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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / I like a good shellacing...

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
May 17th, 2018 01:48 AM   Edit   Profile  

No, this is not an S&M post ;^)

I'm talking about home-brew shellac from flake.

With my most recent project, I used some shellac (1 lb. cut mix) to seal over water based dye (on a neck) before top coating with lacquer. I may not have needed to but anyway...

I've used shellac on other things but not in my guitar building/refinishing before.

I got a good number of coats of shellac wiped on and considered just going with that, but in the end I did go over it with lacquer (acrylic). Though it got me thinking about the *next* guitar and maybe just doing shellac as a top coat.

Can anyone tell me how shellac stands up to general hand & finger funk and varied environmental conditions? Does it benefit from a quick coat of lacquer on top?

It's just so easy to work with (not having any spray gear yet)

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 06:07 AM, May 17th, 2018)

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Always

trust your cape
May 17th, 2018 07:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

Some cabinetmakers use shellac as a topcoat, but I find it's too brittle for guitars because they can take an occasional bump. A thick shellac finish can be easily chipped.

I like it as a wood sealer and primer, prior to other-finish topcoats like enamels, acrylics, lacquers, etc.

As a primer, shellac is unparalleled. It is alcohol-based, so it dries very fast; subsequent coats can be applied in 10-minute intervals. It bonds permanently with just about any surface that's clean and dry. It obviates having to strip old finish back to bare wood. And it is compatible with all other finishes; they stick to it very well, with no puckering, wrinkling, or curing problems.

wrnchbndr

New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
May 17th, 2018 09:15 AM   Edit   Profile  

The same here. I use shellac as a wood sealer or barrier coat. It sticks to everything. It does not hold up as a top coat and is the reason coasters were invented for furniture.

M Tracy
Contributing Member
*********

Lafayette IN

May 17th, 2018 09:30 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yep. What they said. I did a couple guitars that I just sealed with shellac so I could play them over the winter. I sprayed them in the summer. They looked like a guitar I finished with an oil based wiping varnish that I’d played for about 5 years. I only played them for 4 months or so.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
May 17th, 2018 03:52 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks guys.
I had wondered about the brittleness part of the equation myself and you all have confirmed my suspicion.

From this recent project, I did get to see first hand how compatible shellac is with other finish materials. (existing and new)

In hindsight there are probably a couple of things I could have done differently in the refinishing portion of the project, but I look at every project as opportunity to learn something.
So that way, every job is a winner in one way or another :^)

Cheers

Leftee
Contributing Member
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VA

May 18th, 2018 05:26 AM   Edit   Profile  

I like the result I got by using the shellac as a primer. I wouldn’t hesitate to do that again.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Always

trust your cape
May 18th, 2018 06:47 AM   Edit   Profile  

A coat of shellac is also a great idea if you're building an amp cabinet from pine that has tight knots, and you'll be covering it with tweed or a light-colored Tolex.

Over time, the knots can exude dark pigment through the adhesive and into the covering. The shellac coating on the wood, after sanding it smooth, acts as a barrier and prevents this staining.

When Fender first produced blonde amps in 1960, the wood was not sealed. Many of them later developed dark spots due to knots.

The blonde Tolex also showed every little bump and ding. This is why Fender discontinued its use in 1963 and went with black Tolex.

There have been some clever attempts to pass off re-covered vintage amps as minty originals (higher $$ value) by using stain to recreate the knot marks in the vinyl.

The knots cause marks that resemble burns or coffee stains,

like this.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
May 18th, 2018 10:42 PM   Edit   Profile  

I like shellac, more as a barrier coat than a top coat, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

First, it is extremely brittle, so it cracks, chips, and scratches easily, although it is one of the easier finishes to repair.

Second is that it is softened or even liquified by alcohol, even after it is completely dried.

Not that there's ever any alcoholic liquids around guitar players and their equipment.

(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 11:26 AM, May 19th, 2018)

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Always

trust your cape
May 19th, 2018 09:23 AM   Edit   Profile  

Te 52, I have no idea what you're talking about

:o)

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
May 19th, 2018 09:27 AM   Edit   Profile  

You do know, you just can't remember. ;oD

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / I like a good shellacing...




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