"French Polishing" a neck using Zinsser Bullseye SealCoat?


Senior member
O.K., Zinsser SealCoat is a stabilized, wax-free shellac-in-denatured alcohol mix -
SealCoat™ Universal Sanding Sealer is a solution of 100% wax-free shellac in denatured alcohol. Formulated using a patented process, SealCoat is guaranteed to be compatible over and under ALL clear finishes

French polishing involves working multiple layers of thinned shellac into wood with just a touch of olive oil, and depending on the shellac to remelt itself into one unified layer. The oil is periodically "spirited" off. The grain can be filled with stages of shellacing involving pumice & wood dust, but on a maple neck this isn't needed - I prefer a satin end result anyway. There's a killer tutorial here:


If you skip around in there, it actually seems like a time-consuming but rather foolproof process - if something is going "wrong" there's always a correction to the process to compensate.
Most anyone can French polish a guitar if they have the right materials and information. French polishing is made to order for instrument collectors, dealers and guitarists. We would advise anyone who is interested to give it a try. You have everything to gain and very little to invest. It takes no special equipment and can be mastered in a short period of time.

Skuttlefunk had an answer up in a different post which was basically a "french-polishing-with-Tru-Oil" tutorial:


I can't see why the Sealcoat shellac wouldn't be just fine for this.... Any thoughts? (oh I'll bet....) :hello2:


Senior member
hmmm ... I've not used anything that would spirit off as fast as alcohol can/will. IMO, sounds like this is definitely worth a test drive report stubsie

all the best,


Keyser Soze

Senior member
I love shellac, on guitars and furniture, it looks great, feels great and is easy to use and easy to repair.  If it wasn't for small children I'd finish every bit of furniture with shellac.

I've used all of the Zinnser/Bullseye shellac products extensively (mainly on furniture, but also guitars.)  Based on my own experience I'd recommend not using the sealer product for a padding type finish.  I have used both the amber and clear Bullseye shellacs (diluted with denatured alcohol) as padding finish with good results.  One of my Warmoth guitars (jatoba on makore) has just such a finish (i used amber.)

However early last year I was finishing some furniture and decided to skimp and use the sealer for the final finish.  While I was not actually padding it, instead brushing it on then sanding it level with a block, it just did not build nearly as well or as evenly as the other products, cratering was a major issue.  I eventually had to break out the alcohol, strip it clean and re-do it with Bullseye clear (which worked fine, and being a heavier cut, built up much faster.)  I do not have any specific reasons why this was the case, but I assume it is something about the formulation - maybe a surfactant or some such additive that makes it a better (ie. thinner seal coat.)