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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

shellac for a maple neck finish?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by appar111, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. fernando

    fernando Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 6, 2008
    Barcelona, Spain
    I love the finish and wear of this headstocks.
    What kind or shade of shellac did you used? Blonde? Amber? Garnet? A mix?

    And then, how did you get that wear in them? It looks so natural to me!


     

  2. 930vet

    930vet Tele-Meister

    423
    Apr 22, 2008
    NVa
    I used it on an SX neck and it was a pain. I was able to get good coats on the back of the neck but could not deal with the puddling of shellac around the frets. I finally gave up. Someone with a good french polishing technique might do better, but that's not me. I felt that if the shellac would have soaked in for the first application, then I could have polished on the subsequent coats, but I couldn't figure out a way to get enough tooth to use shellac, which is very runny, to bind smoothly to the poly. I thought the shellac worked particularly well on the headstock, which I had sanded down to bare wood. At some point I want to try shellac again on a neck. I've got an MM neck coming myself, and might have another go at it, although that does strike me as perhaps meeting the definition of insanity- the question is, is it impossible, or is it just a steep learning curve?

    I used amber for my abortive neck finish, but for someone considering Bulls Eye, you may want to look at their SealCoat, which is 100% white dewaxed shellac, with a patented process to stabilize it for a guaranteed shelf life of three years. I've been using some of it for grainfilling a body still in progress. The only thing I can say for sure so far that I've found is that it works better for me cut about 50-50 with denatured alcohol. I will probably use that in the future, although I might mix with regular amber for added tint.
     

  3. elevensixty

    elevensixty TDPRI Member

    6
    May 18, 2010
    Portland,OR.
    Waxy vs. Dewaxed...
    obviously don't use waxy if you're going over it with something else because it won't stick,but if you're using it by itself as a minimal sealer-finish,would the waxy shellac have a little more protection/durability?
    any noticeable difference in appearance?
     

  4. tonewoods

    tonewoods Former Member

    Age:
    66
    Jun 23, 2007
    Orcas Island, Washington

    It's just dark shellac flakes mixed with Everclear, French polished....

    Dinged up the normal way--hit it against the stove, rub it in some gravel, etc. etc.....

    I love working with shellac....
     

  5. fernando

    fernando Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 6, 2008
    Barcelona, Spain
    Thank you. What's the composition of Everclear? (I guess it's a very common product in the USA:)
     

  6. hackworth1

    hackworth1 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

    What's the composition of Everclear?

    It is denatured alcohol that is drinkable. Puede tomarlo.

    Do you have any genuine absinthe in Spain? That might be close. It surely would work to dissolve shellac flakes.
     

  7. tonewoods

    tonewoods Former Member

    Age:
    66
    Jun 23, 2007
    Orcas Island, Washington
    Yeah, get the purest drinkable alcohol you can get your hands on, and you're golden...

    Bug parts and alcohol sure beats the hell out of lacquer....
     

  8. fernando

    fernando Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 6, 2008
    Barcelona, Spain
    LOL, ok. I thought it was something to make shellac harder or shinier, or an stabilizer....

    maybe try with mexican mezcal, it alredy has the bug inside... XD

    Absenta is from France (absinthe) but in Spain we have very strong spirits like the orujo, that would work for shure and the Everclear will be safer to drink :S
     

  9. GregB

    GregB Tele-Holic

    940
    Apr 12, 2010
    Colfax Ca.
    I'm another big fan of www.shellac.net

    The only problem I've had is finishing cocobolo wood. That stuff is so oily that if you accidentally sand through the finish it won't take the shellac evenly. So you have to re-sand the entire thing and do it over. But it's a great finish that dries fast and leave a great finish.

    As far as price goes, a one pound bag of shellac will last a LONG time unless you're doing production work. A 2 pound cut means two pounds will dissolve in a gallon of alcohol. But I mix one spaghetti jar of shellac at a time (The spaghetti jar is the standard measurement for finishing supplies at my house). One spaghetti jar uses a quarter pound of shellac in 16 oz of alcohol. That's a lot of shellac.

