The “art” of tempering wood has been around for a few years now, and one would think that we would have eradicated all of the misinformation that exist…but NO!
One of the things that pops up most of the time, especially about roasted maple necks, is that fact that someone is buying it because they “won’t have to put a finish on it.” Let me end this here and now.
ROASTED WOOD REQUIRES A FINISH.
There we’ve said it, now no one will ever ask again….we wish lol.
We think much of the disinformation comes from the reality that the tempering process DOES reduce the size of the moisture holding cells in the wood. Someone must have heard that and ran straight to “it can’t absorb moisture, therefore, it needs no finish.” The truth though is a bit stranger. If you follow our Instagram we have a few pictures up of occurrences of major cracking in roasted necks during the manufacturing process. These things happen because the company that those tempered boards came from did not get enough moisture back into the wood…a very important step in the process. There is still moisture in tempered wood, and there needs to be. As a result, we now buy all of our tempered wood from one of the originators of the process.
Now, you CAN put just a light oil finish on a roasted neck and it will do wonderfully. Where on a regular maple neck you might do 8-9 coats of oil, you can probably do 4-5 on a roasted neck and it will be just fine.
So, the final verdict: yes it needs a finish, but it can be a lighter oil finish that anyone can do successfully. Makes sense? Great!
OH…and a final note that probably should be its own discussion. You MUST pre-drill roasted wood for tuner screws, neck screws, string trees, etc. If you don’t predrill them they WILL, in almost 100% of attempts, crack right where you are attempting to place the screw.