Removing Poly from neck

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by Stefan, Aug 14, 2020.

  1. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Short technical question-
    is it possible to sand the polyurethane off the back of a neck (no chemical removing)?

  2. mister rain

    mister rain Gretschie

    Apr 23, 2020
    new orleans
    yes. done it fender / squier necks a few times.
    Stefan likes this.
  3. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    Yep, sanding or scraping is what it takes. Chemical strippers dont work anyway.
    Stefan likes this.
  4. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    But I guess it‘ll take a lot of elbow grease...:-(
  5. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    Yeah, that stuff is thick.
  6. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Friend of Fred

    Jan 19, 2012
    Maldon UK
    Taking the shine off with a washing up scourer will really help with the grippyness. The poly will still be there protecting the wood, and you may need to do it again some time.
  7. Back in Black

    Back in Black Gretschie

    Jun 22, 2020
    Ontario Canada

    Don't remove it, ''satin'' it out.

    Start with 400 wet/dry paper, and go up from there, 600/1000/2000.

    Stop wherever the feel is right.

    This is still factory finish on the back of my Malcolm Young ''Salute'' Jet build, from 400 to 2000 sanded wet.

    The finish on the back, is nowhere near as thick as it was on the front. It took me three hours of hard sanding to get all the finish off the maple topped front, down to bare wood. On the back, the bare mahogany started to show through almost immediately.


    benderb9, mrfixitmi, bone and 2 others like this.
  8. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Why remove it? Chemical strippers work really well but I would stay away from chemical strippers because they are indiscriminate and you can get them on places you don't want to strip. And what about transitions like edges of fretboard and heel of the neck?

    I think you should sand the area that you don't like. But again, why do it? Is it not slick enough? If so, I would just polish it with 3000 grit paper and if that's not slick enough, go to 2000 grit and on down until you're satisfied.
  9. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Oct 18, 2015
    If you really want to strip it (which I do not recommend - I assist the idea of taking the shine off) and you do not want to invest hours of elbow-grease you can get a buffer, put it on your power-drill and polish through the poly-layer. You will be surprised how tough this stuff is.
  10. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    If It's modern poly, (polyester?) it's often very thick and difficult to sand. It scratches easy like plastic when sanding and hard to sand out the scratches. I recommend against it.
    If it's just poly urethane varnish that different.
  11. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    I always knock the shine off my necks with either sandpaper or a scotch bright pad.

    I have never sanded the poly completely off because I worried that poly can not be feathered in at the edges like Nitro can.
    mrfixitmi likes this.
  12. HypotenusLuvTriangle

    HypotenusLuvTriangle Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2010
    Whittier, Ca
    I've never had an issue with shiny necks causing stickiness. How does that work?
  13. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    ...and they're nasty to deal with. Go for the sandpaper.
  14. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Thanks gentlemen, I know those buffing games...I‘m interested in removing the Poly but I guess it’s, hmmm, not the best idea :rolleyes:
    On the other hand I‘m a real patient and diligent guy. I hate the unnecessarily overpainted skunk stripe on my new old Squier:
  15. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    2 minutes with a green Scotch Bright pad and that neck and stripe will be a beautiful satin and feel wonderful.
    reverb11, bone and RG7X like this.
  16. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Unless that neck is incredibly special and unique, I'd just leave it. I remember Squier Affinity/Bullet necks were easy to sand back, but even in that case I simply refinished it by spraying over the extremely thin poly instead of sanding it completely off. On other refins, I noticed I lost some girth by sanding, almost inevitable with the method. Since I'm laying on thin nitro coats, the neck profile will never match the half mm thick poly finish found on some guitars.
    Stefan likes this.
  17. speedicut

    speedicut Friend of Fred

    Jun 5, 2012
    +1 on the 'satinizing'...

    I just use some steel wool and knock some of the shine off and that is pretty much all it takes for a nice, non-stick feeling neck...
    GlenP likes this.
  18. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    I did knock the ugly, thick, sticky poly off a new Fender neck I bought. It came out nice.

    Here it is partly finished, the headstock was the same poly:oops:

    Wjensen and Stefan like this.
  19. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    My luthier sanded down my neck to a very nice satin. I noticed he didn't list it on the invoice so I called before I picked up my guitar and asked if he had done it. He hadn't but he sanded it down in the 5 minutes it took to drive over and didn't charge me. Feels great. I would definitely give it a try, you don't have much to lose.
    Stefan and radd like this.
  20. mbkri

    mbkri Country Gent

    Sep 22, 2012
    If you can stand 5 minutes of me droning on and on you can watch me scuff the neck on my Jaguar with micro mesh pads
    Stefan and G5422T like this.
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