Beeswax For Inside The Guitar

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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romanticguitars
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Beeswax For Inside The Guitar

Post by romanticguitars » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:19 am

Just wondering about something... I sometimes like to put a thin coat of shellac one the interior sides and back plate braces before closing up the box... I know some builders do this and I have occasionally. But today as I was working on my students guitar I wanted to seal it up some since she lives here in New Mexico and she lives on a ranch where she doesn't have the best climate control. Don't necessarily want to use shellac so I took a little beeswax and rubbed it on a section of the Indian rosewood near the tail block. I like the way it just naturally seals the wood and doesn't make the inside of the guitar smell like a paint store... anyone else use it? Thoughts?


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"Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart." Segovia

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Steve Ganz
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Re: Beeswax For Inside The Guitar

Post by Steve Ganz » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:14 am

I have never heard of it and am not familiar with how beeswax behaves.
What happens when it gets warm?
Steve

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James Lister
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Re: Beeswax For Inside The Guitar

Post by James Lister » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:56 am

My main reason for not liking the idea of any sort of finish on the inside of the guitar is that it makes repairs more difficult.

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Keith
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Re: Beeswax For Inside The Guitar

Post by Keith » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:35 am

I am envisioning a ranch in New Mexico as being hot and dry. Would coating the wood with beeswax inhibit the wood from absorbing what little moisture is in the air or could be in the air (i.e., artificial humidification)?
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romanticguitars
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Re: Beeswax For Inside The Guitar

Post by romanticguitars » Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:55 pm

Humidity yesterday outside my shop was 5 percent... I have used shellac in the past to try to keep moisture trapped inside... I have played a venue Gallup once where my guitar dried out and all the strings mysteriously started buzzing... as soo as I got it back in the case it cleared up. I agree with James about the repair issue but dryness here is tough.
"Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart." Segovia

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Re: Beeswax For Inside The Guitar

Post by Douglass Scott » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:42 pm

Shellac is pretty easy to sand away from the inside of a guitar before gluing in cleats, and hide glue actually sticks pretty well to shellac wash coats. On the other hand, nothing sticks to wax at all, and it's impossible to sand away. It gums up sandpaper and you can never be sure you got it all off. Wax also won't slow down humidity transfer between air and wood any better than shellac does, and it'll definitely complicate repairs more than shellac so I vote nay. I know it probably looks good and is easier to apply than shellac, but....

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Re: Beeswax For Inside The Guitar

Post by romanticguitars » Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:33 pm

Douglass Scott wrote:Shellac is pretty easy to sand away from the inside of a guitar before gluing in cleats, and hide glue actually sticks pretty well to shellac wash coats. On the other hand, nothing sticks to wax at all, and it's impossible to sand away. It gums up sandpaper and you can never be sure you got it all off. Wax also won't slow down humidity transfer between air and wood any better than shellac does, and it'll definitely complicate repairs more than shellac so I vote nay. I know it probably looks good and is easier to apply than shellac, but....
I agree. Thanks... I was just exploring options...I do use wax when I rec tone wood but just on the edges to help seal it while stored...
"Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart." Segovia

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Steve Ganz
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Re: Beeswax For Inside The Guitar

Post by Steve Ganz » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:16 pm

5 %
Remarkable.
Steve

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Beeswax For Inside The Guitar

Post by Rick Beauregard » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:30 pm

Steve Ganz wrote:5 %
Remarkable.
New Mexico! That must be where I was at in my bad dream the other night, Steve. :russa: I opened my case and Solidarity was cracked and drying, wood turning to dust, and the top sprung off. I woke up.

