One thing Id mention to the customer before they decide- if they play outside a lot, an unfinished or oiled neck (unlacquered) does not do well in my opinion. I had an instrument once with the neck that was just oil finished. When playing outside at festivals, the neck would get a sticky feeling, then you realized it was literally getting wet from humidity/ condensation. The lacquered body was fine. I dont understand the physics, but when comparing to other instruments with lacquered necks kept under the exact same conditions, this 'unfinished' neck was wet feeling and the others were fine. It didnt seem to matter if it was high or low humidity outside either. Most disconcerting-you could also feel the grain on the neck raising from the accumulating moisture. I'd often take steel wool to it & re-oil (watco) after festivals as the neck finish felt rough after the grain raised. And by the way- that unfinished neck ended up twisting along its length- was this due to not having finish and therefore absorbing moisture?, I dont know, but I did notice the luthier that built this now offers both oiled and fully lacquered necks. If the customer plays primarily inside, then this may not be an issue. I never had a problem with this neck being sticky feeling when playing inside. Play the fully oil finished martin backpacker outside for a while after sunset- youll experience the same thing- a gummy sticky feeling, which is why I lacquer all necks & bodies on my travel guitars.
As a working guitarist, I've never met an oil based finish that adequately protected the neck against environmental variables encountered in the middle of a performance. The most aggravating issue is that oil based finishes also need to be reapplied periodically and, if not done properly, can present a whole other palate long term structural issues.
Just my 2 cents (:
Interesting stuff Paul, but how is it applied? And what viscosity is used? The water-thin stuff, or thicker? And does it change the colour of the wood?
I've only done this once myself a few years ago. I used water-thin CA & padded it on. Very messy, VERY expensive and trying of ones patience. Yes, it colors the wood the same way that water does. I wasn't concerned about that; nor was my client.
I used this method to save a Tele neck that was having stability issues because (tah-dah) the client stripped the finish from the back of the neck. It worked and the neck is still in action. I hope this doesn't spur a purely academic discussion about tinting and spraying CA. (;
Perhaps William's client will have to decide between functionality and aesthetics. If he/she is a pro player, the choice will be simple. If the client is a hobbyist, I don't know why a lacquer finish wouldn't work.
Me thinks he's been playing newer Gibsons if he or she has been "frightened away" from sticky lacquer necks. Or perhaps the player has a body chemistry thing that destroys lacquer. I've seen this many times.
In either scenario, sometimes getting what you want requires compromise.
Best of luck & cheers (: