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Shellac After A Year

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by RifleSlinger, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. RifleSlinger

    RifleSlinger Tele-Meister

    Mar 12, 2016
    I hear a lot of people say how delicate shellac is. I have no doubt that some of that is well founded, but my experience would lead me to believe that it's highly variable dependent.

    I did a French polish finish on my neck early last year using dewaxed platinum blond flakes. I can't remember but I think I used a 2# cut with garden variety denatured alcohol. I applied it with a traditional rubber with cheese cloth inside cotton or linen rags. As I went I added more alcohol but not more shellac.

    At the very end of the process, I used walnut oil as a lube. Walnut oil is a hardening oil and supposedly will cause the shellac to polymerize. I gave the neck a month or so to cure if I remember correctly.

    My neck caught my eye yesterday and it looked so pretty I though I would share:

    neck in the light.jpg

    I could not get a photo that really showed it off to its best, or without my boys' plastic sword in the background :), at least without getting off the couch (it was Sunday, cut me some slack).

    I do occasionally put some virgin coconut oil on the neck to keep it from sticking to my hands when my hands get to the sticky stage after playing for a while (you know that kind of grimy feeling). I do sweat when I play.

    I see no appreciable wear on my neck on any surface, which to some degree is disappointing because my French polishing of the fretboard kind of sucked and I was hoping it would quickly look worn in. It's my only guitar and I play nearly every day. My body finish (SW LOVOC nitro) does show some discoloration where my forearm contacts the top, so in my case the shellac seems to be more durable, and on a higher wear area. I try not to grab my guitar right after washing my hands if they're not completely dry, but I don't worry about sweat or humidity at all.

    I'm just putting this out there as a data point for anyone who might worry about wearing off their finish over a month because they looked at a glass of water from across the room while playing, or consumed a glass of wine less than three hours before thinking about playing their shellac finished neck. This information is probably not applicable to spray on and/or pre-mixed shellac. I think the walnut oil really helped.
    2blue2, El Tele Lobo and RodeoTex like this.
  2. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Shellac IS delicate - it has poor solvent and moisture resistance and low abrasion resistance compared to most other coatings.

    But you didn't use shellac. The walnut oil you used is, as stated, a hardening agent that caused you to actually apply a different finish than "shellac". What you ended up with was functionally similar to a Danish oil type finish or the gunstock oil that's become the "flavor of the month" in neck finishing.
    2blue2 likes this.
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