Tru-Oil over Shellac? or poly? laquer?


I'm working on a Tele project and am now finishing the body (which is Ash).

I wanted a deep, rich, yet still transparent, amber color; and I've been curious about Shellac and French Polish, so I decided to take a chance and experiment with it. After several coats, and lots of sanding, so far the color looks great. However, I'm concerned about the durability of the Shellac by it self (as I've recently read that it does not wear well, and may need some sort of top coat/clear coat).

So, I'm wondering what are my options for a clear coat. I've heard that it is not uncommon to use Shellac as a sanding sealer, with Laquer as a top coat(s). But, I'm wondering if Tru-Oil would work the same way... as a top coat(s) over the Shellac? I've already finished a neck with the Tru-Oil, which turned out fantastic; so I'm happy with the results and like how easy it is to work with.

Apparently, some finishes won't work over (or under) others, depending upon whether they are oil, alchohol or water based... so I'm not sure if these two materials are compatible.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


I personally would not use Tru-Oil over shellac.  TO is sort of amber as it is, and is a varnish - not really an oil.  The "oil" in its name is more of an indication that its formulated to go on like an oil - such as Tung or Linseed, but be faster drying etc.  Just know, its not an oil, its full of petrol products, which oils do not have.  What they will do to the shellac... I cannot say.  You could try it on scrap and see.

Nitrocellulose Lacquer over shellac works just fine, as lacquer is acetone based and it does not hurt the shellac too badly, and will stick to the shellac as well.
Thanks CB ! I'm willing to try Nitro Laquer...

Unfortunately, since my last post I was informed that the amber shellac that I've been using has a high wax content... and therefore will supposedly not take well to having a hard finish (like a laquer) over it. Is this correct?

Also, there was a low spot (from a bit of a gouge from the sander) that I filled with the shellac. It seemed to work fine as a filler, except that now that spot is considerably darker in color that the rest of the body (looks like a large burn mark).

So, I'm wondering if I should strip off the shellac where the gouge is, and fill it with grain filler (or some sort of poly) and then reapply the amber shellac over it ... or should I just strip ALL of the shellac off and start over? The goal being to achieve the deep, rich amber color, with a harder, more durable finish on top.

The amber color as it is now is quite nice, though I'm sure it could probably be achieved by other means. Your (or anyone else's) thoughts?

Thanks again!