Jump to content

Part Two: Finishing the Headstock

Recommended Posts

Hey guys,

your help was appreciated in my last thread, and I am moving on. If this neck ends up like I want it, I think a hobby of building guitars is inevitable, its so much fun! I can't believe the satisfaction of doing little modifications to your guitar.

So I have the neck shape sanded down to my liking, and to finish off the neck I will do the following:

1) Headstock stain

2) Clear Coat headstock finish

3) Tung Oil Neck Finish

4) Fret crown/level/polish

5) Custom Headstock Decal

Right now I am asking for a little advice on steps 1 and 2. I went out and bought some Minwax oil-based wood finish in 'special walnut', which I find will go amazing with my body, and some Varathane Professional Clear finish in Satin.

Now I have read from some members that they don't like to use oil-based wood finish on their guitars. I thought the actual look of the oil-finish was much more natural than the water-finish and thats why I went with it. I am only staining my headstock (maple..no pores), so do you think it will be a problem?

In addition, I have some Minwax 'Polyshades' which is a stain + polyurethane product, which covers both staining and protecting. Does anyone advise against using this?

That's about all I need to know...the actual staining and protecting is straight-forward and simple...I just want to know if I will have any trouble with the oil-based finish.

Thanks! Pictures will come in a few days when its done.


Here is the headstock. I will sand off the current stain, including the decal. I think will also carve the rosewood to maple joint a little straighter and go to work on the stain for 3-4 coats, then finish with a clear coat for 1-2 coats. The new decal will come later!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I went ahead and sanded off the sucker. I beveled the edges, and I think I might go for that fake binding type look...make the top walnut, and about a 1/8" strip of the original raw maple, which is bright like a creme binding...then the sides will be darker with Tung.

In any case, I threw on the first coat (of 4-5 I'd imagine), and it works pretty well. Oil-based seems to dig into the grain pretty quick, leaving little imperfections, but in a way I want that instead of a smooth, clear stain. I want a spalted, or birdseye effect to give it more character. I might even blotch the last stain instead of spead it.

EDIT: What do you think about the outside of the top of the headstock? It looks darker because of the stain on the tape, but looking at it again...I might finish the 4-5 coats of stain, then tape off the top of the headstock, leaving about a 1/8" border around the edges, and stain that 1-2 more times to give it a deeper border. I think that would look sick, and save all the money going into binding hehe.

Heres a few pictures:


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...