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Thread: MD315 speedneck

  1. #1
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default MD315 speedneck

    After six months with this MD315, deciding that I'll never sell it has been a liberating experience, lol. Now I'm not afraid to try some mods and won't worry about resale. (And it helps that the MD315 isn't all that expensive. I would probably not have the nerve to do this on a $5000 mandolin! The good thing is that the $5000 mandolins I've been looking at already have speed necks.)

    I started a speedneck on Wednesday night, using 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper. After my first round (dry sanding), the speedneck was very subtle, with just a little less shine than the factory matte finish. The neck did feel smoother and faster. It would have been a great place to stop if my goal was just a bit faster neck, but I decided that if I were going to do a speedneck, I wanted to go all the way, and I wanted it to be visible.

    So, I continued working, trying to get down to bare wood. Unfortunately, 1000 grit paper was too fine to make progress in any reasonable time (well, reasonable to me, at least). Last night I bought a 10-sheet pack of 800 grit and worked through all 10 sheets. That worked better, but it was still VERY slow going. I have a fairly large area of bare wood and could get by with the look now, but I'd really like the bare area to extend more closely to the nut and heel.

    Tonight I'll buy some 600 grit as well as some more 800 grit. If the 600 grit is too aggressive, I'll just continue with the 800 grit. I'll finish with finer grit (I have up to 2500 grit), but the feel of the wood after 800 grit seems pretty nice.

    I'm wondering if I should have used the paper wet, and kept washing off the dust from the sandpaper. Maybe that would have worked better. I didn't try it, just because of the mess, and not really wanting to put water on the bare wood. Suggestions on using the sandpaper wet?
    Doug Brock
    Silverangel Econo A (on order)
    Eastman MD315, MD505

  2. #2

    Default Re: MD315 speedneck

    The grits you are using are basically for polishing. Take the finish off with 120, or 180 grit, then finish with 220. That should be smooth enough.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: MD315 speedneck

    I was worried about going too coarse. The videos I found online of folks doing guitar and banjo speednecks showed them using very fine grit, but they did seem to be taking quite a while to do the work (judging by the number of video crossfades during the process).

    I can see that you'd HAVE to use some pretty coarse sandpaper if you were trying to take off a heavy plastic-y finish. Since I was working with a relatively thin matte nitro, I was extra cautious.
    Doug Brock
    Silverangel Econo A (on order)
    Eastman MD315, MD505

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    Registered User Roger Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: MD315 speedneck

    Sometime removing less is more. I put a "speed neck" on an Eastman, and I found it necessary to use a scraper to get the thick finish off the neck. Once removed, I found that a couple of spots in the wood had been filled with "something." That thick finish covers a host of sins! YMMV.
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  6. #5
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: MD315 speedneck

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Adams View Post
    Sometime removing less is more. I put a "speed neck" on an Eastman, and I found it necessary to use a scraper to get the thick finish off the neck. Once removed, I found that a couple of spots in the wood had been filled with "something." That thick finish covers a host of sins! YMMV.
    The MD315 doesn't have a thick finish, so that's a good thing, at least when it comes to finish removal (and probably when it comes to sound, too). I did wonder if there might be some unhappy surprises beneath the finish, but it's just maple, lol.
    Doug Brock
    Silverangel Econo A (on order)
    Eastman MD315, MD505

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    Default Re: MD315 speedneck

    Doug
    A razor blade held perpendicular and lightly dragged back to you, nut to heel with mandolin in your lap, gives a bare wood speed neck in about 20 min. Finish with finer grits of sandpaper to feel, then buff with 0000 steel wool. Whole process about an hour or less. You might want 2-3 blades handy, especially if a gloss finish. On satin finish necks, 1 blade will do the whole job. Key is hold it straight perpendicular with both hands and little to no pressure, you don't want it to dig in. Takes a minute to get the feel, then you work it like a champ.

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    Default Re: MD315 speedneck

    Just to add one little thing about what Daryl said. I’m sure he meant SINGLE EDGE razor blade, right? Trying this with a double edged blade would be a big mistake! This might seem like a no brainer but you never know how literally folks take things.
    Don

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  11. #8
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: MD315 speedneck

    Here's the results. I'm very happy with the feel. Not quite as happy with the fit and finish, but I've seen worse, lol. I could try the razor suggestion to straighten up the edges, but then I might just leave it as is. The whole idea is that this is my "beater," after all.

