Time for another good shellacking

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

  1. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    RLee,
    On the Stewmac dye - If SM recommends 1 oz. dye to 32 oz. of diluent, I'm pretty sure it's the same ratio that Jeff Jewitt recommends for his Transtint dyes.

    You can adapt that same ratio to employ other units of measurement like milliliters or even drops.

    For small batches of tint mixtures, I like measuring in milliliters. There are approximately 30 milliliters in one ounce, so you can accurately measure out a small batch when working in milliliters. By measuring accurately, you can come up with a formula that you can accurately repeat no matter how large or how small the batch is.

    Whatever unit of measurement you choose to use, you still use the 1 to 32 ratio.

    1 ounce to 32 ounces

    1 milliliter to 32 milliliters

    1 gallon to 32 gallons

    1 drop to 32 drops

    For testing out tints and zeroing in on a shade that I'm looking to achieve, I'll usually mix up a batch at the recommended ratio, like in this case 1 to 32. Then I'll draw off a portion of that mix and blend it with an equal amount of diluent, so then I also have batch of half-strength (1 to 64) dye mixture. That weaker mixture gives me the ability to experiment a little bit more and creep up on the shade I'm after :).

    Oftentimes, I'll prefer the look of 2 or 3 coats of the half-strength mixture (1 to 64) over 1 coat of the full strength (1 to 32). Have fun with experimenting and finding the shade that you want :).


    Best Regards,
    Geo.
     
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  2. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks @old wrench that was very helpful. It’s the Colortone #5030 vintage amber dye/stain. I’ll have to pick up a ml measuring beaker, seems like a good unit of measurement to use. I may already have one, if I can just locate it.
     
  3. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    The beakers or cups are pretty easy to come by even here in the U.S. where we still use the ridiculous system of ounces and quarts and the like.

    The first time I was looking around for something marked in milliliters, my old gal gave me a little cup that had come with a bottle of cough medicine for measuring out the dose.
     
  4. dan40

    dan40 Tele-Afflicted

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    It was seeing your pics RLee77 that made me decide to try shellac for the first time. I mixed up a little of the vintage amber tint into some beige shellac and spayed it on with a Preval. So far it has turned out really nice. I'll be watching thus thread closely to see how yours turns out.
     
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  5. blackbelt308

    blackbelt308 Tele-Holic

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    I've had great results getting the perfect amber color on bodies and necks with a mix of super blonde and garnet shellac (fresh from flakes). You can play with the ratio, but it's along the lines of more blonde, less garnet. After shellac, I've finished with both Tru-Oil and lacquer with equally good results. If I want a glossier finish, I'll go with lacquer.

    I used my amber shellac recipe for the top of this body to provide the base color before using StewMac trans cherry red lacquer for the burst ring. I first used super blonde on the top (to pop the grain), then masked the edges and hit it with the amber mix. You can see how the edges are more of a natural color as compared to the center of the top.

    [​IMG]

    Good luck!
    Rick
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
  6. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    @blackbelt308 that is a stunning guitar! I really like that.

    I'm currently testing finishes on a maple board; one of those is a garnet/blonde 50/50 mix. I'm still adding coats, and doing side-by-side with TruOil only and another with amber stain under TruOil. I'll post results when I get a few more coats on each of them.
     
  7. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    I’m continuing to add coats to the test scrap of maple, and have a question for the truOil fans: how many coats do you usually use on a neck?
     
  8. Mat UK

    Mat UK Tele-Afflicted

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    It depends if you’re going for aesthetics or feel; I’ve done 30 coats for a high gloss finish and I’ve done about 12 coats for a nice thin sheen. I prefer the 12 coats for feel and would probably continue doing that if using tru oil again.

    The beauty of tru oil is that you can keep adding coats until you’re satisfied, it’s very hard to overdo it because it goes on so thin - which is probably why it’s so popular on this forum and with diy builders

    You can’t go wrong!
     
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  9. Solaris moon

    Solaris moon Tele-Meister

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    I know that this is a dumb assed question considering that I've done finishing I don't know how many times for a living, but WHY do you think that you HAVE to use shellac on a guitar with all the finishes that are much more suitable and far more durable that are available today? I don't know what todays' shellac is actually made from but traditionally it's made from bug SH&t and spit! TRUE STORY! I wouldn't use that on anyones' guitar!
     
  10. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    You have access to the WWWebnets just like the rest of us.
     
  11. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    Yep, it does come from bugs! :lol:
    Suitable? My shellacked neck seems very suitable to me. For durability, it has protected the wood from the things I subject it to.

    I like that it’s natural, and not a concoction of hazardous chemicals. I like how house-friendly it is to apply and to touch-up if needed. Mostly though, I think it’s the excellent results I got that make it a great finish. And it’s fun to work with. I always mix my own flakes, never use it pre-made.

    I’m not opposed to other finishes, however... so it’s not that I feel I HAVE to use it. As you can see from previous posts I’m experimenting with truOil currently. I also have some nitro I’m saving to use on a body. Shellac just has a lot of positives in my book though. I don’t need my guitars to have the same degree of protection as my tables, chairs, floors, or shelves... I don’t use my guitars as a coffee table, or put hot plates of food on them or leave them in the desert sun or on the beach in a storm.
     
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  12. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    Yep, made from bugs. Like honey.

