I recently used an automotive acrylic clear over a bare timber acoustic neck. I sprayed the neck about 2 weeks ago and it is still a little tacky. I'm an impatient sort of person so this is not the result I wanted or expected.
In the past I have sanded a number of necks and have used boiled linseed oil to finish them but I find that after a few weeks of playing the neck starts to feel a little fury so I get the 0000 steel wool out, give it a light rub and its good again for another couple of weeks or so. Are there other methods of finishing necks that don't require "clears". My wife suggested to use Shellac but I believe this process requires many coats and therefore could be time consuming.
Shellac would be a good choice. A high quality musical instrument shellac applied with a brush. A brushing lacquer would work too. Both dry quickly.