Refinishing my Warmoth Strat Neck

Following up on the success on my tele and bass neck refinishes I decided to do the same to my strat. The major difference with this one is I bought this one with a factory finish from Warmoth in 2011. It begs the question, why would a refinish be needed seven years later?

So shiny, so sticky. Bleh!

When I first received this neck I remember thinking Warmoth made a mistake and forgot to finish the neck. It’s understandable, because they do ship a lot of unfinished product. I immediately called the company to inform them of their mistake. The kind person I spoke to explained to me that the satin finish they use feels raw and unfinished and it was really common for customers to call in with the same inquiry. ….I still felt dumb for asking.

Since I adore the feel of raw wood, I was ecstatic about how the neck felt. Also, knowing that I would gain the stability from a legit finish, this was basically perfect. ….for a few years. What happened over time is that the finish ever so slowly became glossy and grew a tacky feel to it. Keep in mind I also played the hell out of this guitar over it’s life, so I don’t feel like I got a bad deal or anything. This is a common drawback to satin finishes. I was able to keep in under control for a while by hitting it w/ 0000 steel wool, but maybe I didn’t do it enough because the benefits were always very temporary. The other issue I had was three of the side dots started recessing into their holes. It was very minor, but I could really feel it with my left hand. It was annoying.

These two issues combined with the success of my previous two attempts made the solution pretty clear: gunstock oil & wax! A local tech replaced the side inlays for me and afterwards I went to work refinishing.

1st Coat
2nd Coat
3rd Coat
4th Coat

It’s really tough to capture any difference between finishes. I don’t have proper lighting for this and I’m just using my cell phone camera for convenience. The “after” pictures below were taken after adding two coats of wax. The wax accounts for a fair amount of the shininess in pictures. It’s almost impossible to tell a difference between the before & after shots , but it’s a huge difference that I feel in my hands every time I play this guitar. 

Before (original satin finish)
After (tru-oil & wax)
Another after shot (tru-oil & wax)

It took me three months to get around to finishing this post, so I’ve had some time with the instrument. At this time it still feels really great as does the other two that I refinished. This was time well spent and if I do any more Warmoth projects in the future, I’m likely to order the neck(s) unfinished.

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