    It does take about a week to dissolve the shellac in the alcohol. Keep the lid on tight and don't try to use it on a rainy day. The alcohol will suck up the humidity in the air and cause lumps and cloudiness.

    Also, your shellac needs to be stirred, not shaken. If you shake the spaghetti jar to mix the shellac it will work it's way into the threads of the jar. Then you'll find out just how hard shellac can get.

    Don't ask my how I know this.

    Here's a few dulcimers I've finished entirely in shellac.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

  10. sacizob

    sacizob Friend of Leo's

    Zinsser Bulls Eye Amber Shellac on a very pale Hwy One neck. Done two years ago.
    [​IMG]
     

  11. fernando

    fernando Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 6, 2008
    Barcelona, Spain


  12. elevensixty

    elevensixty TDPRI Member

    6
    May 18, 2010
    Portland,OR.
    Is anyone using waxy shellac?
    I'm wondering if there's more protection against moisture transfer or other benefits...
     

  13. hackworth1

    hackworth1 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

    All my shellac has been the dewaxed type. For clear lacquer clear coats. Necks - I've refinished a mahogany neck - stripped off the old sunburst and did a French Polish technique with the dewaxed shellac and olive oil. I've finished maple necks in the same manner.

    One of the benefits of bolt on necks is that you can do two separate finishes. One for the body and another for the neck.

    It is far far easier to do a shellac job (French Polish technique) on a neck than to go through the process of prep and painting a lacquer (or enamel for that matter) finish.

    I have not done a body with shellac, but I am going to do one.

    I too would like to hear from anyone who has experience with waxy shellac. It might be better as you say - for top coats/finish coat. IN cases where no further materials will be applied as top coats.
     

  14. elevensixty

    elevensixty TDPRI Member

    6
    May 18, 2010
    Portland,OR.
    :idea: could always use wax afterward...
    but using a single finish medium has a charm you know?
     

  15. TNO

    TNO Friend of Leo's

    Apr 25, 2003
    NC-USA
    I've read totally opposite opinions on waxy vs. dewaxed so I figured the safest thing is to stay with the dewaxed.
     

  16. elevensixty

    elevensixty TDPRI Member

    6
    May 18, 2010
    Portland,OR.
    I'm looking on www.shellac.net and they have "button shellac" which is polymerized?!
    This sounds like shellac on steroids-has anyone used this?I might order some and give it a try...
     

  17. hackworth1

    hackworth1 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

    Have not used button shellac, but I bought my shellac from shellac.net. Two separate orders of orange amber resulted in different shellacs, both deep in color - one deeper - but having different tonal effects. One was a bit darker than the other. It did not matter. The darker one I cut more for lighter color. It was just something to point out - an interesting observation.
     

  18. elevensixty

    elevensixty TDPRI Member

    6
    May 18, 2010
    Portland,OR.
    Cool I just ordered Platina,Lemon Yellow and Garnet dewaxed-
    I chickened out on the button this time:oops:
    I think the natural variations in color add some "fun" to the process-
     

  19. Viceroy

    Viceroy Tele-Meister

    124
    Feb 20, 2008
    Silver Spring, MD
    Just wanted to throw in my 2¢ on shellac.

    Shellac, applied in the French polish method is considered the most beautiful and most deluxe finish.

    Shellac is also a great base coat for lacquer and varnish. It excels for that purpose.

    I would hesitate using shellac on a guitar neck as moisture on shellac doesn't usually work out well. Personally, I tend to perspire, and a shellacked neck in my hands would probably not last long. Shellac finished wood does not slide through my hands the way I would want my guitar neck to.

    I would only use shellac on an instrument, as Vizcaster cites, as a barrier coat between bare wood with dyes and clear coats. I like to use it on wood purfling, especially before I start rubbing dyes into areas adjacent to the purfling
     

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