Since then my guitar has never sounded better! :chaud:
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2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
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Re: Beeswax For Inside The Guitar

Post by RedCliff » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:18 pm

Never tried to make an instrument to survive in 5% humidity. But, if you are going down the route of sealing the inside for this reason then why not go the whole hog and coat it with a thin layer of something such as a spar varnish or even Rustins Plastic Coating (is that available in the US?) which for those who don't know is a two-part cold cure finish, based on Urea Formaldehyde resins, plasticised with alkyd and reinforced with melamine. You can epoxy over it if you need to. Just an idea, better that than a broken guitar.
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astro64
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Re: Beeswax For Inside The Guitar

Post by astro64 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:09 pm

I live in NM. I doubt the humidity inside ever gets as low as 5% (my hygrometers don't measure down to that level, so I am not sure), but certainly outside it does. My solution has always been to humidify the room where I keep the guitars. Easier and less worrisome than trying to make sure the guitar inside a case stays humid enough. When playing it elsewhere, I haven't had issues over the relatively short time span (though I would put a humidifying device in the case). Coating the inside might well make a bit of a difference but in itself will not be of enough help to avoid additional humidification. Cheapest in-case humidification is a damp sponge (distilled water) in a zip lock bag that has some holes punched in. Evaporative cooling in the summer is much better for the guitars than AC so that might be one question to ask your customer.

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Re: Beeswax For Inside The Guitar

Post by romanticguitars » Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:28 am

astro64 wrote:I live in NM. I doubt the humidity inside ever gets as low as 5% (my hygrometers don't measure down to that level, so I am not sure), but certainly outside it does. My solution has always been to humidify the room where I keep the guitars. Easier and less worrisome than trying to make sure the guitar inside a case stays humid enough. When playing it elsewhere, I haven't had issues over the relatively short time span (though I would put a humidifying device in the case). Coating the inside might well make a bit of a difference but in itself will not be of enough help to avoid additional humidification. Cheapest in-case humidification is a damp sponge (distilled water) in a zip lock bag that has some holes punched in. Evaporative cooling in the summer is much better for the guitars than AC so that might be one question to ask your customer.
Yeah,I keep my shop at 45-50% and when I have built guitars for people who live in like Virginia I find out what they're average humidity levels are and built their guitar to that climate, it it NEVER goes outside my shop until it's ready to ship. But I've lived here about thirty years so I know how to deal with it and it's usually worse in spring and early summer, at least here at 8000 feet NW NM... I put a light coat of shellac just on the inside sides linings... I'll probably do Tru Oil back and sides and shellac top... and I'm supplying her a humidity controlled case... nothing I can do if she decides to pull it out some starry night and play around the desert campfire...
"Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart." Segovia

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Re: Beeswax For Inside The Guitar

Post by astro64 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:15 am

8000 feet NW New Mexico, that sounds like a nice place to be in the summer!

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Steve Ganz
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Re: Beeswax For Inside The Guitar

Post by Steve Ganz » Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:19 am

Rick Beauregard wrote:
Steve Ganz wrote:5 %
Remarkable.
New Mexico! That must be where I was at in my bad dream the other night, Steve. :russa: I opened my case and Solidarity was cracked and drying, wood turning to dust, and the top sprung off. I woke up.

Since then my guitar has never sounded better! :chaud:
That is a bad dream. Motivating you to keep the guitar in the case... do as I say not as I do.
Steve

Tom Sommerville
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Re: Beeswax For Inside The Guitar

Post by Tom Sommerville » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:59 pm

Just a thought:
I use wax frequently to protect surfaces from glue, rust protection, and as a handy lubricant for plane soles. It's for drilling metals and even milling plastic. I discovered that furniture wax applied to the back of the neck is -- I guess the best way to describe it "seductive;" I can't say it actually improves playing, but it feels like it should.

One day I got a notion to try a little paste wax on the strings of my guitar to see if the advantages would carry over.
It killed the bass strings.

That was enough to convince me not to use wax on anything I wanted to resonate. There are good arguments for sealing the inside of the instrument, but wax is far from the best choice. Oh yeah, almost forgot, it's not as good as shellac as a moisture barrier.

Come to think of it, it might be fine for a Les Paul.

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