    I wasn't happy with the Tru Oil (2 coats) - it seemed to be as "sticky" as the original finish had been, even after sanding it with some very fine sandpaper. I used some coarser sandpaper and sanded the Tru Oil coat down a bit (followed by the finer sand paper of course) and things feel good now, though not quite as good as the bare wood did.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Doug Brock
    Silverangel Econo A (on order)
    Eastman MD315, MD505

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    Default Re: MD315 speedneck

    im looking to do this with my J.Bovier. i bought some 0000 steel wool as i heard this will work also? any tips? thanks

  14. #10
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: MD315 speedneck

    I started with 1000 and 800 grit wet/dry sandpaper instead of steel wool because I haven't liked working with steel wool in the past. If you're just wanting to take the gloss off a neck finish, then a fairly fine sandpaper or steel wool is probably enough. Going to the bare wood was not great with those 1000 and 800 grits, though - the sandpaper would fill up too quickly. So I bought some 600 grit and 320 grit. The 600 grit was better, but the 320 was best for me. I've had recommendations to try coarser sandpaper than 320, but I was worried about damaging the wood so preferred slow finish removal.

    I used blue painters tape at the nut and heel to try to keep from going too far. I also found it good to cover other nearby parts of the mandolin to protect against the rare slip.

    Some people like to fade the speed neck into the remaining finish. Some people don't go nearly as far toward the nut and neck. All choices you'll have to think about.

    I started in the middle of the neck, not sure how far I'd go toward the nut and neck. I finally decided on the fairly extreme range. If I were doing the same kind of speed neck again, I'd probably start at the nut and neck (with the blue tape), and take that down to bare wood first. That way I could focus on a nice smooth edge. Then I could more quickly remove the finish in the middle.

    Use the coarser sandpaper for finish removal, then smooth with finer sandpaper (I used 1000 and 1500 and that felt good to me, but some people recommend finishing up with 2000 or even 2500 grit).

    Other than that, slow and steady!
    Doug Brock
    Silverangel Econo A (on order)
    Eastman MD315, MD505

  15. #11

    Default Re: MD315 speedneck

    Hi Doug,

    Here's what the speed neck looks like with bare wood and 15 years of handling. Smooth as silk...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  16. #12
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: MD315 speedneck

    Quote Originally Posted by lenf12 View Post
    Hi Doug,

    Here's what the speed neck looks like with bare wood and 15 years of handling. Smooth as silk...

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL
    Sweet! Now I just need to figure out how to "speed age" my speed neck!
    Doug Brock
    Silverangel Econo A (on order)
    Eastman MD315, MD505

  17. #13

    Default Re: MD315 speedneck

    Let mother nature and body chemistry take care of that

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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  19. #14
    Registered User Roger Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: MD315 speedneck

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brock View Post
    Here's the results. I'm very happy with the feel. Not quite as happy with the fit and finish, but I've seen worse, lol. I could try the razor suggestion to straighten up the edges, but then I might just leave it as is. The whole idea is that this is my "beater," after all.

    I wasn't happy with the Tru Oil (2 coats) - it seemed to be as "sticky" as the original finish had been, even after sanding it with some very fine sandpaper. I used some coarser sandpaper and sanded the Tru Oil coat down a bit (followed by the finer sand paper of course) and things feel good now, though not quite as good as the bare wood did.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Eastman MD315 p3 speedneck.jpg 
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    Nice result, Doug!
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  21. #15
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: MD315 speedneck

    A less frequently discussed method of finishing the speed neck is to stain the neck slightly (I've used diluted brown leather stain-alcohol base) followed by sealing by using 5-minute clear epoxy. The epoxy is wiped on with a paper towel and then wiped off with a clean paper towel, leaving only a minimal 'wetting' of epoxy. Let cure for at least an hour or two and then use 0000 steel wool to smooth.

    Has worked very well for me. YMMV. Always use appropriate safety measures.
    Phil

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    Default Re: MD315 speedneck

    Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
    Just to add one little thing about what Daryl said. I’m sure he meant SINGLE EDGE razor blade, right? Trying this with a double edged blade would be a big mistake! This might seem like a no brainer but you never know how literally folks take things.
    yes, single edge thin blade. this also is a very quick/easy method to gently remove wood to reshape a neck profile. works fast and very easy. finish to taste with 800-1000 grit paper/0000 steel wool. leave bare or seal as preferred.

    d

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brock View Post
    Here's the results. I'm very happy with the feel. Not quite as happy with the fit and finish, but I've seen worse, lol. I could try the razor suggestion to straighten up the edges, but then I might just leave it as is. The whole idea is that this is my "beater," after all.

    I wasn't happy with the Tru Oil (2 coats) - it seemed to be as "sticky" as the original finish had been, even after sanding it with some very fine sandpaper. I used some coarser sandpaper and sanded the Tru Oil coat down a bit (followed by the finer sand paper of course) and things feel good now, though not quite as good as the bare wood did.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Eastman MD315 p3 speedneck.jpg 
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Size:	496.1 KB 
ID:	177508
    very nice work!
    d

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  25. #17

    Default Re: MD315 speedneck

    I did something similar to my md305 after reading this thread. Can’t show a picture at the moment, but I didn’t go all the way through the finish everywhere. It looks a bit “reliced” I guess. I usually don’t care for that, but I think it looks nice on the neck. Also it’s much smoother. I used 240 grit by the way. Finished with steel wool.

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