Time for another good shellacking

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by RLee77, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    So having had great success with my first foray into finishing a neck using shellac (thanks to the invaluable advice from @superbadj and others), it’s time to start another neck finishing project.
    The first neck was roasted maple, so I went with super light blonde flakes, not wanting or needing to darken the wood at all.

    This time I have a flame maple neck (not roasted), with a great flame pattern I’d like to enhance, so I was thinking I’d go with a darker flake shellac. I’m considering 3 shades from shellac.net: Beige/ neutral blonde (light pale beige/amber toned, they say), Orange/Amber, or Garnet (deep rich brown-red). I’m just not sure which would be best to darken up the light flame maple wood of this neck. I don’t want a too-orange-ish neck, or red, and I’m wondering if others have experimented with these flakes on regular maple and could offer some insight.

    I was really impressed with shellac as a finish the first time around... I was easily able to get a high gloss pro-looking finish on the headstock, and a silky-slick non-sticky feel on the back of the neck. So I’m hesitant to mess with success and attempt a different type of finish. Although I’m still curious about tru-oil, since others have praised it so much.

    A pic of the first neck, roasted maple with about 15 coats of light blonde shellac...

    02919C41-C9CC-4C7D-B1BE-145CA9D9967E.jpeg 0CD2CFC9-EC6A-4905-8FB9-83B72E5901C7.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  2. RifleSlinger

    RifleSlinger Tele-Meister

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    That’s gorgeous. What was your method of application? How has it held up?

    I have no experience with tinted shellac, but I’ll be following your progress with great interest.
     
  3. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks. I used a 1.5 lb cut and wiped it on with a small cloth with a cotton ball in the center. Many thin coats, with light sanding every so often, and a final buff with stewmac micro mesh pads.
    So far it has held up perfectly well.
     
  4. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nothing over it?
     
  5. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    Nope, just shellac.
     
  6. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    If no one has recommendations on what tint of shellac to use, I suppose I could just order a quarter pound of each of those three and apply to a light scrap of wood to see how it looks.

    This is the new warmoth neck that I’ll be finishing:

    C4520644-DD18-4FDC-9154-DE7EFBA46A24.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  7. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    They're all gonna make that flame stand out. Depends on what YOU want as a tint.

    I like the dark amber look myself. With that flame & a couple coats of Tru Oil it would be spectacular.

    I'll get some images of my use of amber tinted flakes. Trying to remember what the name color was.
     
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  8. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Wow, great job!
     
  9. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    I find myself once again wondering how a tru oil finish would look and feel. I suppose I should just get a nice piece of maple as a test case, experiment with tru oil and see how it compares to shellac. I assume it qualifies as a hard finish, as mentioned in warmoth’s warranty disclaimer that requires you to apply a “hard finish” within 30 days of receiving a wood item that is susceptible to moisture absorption.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  10. RifleSlinger

    RifleSlinger Tele-Meister

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    One thing I would recommend is using a hardening oil as a lube for your pad, just a drop or two, during the last couple coats. It reacts with the shellac to harden it. I used walnut oil from Safeway. My neck’s finish has held up perfectly so far after almost a year and a half.
     
  11. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's

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    Home stair treads are frequently made with hard maple - if you can find some cut-offs it's a good source of test pieces.

    Amber/orange is usually a little too orange-looking, so you need a little garnet/brown to soften the glow. Of course, there is no absolutely correct mix. Buying all three shades, mixing and testing, should get you something that will satisfy your taste.
     
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  12. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    Is Birchwood Casey a good brand of tru-oil?
     
  13. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    As far as I know, Birchwood Casey is the only manufacturer of TruOil.

    "TruOil" is their trade name for the blend of the different ingredients contained in TruOil.


    Best Regards,
    Geo.

    EDIT: If you decide to go with shellac and apply it similar to how you did on the first neck, I think the garnet would make that figured neck look stunning!
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
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  14. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    This is correct. TruOil is a brand name for BC’s gunstock oil. I agree with Geo on the garnet shellac, also.
     
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  15. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks guys for the recommendations... I think I’ll end up getting some tints of shellac, some truOil, and a few scraps of maple to experiment on.
    R.strat, I seem to recall you finishing a neck with truOil not so long ago, got any glamour shots as examples?
     
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  16. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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  17. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    I think you are on the right track with that approach :).

    I've spent a lot of time over the past year doing the same thing. Test pieces, a lot of trial and error (experiments ;)), and a lot of research too.

    When I built my first guitar, it was pretty obvious that my weakest point was applying finishes.

    I'd handled quite a few guitars and looked at enough pictures to know what I liked as far as finished looks go, but I didn't have much of a clue on what steps to take to get that sort of finish.

    One thing I can say about the "orange" shellac: when used by itself it gives light colored woods (like most maples) a weird, kind of un-natural, "Cheeto's" color :eek:!




    Best Regards,
    Geo.
     
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  18. superbadj

    superbadj Poster Extraordinaire

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    @RLee77 that neck (the finished one) looks great! Really nice job.

    Garnet or darker amber works well on raw maple necks, I've done several that way. If you start to get to a color you like, finish it w/the super blonde or something lighter so you don't over-darken it. But that hasn't happened to me yet.

    Also: I finished my necks in shellac in....maybe 2013? No issues in 5 years. So you have a long life of use ahead of you.
     
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  19. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    Ok I’ve collected all the materials I need for my big finish comparison testing.
    Got a maple board big enough to do several different finishes on, garnet shellac flakes, blonde flakes, some stewmac vintage amber tint, and some truOil.
    The truOil was a bear to locate here in CA, since they have determined that it’s toxic and banned it (eye roll). I didn’t realize that at first, and drove around to a half dozen stores before googling it and discovering the silly ban. So I finally got some, via an obvious source, and I’ll avoid mentioning it to keep from exposing it.

    So I plan on doing four tests, side-by-side on the maple board: plain truOil, garnet shellac, vintage amber dye under truOil, and then blonde shellac.
    I’ll be looking to see which one looks the right color I’m going for, and which might enhance the grain on my flame maple neck the best.

    The stewmac dye says dilute 1 oz. per quart, but not sure if I should go stronger. And I’ll have to figure out how to convert that ratio to drops, since I don’t need much for this test.
    Anyone with a proven formula for mixing this type of dye?
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
  20. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Cool! Can't wait to see the results of your test.
     
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