted and...OHLOOKAGUITAR!!!
@bad alice have you gone over the aged shaft (no sexual pun intended) with the oil?
Yeah, I’ve given it one coat (post roughing up with steel wool) and my plan is to build up coats on the stained part with occasional coats over the whole neck.

(no sexual pun intended)
Uh @Lonestar
You DO remember what forum you’re on don’t you?