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Zinser shellac

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by buddastrat, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. buddastrat

    buddastrat Tele-Meister

    376
    Apr 22, 2005
    I'm wanting a bit more color to a neck I used danish oil, so I got some Zinser amber shellac and preval spray bottle. But, I was hoping to rub it in, over using the spray. Some say the cloth is easy and some say spraying is easier. How hard is it to just use a folded cloth? I read do long swipes and it's fine. It's a maple neck so I'll be doing the fretboard too.

    Also, I guess I need to mix with denatured alcohol, could I use this paint thinner instead?
    [​IMG]

    Most everyone seems to use the denat. alcohol, kind've worries me as it's got so much toxins in it. I don't want that on my hands when I'm playing the neck.
     

  2. LightninMike

    LightninMike Tele-Holic

    Age:
    48
    586
    Nov 30, 2010
    Perrysburg, Ohio
    The denatured alcohol evaporates, leaving the shellac.... you would have a bigger worry about the shellac than the alcohol.....

    and to answer the question, NO do not use the paint thinner, stay with the recommended ways of doing it.....
     

  3. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    No, you can not use paint thinner. Paint thinner is a petroleum distillate, and will not mix with the shellac. It will look like oil in water.

    If you do not like the idea of using denatured alcohol, goto the liquor store and buy some everclear, it will work just as well, and doesn't contain any denaturing additives.

    I have used Zinnser Amber shellac a lot, and I will be honest, wiping that stuff on is a major PITA. If you are dead set of wiping it on, get yourself a quality hair brush. Pull out all the loose bristles. Dip the brush into the shellac, let the excess drip off. Start on one end of the neck, and pull the brush to the other end. Only once. Don't go back and forth like painting a house. Then do the area besides the last stroke avoiding the layer of shellac you already applied. Let that dry for several hours, repeat.

    If you try to wipe on the amber, you will be removing as much shellac, as you apply. You will get a very splotchy uneven appearence.
     

  4. buddastrat

    buddastrat Tele-Meister

    376
    Apr 22, 2005
    Thanks. I'm not set on wiping. I would've preferred it tho'. Guess I'll go with the preval. Everclear is not sold here.
     

  5. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Shellac is applied on fine instruments using the French Polish method. It leaves a VERY thin coat, which is exactly what you want with shellac.

    But if you want a darker color why not just use darker Danish oil? If you used medium or dark walnut shellac isn't going to affect the color much, just the sheen. However, if you are set on shellac use a rubbing application like French Polish - but wait a couple weeks; Danish oils usually dry VERY slowly and you could have an ugly mess on your hands.

    As far as hand exposure to coatings, if coatings are applied properly the only exposure is during application - which should be totally avoided by wearing gloves anyway. Solvents and drying oils evaporate/harden and won't affect your skin.
     

  6. buddastrat

    buddastrat Tele-Meister

    376
    Apr 22, 2005
    Thanks-, the danish oil I used, looks amazing when I first put it on. It's an amber color, but when it dries while it feels great, it's just barely got any color, for what I want, a few more coats look better but not enough tint once it dries. I guess that's all I want is a bit more tint. I've had it in the sun drying and tanning, for the last week but I'm going to try the shellac.
     

  7. buddastrat

    buddastrat Tele-Meister

    376
    Apr 22, 2005
    Hmm I've read about shellac mixed with linseed oil for french polishing. How about the Zinser mixed with the Danish oil or maybe tru oil? Maybe it's crazy, In place of the alcohol.

    I've looked at a ton of pics on the net. My thing is I really prefer the feel of the oil,especially rubbed in, but love the look everyone gets with the amber shellac. That's the color I'm going for.
     

  8. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    61
    Mar 19, 2006
    Gilbert, AZ (PHX)
    Throw the Zinser in the garbage and buy some shellac flakes and good clean alcohol like Behlen's Bekhol.
     

  9. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    When you French polish, you use a dauber( something like a wadded up rag) and polish the shellac into the surface. The oil serves as lubrication to prevent the dauber from sticking to the shellac. Its also common to use olive oil.

    French polish is a technique, not so much a mixture. Its not neccessarily an easy process to learn, and french polish, while thin, isn't very durable.

    If you are after some color, you buy some amber transtint. You can mix it with good ole water, wipe it on the bare wood. Then wipe on your danish oil. Very easy. Transtint is about 20$, and danish oil is about 8$. You could also use tung oil, tru oil, teak oil, or any oil or modified oil finish.
     

  10. buddastrat

    buddastrat Tele-Meister

    376
    Apr 22, 2005
    Thanks for the explanation Colt. Seems the shellac is a bit more work than I want. But I like that the color is in the coat, not the wood. Everyone posting pics of the Zinsser looks real good, especailly the imperfections, give it a worn, aged look, I like that, over the french polished piano look.

    Thing is, I already have a few coats of danish oil on this and don't want to sand/strip to put stain. Can I use an oil based stain mixed with tru oil to just give a little color with another coat? The stuff you mentioned is water based? That probably won't work with oil, right?

