Some jobs are bigger than others. This USA deluxe strat was sent to me from the other side of the country, and I don't think a new set of strings and a polish is going to get it done this time. This is what I started with:
The body had most of the finish removed by the owner, I'd already filled the bridge holes before I remembered to take a picture. The pickguard had some nice Lindy Fralin pickups and good quality switch and pots in it, so that would be going back in as-is. I was going to need to build a new neck and fit a Callaham vintage style tremolo.
After the remaining finish and sealer was removed it was stained black, and later finished with oil based varnish to a satin sheen.
On to the neck.
Three piece maple and walnut construction, should be very strong and resistant to warping. The fretboard is amazonian rosewood, which is very hard and dense but can be stubborn to work with compared to other species. The picture was taken just after slotting the board by hand.
The board was radiused to 12", and the abalone inlays glued in towards the end and then radius sanded a 2nd time. The jumbo Jescar EVO Gold frets are then pressed in. Note the stealth fret slots, the gaps are filled with glue and rosewood dust and end up being near invisible.
The neck was carved to spec, 23mm at the 1st fret and 25mm at the 12th. Chunky! A slightly U shaped profile gave a vintage tele-like feel. The picture on the right is after final sanding and the first coat of oil. No lacquer here, even after several coats of oil varnish it still feels like a piece of wood in the hand, I really like necks finished this way.
I love how these EVO Gold frets polish up:
Once everything was dry it was time for reassembly and final setup.