1. The Rules have been updated regarding posting as a business on TGP. Thread with details here: Thread Here
    Dismiss Notice

Shellac finish question!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Jon K., Jan 2, 2008.

  1. Jon K.

    Jon K. Member

    Messages:
    62
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Hi guys,

    I've applied shellac to a tele body that I am trying to finish, but after a few weeks of curing, I can still dent the finish with my fingernail. Is this normal? Do you guys think there is something wrong with the shellac I used? Did I use too much oil perhaps? Is the best solution to sand it back down and start over :(?

    Nuts, I thought I was getting close on this one. It sure looks nice! Just super super fragile. Thanks for any advice.

    Best,
    Jon
     
  2. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

    Messages:
    1,875
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Even with good fresh shellac it would dent from a fingernail, so would lacquer. Did you mix this yourself or was it premixed? I date it when I mix it and toss it after about 6 months although it might be fine for a good while longer. As long as it doesn't imprint or isn't sticky to the touch it's probably ok.
     
  3. Jon K.

    Jon K. Member

    Messages:
    62
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Hi rosewood,

    Its not sticky to the touch (actually it feels very nice). I mixed it myself - its maybe 3 months old maximum. I haven't put it in a case or anything, so I have no idea if it imprints - I'm kind of afraid to try. Its actually a pretty thin cut. I thought it would be better to apply thin shellac over more sessions. hmm. maybe this is how its supposed to be? It certainly looks nice. Any other thoughts?

    Thanks Rosewood.
     
  4. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

    Messages:
    11,808
    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    Shellac should be fully dry in 24 hours. Take some 400 sand paper and sand some hidden area - the shellac should sand easily and produce a white powder.
     
  5. Jon K.

    Jon K. Member

    Messages:
    62
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Thanks daddyo. I just wet sanded with 600 and I got a sort of whitish paste - sands very easily. I might give it a try dry in a spot just to see if does as you say. It definitely felt dry after 24 hours (or less even), it just wasn't hard...still isn't super durable.

    Another question. I was looking at the top and thinking I kinda wish I had dyed the top a bit darker. Can I sand it back down to wood and apply dye? Will I be able to get a nice even color after sanding down to wood from a thin coating of shellac? Curious to know what you guys think!

    Best,
    Jon
     
  6. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

    Messages:
    1,875
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    If it has binding or a separate top I guess you could sand back to wood and stain. Are you spraying this shellac? If so you could mix some stain in the shellac but with brushing or french polishing it would be hard to control the color.
     
  7. Jon K.

    Jon K. Member

    Messages:
    62
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Thanks, rosewood. Yeah, I've been french polishing the shellac. I figured that if I had a blank slate (brand new maple), I could wipe on some dye (transtint in alcohol), let it dry. Then wipe on a couple of wash coats of shellac and then french polish away. But I wasn't sure if I could get a nice even color if I had the wood had already soaked up some shellac. I guess if I sand far enough, it shouldn't be an issue.

    Alternatively, I guess I could tint some shellac and then spray over the top of what I've already french polished on, but I'm not sure that would look as good.
     
  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

    Messages:
    1,624
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2003
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    French polish finishes take a very long time to fully cure. Most owners of French polished classical guitars report finishes being somewhat soft and fragile for at least a couple of years.
     
  9. Jon K.

    Jon K. Member

    Messages:
    62
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Thanks, Jack. I knew I wasn't going to get a bulletproof finish, I was just worried I had done something wrong. I'm starting to feel better about how fragile this finish is. Still wondering about the staining question.
     

Share This Page