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
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
    but... for instance here, the finish looks dry enough to not being sticky or problematic with perspiration....
     

  2. Ranger

    Ranger TDPRI Member

    92
    Dec 25, 2005
    Chicago
    Everclear is just a trade name for straight alcohol (technically it is ethanol). It has a little bit of water in it but it's almost pure. In the US alcohol is regulated and we can only but it in liquor stores. However, alcohol makes a great solvent for many things so we have another product called denatured alcohol. This is alcohol that has had poisons added to it, usually methanol and a few others so that it is not safe to drink.

    Denatured alcohol doesn't have all the taxes added to it either so it's much, much cheaper. However, some people prefer pure alcohol (Everclear) to avoid exposure to the toxins in denatured alcohol.

    If price isn't an issue for you (maybe you don't have the tax issues we do) then just search for pure drinking alcohol and you'll have the greatest solvent for your shellac.
     

  3. fernando

    fernando Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 6, 2008
    Barcelona, Spain
    noted, thanks a lot
     

  4. claudel

    claudel Tele-Afflicted

    Here's another faux French Polish experiment on my semi-homemade Les Paul tribute.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Blond shellac from shellac.net cut w/ Everclear and tinted with StewMac Cherry Red.

    Clearcoated w/ Behlen's rattlecan nitro for durability.

    Clearcoat polished out w/ MicroMesh after 3 1/2 weeks curing.


    Easy Peasy.

    Relatively non-toxic other than the Behlen's


    It's tough for me to get a good picture that captures the depth and nuance of the top.


    Shellac rules

    It'd be a snap to do a neck with this process, just substitute amber tint or use a deep Garnet shellac for the color,
    although I gotta say it's tough to beat TruOil for the cheapest, easiest & most durable neck finish.

    [​IMG]

    That one's TransTint amber(?) cut with distilled water, wiped on with a rag and clearcoated with TruOil.

    I got a bit carried away with the tint and it turned out a bit dark, but it still looks great after a couple of years.
     

  5. elevensixty

    elevensixty TDPRI Member

    6
    May 18, 2010
    Portland,OR.
    regarding dewaxed vs. waxy-
    noticed the stew mac site sells both kinds, says regarding waxy that "it adds a bit more moisture resistance and flexibility to the final finish"
    Also that the wax lends itself to french polishing so you don't need to use veg.oil.(I'll take that as a probably,depending on conditions.)

    So if you're just using the shellac by itself,it sounds like the wax may offer a little extra bragging rights,but the biggest deal I can't find anything about is FEEL. It would seem to me the wax content could go one way or the other-more drag or less-

    In the end I suppose just wax over the back of the neck and buff it slick should work...:neutral:
     

  6. flatfive

    flatfive Friend of Leo's

    Apr 23, 2009
    Monterey, CA
    I used shellac to finish the body and neck of a thinline tele.
    I used the french polishing method, which I practiced for
    months before I got good results.

    Here's a link to the middle of the build thread, showing the
    finished neck:

    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home-depot/209766-french-polished-tele-build-2.html#post2476640

    There are a few tips in the thread about french polishing.

    I used dewaxed blonde shellac that I bought from shellac.net.
    I've had good experiences with shellac.net. Once, the guy who
    runs it (sorry I can't remember his name) told me to give him
    a call when I had a question about something. Nice and helpful
    guy.

    I used Everclear to mix the shellac and really liked that all the
    ingredients were non-toxic.

    I applied a coat or two of wax once I was all done.

    The shellac seems kind of delicate to me as a finish for an
    electric guitar, but if you use dewaxed shellac you can spray
    clear lacquer over it if you like.

    I bought some of the button shellac recently and hope to try
    it on a refinish soon.
     

  7. flatfive

    flatfive Friend of Leo's

    Apr 23, 2009
    Monterey, CA
    Nice work!

    I think Tru-Oil is way easier to apply than
    shellac applied by french polishing.

    But the finishes are really different: Tru-Oil is basically a
    varnish, and so a reactive finish, while shellac is an
    evaporative finish (like lacquer). So coats of shellac
    melt into each other, while coats of Tru-Oil don't.
    Shellac is more delicate, but easier to repair.