    The reason I was going shellac was I could get the color, and then with some play it wears nice and will age right. Staining the wood won't and that's why I wanted more of the color in the finish.

    I'm pissed because I finished some stuff around the house with the oak danish oil and it looks amazing, perfect tint for a neck, so I thought. But the damn maple won't take the color, I've sanded it bare too. I don't want to sand the neck again, even with 220 grit, I feel like it's a little smaller now after the sanding. I guess I could acetone it, and get the oil off if I have to. I'd prefer to mix some stain with maybe tru oil and get some color and be done.
     

  11. Elias Graves

    Elias Graves Friend of Leo's

    Apr 27, 2010
    Oklahoma
    Will shellac even adhere to an oil finish? I never tried before.
    When using olive oil for french polish, the oill all comes to the top and is removed.

    EG
     

  12. buddastrat

    buddastrat Tele-Meister

    376
    Apr 22, 2005
    Pretty sure it will. It's the other way around I didn't like. The neck originally had clear shellac, and I didn't like the oil over that. The Shellac seals well.
     

  13. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    Actually I reach for shellac any time I want to lay down a barrier coat between one finishing step and another; shellac is known for good adhesion to whatever is under and over it.
     

  14. TNO

    TNO Friend of Leo's

    Apr 25, 2003
    NC-USA
    Spraying fresh-mixed shellac through a Preval is by far the easiest way to get a perfect vintage look. I like the garnet shellac flakes.
     

  15. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    There's no problem using Zinsser shellac instead of flakes if you're doing a one-shot job. I agree it's not the same quality, but it's made to be easy to use. The main thing with shellac is that it's fairly fresh, so buy it at a store that seems to have a lot of turnover and not dusty cans (old flakes are also a real bad idea).

    BTW, looking at the MSDS I wouldn't use Bekhol as solvent. More variable additives than most branded solvents I've seen. Kleen-Strip from Home Depot is far cheaper and more "pure".

    Yes, you can apply shellac over *dry* oil stains, but not oil stains over dry shellac (or any other film-forming coating).
     

  16. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    69
    Dec 31, 2009
    Queensland Australia
    Why not just tint the Danish?
     

  17. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    You can mix oil based stains and oil based finishes. Sometimes it works better with certain brands, and yada yada. But wiping on color coats is tough. Very hard to get even coats when wiping on color, unless you are staining/dying bare wood. Not saying its impossible, but I think if you mix up some test samples and try, you will see what I am talking about.

    Personally, I don't like the color of Amber Zinnser straight. Its very orangish/brownish color. When I use to use it, I would mix it with regular clear Zinnser shellac. I liked that color.

    Shellac does make for an excellent barrier coat and sealer, but that canned Zinnser shellac is waxed. So the wax can cause you some problems. One thing you can do is mix your Zinnser with some alcohol, and let it sit. The wax should settle on the bottom, and you can pour the shellac off the top. Or...even better, strain it through a filter. Zinnser makes an aersol shellac that is dewaxed that works great, but they don't make an amber version.
     

  18. buddastrat

    buddastrat Tele-Meister

    376
    Apr 22, 2005
    Thanks to all for the great info. Here's where I'm at right now, and maybe someone can just tell me the easiest way to get what I want and I can be done with this. The neck at this moment has a few coats of Watco golden oak oil. When I got it, the front of the headstock never matched with the rest of the maple neck, it was darker, naturally for some reason. So I bleached/peroxided the heck out of it, and got it lightened to match better, but, it doesn't seem to take the watco as evenly, the golden oak oil looks a little blotchy on the face of the headstock. It's a one piece neck, I don't know why that headstock is so different.

    I like the simplicity of what Colt suggested, stain the neck and put another coat of oil on it. Hopefully not have to strip this neck again. That'd work for me. If I could a color somewhat like the Zinnser amber, I like that it's a little browned. Some of the transtint honey amber is pretty brassy/yellow to me. I seen they also have a golden brown tint?
     

  19. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    65
    Jan 6, 2008
    Franklin, TN
    Colt: I'll have to disagree with the "isn't very durable" statement. I turned a 12" diameter spalted silver maple bowl, and after sanding down through all of the micromesh to 1200, I started applying shellac base coats about every 20 minutes. The last few coats (about 10 in all) were French Polish technique with eye dropper of pure olive oil. Without machine buffing it has a grand shine, and we use it for salads. I wash with warm water and detergent, and wipe dry immediately. I then oil with walnut oil, and wipe off excess, and it's good as new every time. We've done that about 15 times in 4 months and still shines like new. Bug spit rules (that's what shellac is BTW).
     

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  20. buddastrat

    buddastrat Tele-Meister

    376
    Apr 22, 2005
    Here's what I'd like to end up with. These necks were oil finished, Watco or tru oil. But they aged to a pretty nice patina. What stain or finish method can get me here?

    [​IMG]
     

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