Shellac as... well, everything but top coat

S

swarfrat

Guest
Trip to local box stores for grain filler yielded nothing. I'm doing a seal coat of thin shellac anyway, so I thought about using a heavy cut for a grain fill.  I'm also looking into trying flakes this time, and had questions of course.

1) Has anyone here used a heavy cut of shellac for a grain fill? Results? Pics?
2) Has anyone used any of the darker variants of shellac? Just how dark is the garnet stuff anyway? I know it doesn't look like cordovan shoe polish (the way the flakes look). The one or two examples I saw actually didn't look super super dark.  I'm intrigued but don't want to darken too much.
3) If you used shellac for seal and fill, what'd you put over it?
 

mayfly

Senior member
Messages
8,233
I've gone deep down the shellac rabbit hole with my HiFi products, and this is my report:

1 - It does not work that great for grain fill.  It just takes too many damn coats for it to fill stuff.  My grain fill method involves using a clear filler over top a shellac base coat that is adjusted to the colour I want.  Then I sand that back and do the finish coats.  I'm using aquacoat for the filler.

2 - I have used garnet.  It's dark, but not really that dark.  Sadly I don't have any pics, but it's not crazy dark.  I've found that a single coat of garnet is about the same of 6 coats of blond.  The garnet tends to be a bit more red looking mind you.

3 - after the clear filler, I do another six coats of shellac then french polish for the final finish.  I have also found that you can polish out the shellac just like you would with any other finish:  start with 400 and work your way up to, say, 2000 and you'll have a nice shiny coat.  If the whole french polish thing freaks you out, then it will polish up very well with going up in the sandpaper grits.

One last thing:  If you are using flakes, be prepared:  it takes FOREVER for the stuff to dissolve!  Like several days.  Do your mix about a week ahead of time.  Also watch what you dissolve it with:  I got this stuff from a local supplier which is supposed to be for shellac flakes, and it does work, but man it is noxious!  It's worse than freaking Acetone.  Next time I'm going to go with pure isopropyl alcohol and see how that works.
 
S

swarfrat

Guest
This is for the mahogany tele - the garnet could work if it's subtle.  My hope for filler was that it's fast. I've not shot it - just wipe, but I'm curious about trying to spray it. Wondering if the tiny airbrushes are enough for a guitar - I have a bigger (but still small) HVLP but honestly it's a pain, has only one jar which probably has dried latex in it, and the jar is ginormous for things with short shelf life - a ton of waste.

 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,217
Why not take a look at pumice as a filler for the mahogany. It is a traditional method that has been used for many years on certain classical instruments.
 
S

swarfrat

Guest
Bought some aquacoat to fill, and some garnet flakes. Not sure about the garnet yet, but I can buy blonde dewaxed liquid local but not this stuff. I'll hit it with a seal coat, then grain fill clear, then test the garnet under the bridge.

Man, shellac is pricey. Apparently most of it goes into food. And no it's not bug poop, its a secretion
 

mayfly

Senior member
Messages
8,233
Note! Don't do the clear filler too soon!  I found that using the clear filler too soon 'locked in' the colour of the pores to something I didn't like.  Please get it the colour you want in the pores before doing the clear. 

And, (I'm sure you don't need reminding, but I'm reminding anyway) do a test patch, ideally on scrap
 
S

swarfrat

Guest
Mixed up a 1oz test batch of 1lb cut. Man is garnet dark for how thin this is. I probably have another day or two before it's dissolved enough.  My old reloading scale came in handy trying to measure out 3.6g worth of flakes (was more than I thought). Gonna hit a test patch under the pickguard before I route the lefty bridge.
 

bagman67

Senior member
Messages
8,247
Do you suppose you could get the shellac to dissolve faster using a magnetic stirrer?  Just set the thing down on the motor with the bar magnet in the jar and let 'er go.

 
S

swarfrat

Guest
I *almost* bought one of those. I actually almost also bought a gram scale before I remembered I had one from my reloading days.  It's actually already dissolved - but this is a 1lb cut for sealing - a 2lb or heavier cut might take longer to dissolve.
 

mayfly

Senior member
Messages
8,233
the magnet would get coated in shellac.  and man that stuff is sticky.  Sticks to anything!!!.  I was using a Teflon rod to stir my first batch thinking "well, it won't stick to that".  But it did.

Swarfrat:  what did you use to dissolve the flakes in?
 
S

swarfrat

Guest
I used DNA. Can't bring myself to pay liquor tax on something that's not a taxable use (can't drink the stuff either. Was never a heavy drinker, like three or four times a year, but GERD makes anything stronger than wine like pouring fire down my throat.)

I've read that ammonia will break it down even after it dries. I tried that but the bentonite made a big mess everywhere. (Kidding, I will get a jug for experimentation)

I found a can of blonde in the shed,  but the forum software warning on posting to old threads suggests it's way way way expired.
 
S

swarfrat

Guest
I was wondering if maybe mayfly's experience was because he lives up in tundra territory , but no - my 2lb cut didn't want to dissolve completely too.

 
S

swarfrat

Guest
Note Bene:
Spraying shellac might be a cool concept for tint and top coats. But for pore tint - you want to flood that puppy with runny stuff. Spray tends to sit on the surface unless you're using a fire hose.
I did spray and it was going well, but then I realized this, and went back with a 2lb wipe on coat which I plan to sand back.
 
Top