I posted this on facebook as well, but I'm just curious.  Do any of you just leave the wood completely untreated and be done?  I'm thinking playing and finger and hand oils will add a "natural petine" after awhile?

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Yea, you’ll certainly get that old guitar patina faster, I have seen cbg’s without any finish. I think most of us have to go that extra mile on the finish just b’cuz we can’t resist making them look pretty. 

I once left a poplar neck untreated to try the same thing. It just finished up looking..... dirty.

Darker woods may look better but personally I think stained (not varnished) & then aged naturally or otherwise looks much better.

Many times I just stain em  with strong  instant coffee . 3  spoonfulls in a half cup of water .  nuke it for 30 secs  and apply .  decide if you wanna re apply .  or   touch spot some areas  .  

 That and the vinegar and steel wool thing are the 2 methods that  look closest  to  an unfinished look , but already  aged .  

Another unfinished finish is a light toasting with a heat gun or torch.  I like both coffee and vinegar/steel wool but both raise the grain and are pretty rough without a finish. Torching smoothes it a bit though while looking aged.

 A very light sanding takes care of  any "furry" raised grain  feel  from  coffee / vinegar , stain etc  ..  afterwards .  and adds a bit to  the aged look.

Gotta have a little stain, then leave'em alone.

Nope, never. Just hand sand my Pine necks until all corners and edges are gone and I'm done. contributes to the rustic feel of the guitar.

I always use some sort of finish as it brings the wood alive, by enhancing the beauty of the grain. To keep that look I apply finish, I don't want to lose it to grim and perspiration build up. 


I did a maple neck with no finish and, although I've played it enough to develop some very smooth shiny spots, overall it just looks dirty.

Now I use Howard Feed-N-Wax . It contains orange oil and if you use it on a stained neck it will remove some of the stain which gives an aged look. Just be aware that you'll need to stain a little darker than the final shade you're looking for. I'd suggest testing on a piece of scrap. Over time the wax will get a little dull and dirty but you can clean and renew it with a little more Feed-N-Wax.


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