    I prefer shellac for a glossy finish, and Tru-Oil for a
    thin, satin finish. I really like Tru-Oil for necks.

     

  8. Rod Parsons

    Rod Parsons Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    70
    Sep 26, 2009
    Winchester, Va.
    I put the bullseye amber shellac on my 'Warmoth' Tele neck and it's great. I used a peice of old tee shirt about 5 inches square and folded it twice in half, dampened it with a little denatured alcohol, dipped it right into the can and rubbed it on in long smooth strokes on the back of the neck, and short quick strokes across the fretboard, trying to stay withint the frets...A bit of shellac will obviously get on the frets.... that's okay.... you can go back and wipe the tops of the frets with a clean little piece of tee shirt or something, with a bit of the denatured alcohol on it before it cures ....after the neck is dry to the touch, aproximately a half hour or so.The piece of cloth to apply the shellac should be wet enough to go on smoothly, and if your strokes are less than smooth, a few drops of lemon oil or even a couple drops of olive oil dripped onto the cloth will make it much easier.The oil is part of the ancient french polishers of violins, etc. Ther is info on the net under shellac/french polish... It is pretty easy.... If you screw-up, it will come right off with a peice of cloth soaked with d-nat-alcohol, then you can start right over again. However, I did mine till the color was really pretty amber, then I got the frets cleaned off as I stated, let it dry a couple days, lightly went over it with 4-0 steel wool, cleared it good of dust, and sprayed about 3 coats of satin Behlan nitro laquer on it. Shellac is pretty brittle and would be good for a body for its quick wearablity, but for me, I prefer the last laquer coats for way more protection on the neck...For me the satin plays smoother also....Don't be afraid...it ain't that hard..Remember...the shellac dries almost instantly as it is applied. As you r a beginner, it might be best to thin the shellac just a little bit to get it a little wetter....That way it goes on in real thin coats and you will be able to see how it works with out streaking with a thick coat...Good luck.
     

  9. DGW11

    DGW11 TDPRI Member

    74
    Apr 11, 2010
    Durango Colorado
    Tru

    Ive had nothing but great results with Tru-oil....Good luck
     

  10. Rod Parsons

    Rod Parsons Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    70
    Sep 26, 2009
    Winchester, Va.
    I put the bullseye amber shellac on my 'Warmoth' Tele neck and it's great. I used a peice of old tee shirt about 5 inches square and folded it twice in half, dampened it with a little denatured alcohol, dipped it right into the can and rubbed it on in long smooth strokes on the back of the neck, and short quick strokes across the fretboard, trying to stay withint the frets...A bit of shellac will obviously get on the frets.... that's okay.... you can go back and wipe the tops of the frets with a clean little piece of tee shirt or something, with a bit of the denatured alcohol on it before it cures ....after the neck is dry to the touch, aproximately a half hour or so.The piece of cloth to apply the shellac should be wet enough to go on smoothly, and if your strokes are less than smooth, a few drops of lemon oil or even a couple drops of olive oil dripped onto the cloth will make it much easier.The oil is part of the ancient french polishers of violins, etc. Ther is info on the net under shellac/french polish... It is pretty easy.... If you screw-up, it will come right off with a peice of cloth soaked with d-nat-alcohol, then you can start right over again. However, I did mine till the color was really pretty amber, then I got the frets cleaned off as I stated, let it dry a couple days, lightly went over it with 4-0 steel wool, cleared it good of dust, and sprayed about 3 coats of satin Behlan nitro laquer on it. Shellac is pretty brittle and would be good for a body for its quick wearablity, but for me, I prefer the last laquer coats for way more protection on the neck...For me the satin plays smoother also....Don't be afraid...it ain't that hard..Remember...the shellac dries almost instantly as it is applied. As you r a beginner, it might be best to thin the shellac just a little bit to get it a little wetter....That way it goes on in real thin coats and you will be able to see how it works with out streaking with a thick coat...Good luck.
     

  11. flatfive

    flatfive Friend of Leo's

    Apr 23, 2009
    Monterey, CA
    Also, if you make shellac yourself, it will only have a good shelf life
    of about three months. Zinsser shellac is made using a process
    that somehow gives it a three year shelf life.

