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Wiping blends that mix different solvents

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Yonatan, Apr 15, 2021.

  1. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

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    I've heard of course of mixing BLO and poly for a wipe on finish, but I just saw somewhere a suggestion to mix BLO and shellac, in apparent violation of the Common Internet Wisdom that you shouldn't create a blend of finishes that use different solvents (terpentine and alcohol in this case).

    What do you say?
     
  2. Meteorman

    Meteorman Tele-Afflicted

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    i say -- like any technique that is new to me -- I'd try it on scrap before I allowed it near my real project
     
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  3. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Shellac is considered the "universal" finish in that it sticks to (almost) anything and (almost) anything will stick to shellac. That is why it is frequently used as a seal coat. The normal solvent in shellac finishes is alcohol, however there are oil based varnishes that are sometimes used on instruments - particularly bowed instruments like violins.

    I sometimes use shellac for seal coats and on vintage style instruments I use it as French polish, but it is a delicate finish that can be damaged by solvents like alcohol. It is easily damaged but also easily repaired.

    If you read enough in the internet you will find someone somewhere who has finished a guitar with almost any product you can imagine. My preference is to stick with things that I know will work and even then I almost always practice on scrap of the same wood before I put anything on my guitars.
     
  4. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

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    I'm a big fan of shellac as a finish, I'd just never heard of mixing it together with BLO, and was wondering about it since they use different solvents. But I just searched a bit more, it seems that it's a variant of french polishing.
     
  5. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    French polish is a well defined technique that uses shellac dissolved in alcohol, some sort of oil is used as a lubricant. The alcohol flashes off ("spirits off") and leave a very thin application of shellac - many many many coats build a warm luster that is hard to duplicate with other finishes. The last few coats are applied with mostly just alcohol - that gives the final gloss.

    I use olive oil when I FP, other use walnut oil or other stuff. Some use nothing. That seems to be one of the "secrets" of FP - what oil and what technique is use.

    I FP classical guitars and might use it to touch up finish on vintage instruments. I would never use it on an electric or a guitar that will see hard service.

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