    “Today’s shellac” is made the same way it was always made. Shellac, btw, is approved as edible and is used as a glaze in candy and medicine.

    Have you ever finished a guitar at home?

    No finish is perfect. Nitro is great in many ways, but it requires a spray rig, is highly toxic, and is very sensitive to humidity and temperature. In my house, perfect days for spraying also tend to be perfect days outdoor chores that need to get done. Tru oil, which is a wiping varnish, is great in many ways, but it’s pricey and very slow to build. Catalyzed poly is incredibly durable but highly toxic. Rattle can enamels are pretty toxic and also very sensitive to weather conditions. Water based finishes tend to impart a bluish cast. A finishes involve some trade offs. I look at my daughter and her friends hanging around the house and shellac is an easy choice.

    I use shellac because I build at home and it’s not toxic. It requires no spray rig. It’s not easily marred by dust. It’s not weather dependent. It’s easily dyed or tinted. It’s easily repaired. It gives a very warm effect and it feels good. You can easily get a very thin gloss finish, and you can easily control the level of gloss.

    Here’s a thread I started on using shellac: http://www.tdpri.com/threads/an-intro-to-french-polishing-and-shellac.621494/

    Below are some examples of shellac finish. Nobody HAS to use shellac. There are lots of other finishes.

     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
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  13. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    Yep, just bug poo refined and strained. I like it and varnish because I can only spray water based finishes in my work space. Shellac is a universal finish bonder if it's dewaxed, and it can be fixed easily forever. And the cheap zinsser amber sealer makes a water based finish look a lot warmer.

    I do use it as a sealer more than a top coat, but it makes a decent topcoat and refreshes easily if you manage to get it to blush by sweating on it.
     
  14. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

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    Shellac is versatile and always gives results that look like "real guitar".

    The orange (garnet) shellac is orange because of wax in it. It is safer to mix white shellac with a bit of amber dye (I use stewmac). I am not sure but I think the wax was what was giving me troubles with bubbling finishes in the sun. Lets face it, too many of us make too many experiments, sometimes it blows up in our face. White shellac is more experiment-friendly. It yellows beautifully with time, thank God the claim on the can that it stays crystal clear is a lie.

    Orange shellac sure looks good though.

    When you are finally done with a shellac project and it has had a couple months for any shrinkage to settle down, nothing beats a thin coat of clear nitrocellulose lacquer. It changes the durability from years to decades. It stops the soft feeling shellac can get in the places where your hand is always touching it. Finally, it is super easy to repair with any combination of shellac and lacquer you can throw at it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
  15. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    If you pad the amber shellac, you'll have no problems. The wax is beneficial if shellac is the top coat. The less refined the shellac is, the better it holds up over time without any additional buffing. If you get button lac and apply it, it should retain its shine for along time.

    I haven't allowed any dewaxed shellac as a top coat, but understand it may need some refreshing time to time. If you rub down a guitar with polish every time you change the strings (as some do), that's probably enough - but I'm not speaking from experience doing that. I've made furniture with blonde (waxed) top coat shellac and it's held up well. I wouldn't be afraid to use it on a guitar, and it's nothing special - just the blonde zinsser pre-mix shellac that still retains its wax. It's not tolerant of alcohol and if you leave a sweating glass on it for a long time, it may blush or leave a ring, but it's easy to fix if that happens. just buff the ring off and pad a little bit of shellac and buff.

    Its lack of use as a guitar finish probably has two causes:
    1) the assumption of a less durable but easily repairable finish is that the end user will know how to repair it (I doubt many guitar buyers these days know how to do much)
    2) it's not cheap, and it's sticky if you let it dry. Water based lacquer that builds fast is cheap.

    I've only ever tried one water based shellac that was a sanding sealer with a finishing system that I used (Target). It was terrible and had pigment added to try to make it look like amber based shellac. The pigment settled in grain and didn't make a uniform color, and there's no good reason to make shellac water based unless you must have a finish that isn't flammable.
     
  16. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    I've got some button lac that I've used on a few different projects.

    It comes in rock hard blobs about the size of a silver dollar. I use my old gal's coffee grinder (don't tell her ;)) to reduce it to small grains before dissolving in PGA. It still has the wax in it and it pads beautifully into a nice french polish.

    This stuff produces a harder finish than the dewaxed flake stuff I also use.

    My guess is that in the old days, some type of button lac was probably what they used on floors. Hard and durable, yet easy to touch up or repair! :)



    Best Regards,
    Geo.
     
  17. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    Shellac is a natural product, and if you use a grain type of alcohol, it's also a sustainable and renewable resource that causes little harm to the environment and the critters (like us) that live here.

    If by accident, you (or your critters) would ingest a bit of shellac made with PGA (don't even think about doing this with "industrial" alcohol), you would be OK and live on to continue with your finishing on another day.

    I like using "green" products when ever I can - you know, stuff that won't make the planet a worse place to live for my grand-kids and their children :).



    Best Regards,
    Geo.
     
  18. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    oh, so sexy!
     
  19. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Could someone please tell me what PGA means?

    Googling 'shellac' with PGA turned up mostly nail salon tips o_O. Adding '-nails', and the results were all about golf. Appending '-golf', and all I got was chemistry articles.
     
  20. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    I’m guessing pure grain alcohol. Like Everclear
     
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