    Someone suggested you could use any strong drinkable alcohol
    to dissolve shellac. Don't do this! You need either denatured alcohol
    or 190 proof grain alcohol. Everclear comes in 190 proof and 151 proof --
    you need the 190 proof.

    I prefer using Everclear because it is non-toxic. Also, the composition
    of denatured alcohol varies widely between manufacturers. Some are
    only about 50% ethanol, some have lots of methanol, and most of
    them have miscellaneous strange solvents. Composition isn't
    usually on the can, but you can often find the Material
    Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) of a product. Sunnyside denatured
    alcohol is about 85% ethanol, and only about 4% methanol.

    http://www.sunnysidecorp.com/msds.html
     

  12. habernack

    habernack TDPRI Member

    84
    Jan 5, 2010
    canada
    I hope this method works for me.

    I've tried Nitro, uneven finish + swirls, plus I haven't perfected a glass-like finish for my body yet either (swirl city!). I've tried Truoil, again with an uneven finish and no luck buffing to a shine.
     

  13. Viceroy

    Viceroy Tele-Meister

    124
    Feb 20, 2008
    Silver Spring, MD
    Anyone who really enjoys French Polishing has got to read George Frank's "Great Adventures In Wood Finishing - 88 Rue de Charonne" (http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Wood-Finishing-Charonne-woodworking/dp/091880406X) in which he recounts some great stories of his days as a finisher. The section on how he learned to French Polish was hilarious!!!!

    I haven't read it in many years, but I remember that he was taught French Polishing by a woman in Paris in the 1920s, I think? and they used the traditional method of the folded over cheesecloth, with some pumice on it as well as the shellac, so that he was literally polishing the finish while rubbing it on. He said something about (I'm trying to remember his words - he was so funny!) you would know if you were pressing down hard enough with the rag when French polishing a table top if the table legs had made indentations in the floor about three inches deep!

    Anyway, it's a wonderful look back by a real craftsman and quite a raconteur, giving us a very entertaining glimpse of how it was done in the old days using the old ways. The book was published around 1980 and is now out of print but you can find copies fairly easily. I like to give copies as gifts to friends who are new to woodworking and finishing.
     

  14. czook

    czook Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    64
    Jan 5, 2011
    NW MO
    What a great resource. Thanks for answering this lurkers questions about neck finishing.
     

  15. tonydj

    tonydj Tele-Meister

    132
    May 8, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    [​IMG]

    MIM tele neck done in amber shellac. I love the feel and aged look.
     

  16. fernando

    fernando Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 6, 2008
    Barcelona, Spain
    tonydj, you mean you used shellac over the clear finish of that neck?
    Is it a current MIM production neck? Which one?
    If shellac sticks to it, I'd like to know which neck it is as a reference

    thank you
     

  17. Dave1968

    Dave1968 TDPRI Member

    81
    Jun 14, 2009
    Lancashire, England
    If its any help to you I have 'French polished' over the existing finish of a 2007 Highway One Tele maple neck successfully.
     

  18. fernando

    fernando Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 6, 2008
    Barcelona, Spain
    yes, great to know! Thanks

    Did you prepared the neck in some way before applying the shellac?
     

  19. Dave1968

    Dave1968 TDPRI Member

    81
    Jun 14, 2009
    Lancashire, England
    Fernando, no I didn't. That said it wasn't as easy as bare unsealed wood...I opted for French Polish and Raw Linseed Oil opposed to using 'Methylated Spirit' / 'Denatured alcohol' (USA term). The 'Meths' put me back to square one; after three coats or more it just become a thicker mess to polish, especially on the fretboard. :mad:

    Ideally, the HW One surface is not ideal though FP will stick.
     

  20. fernando

    fernando Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 6, 2008
    Barcelona, Spain
    but which product did you used for FP?

    AFAIK, you normally FP using shellac. FP is the technique, not the product, although in Spain is also called that way (the product or mix of products called as the technique)
    Usually the shellac is dissolved in alcohol and some kind of oil (olive oil, linseed oil, etc) is used to apply it so it would be interesting to know which product/s you used...
    specially how shellac was dissolved...

    thank you again
     

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