Shellac refreshing

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Nikos_Greek
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:18 am

Shellac refreshing

Post by Nikos_Greek » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:45 pm

Hello everybody! I have a question for the luthiers in the forum or any experienced guitar players. I have a Bernabe M 50 Cedar top guitar and after a year a small area of shellac just where the right hand rests on the top has faded. I am thinking of repairing/refreshing the shellac myself. Actually I am thinking of doing a pore filling on the back and sides of the guitar as well. I have got the appropriate materials from a specialised luthier company in the US. My question is should I go through the porefilling procedure on the Indian Rosewood or just do the shellac polishing on the top, back and sides? From what I can see there is only a minor fade away of the shellac on the centre of the back, so there is no substantial damage of the shellac there. Thank you for your consideration and I am looking forward to your thoughts!
Nick the Greek

User avatar
Michael.N.
Posts: 6557
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:28 am
Location: UK

Re: Shellac refreshing

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:51 pm

Isn't the guitar pore filled already?
In any case put away the pore filler and the shellac, pore filler can do a lot of damage. Save it for a much cheaper guitar or get plenty of practice on scrap wood. Practice is always a good idea.
Historicalguitars.

MessyTendon
Posts: 1359
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:33 am

Re: Shellac refreshing

Post by MessyTendon » Tue Jul 04, 2017 7:23 pm

Don't use toxic epoxy fillers if that's what your thinking. Stick to traditional pumice/eggwhite. Now I'm no expert, but I've experimented with the traditional pumice/egg whites. It can be removed, or re-touched...with the expoxy, or other heavy duty industrial toxic products, there isn't a great deal you can do to fix mistakes, other than spend a great deal of time leveling, buffing etc...

But the real honest truth is, it's going to take a lot of time no matter you use. The traditional methods are going to yield great results. Just take your time.

The simple option would be to just polish over and leave the pores more natural state. But go ahead and do it. There is no magic, just do it. The reward for your labor, and I mean hours and hours...a nicer finish than you had to begin.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9SO9cpWh9I

Nikos_Greek
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:18 am

Re: Shellac refreshing

Post by Nikos_Greek » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:41 am

Thank you so much guys for your time. The material I have for the pore filling is LMI pore filler, an acrylic water based paste as it stands in the description. Is this an epoxy filler to be avoided according to Tendon? In case I go for the shellac refreshing only what are the dangers there, provided I have practised a lot on scrap Wood (I understand nothing can substitrute experience but from what I have seen on YouTube and read in instructions this is a relatively low skilled but nevertheless time-consuming and laborious work)? Thanks

User avatar
rojarosguitar
Posts: 4178
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:24 pm
Location: near Freiburg, Germany

Re: Shellac refreshing

Post by rojarosguitar » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:26 pm

I don't know, buty any guitar maker I talked to told me that french polishing is the abolutely last thing they would allow an apprentice to do unless they have a lot of practice on waiste material and their approval for the result ... it's not magic, but it certainly takes a lot of practice to get any close to a really nice surface. I certainly would not start on your Bernabé. .. Just for your reflection. :shock:
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

Paul Micheletti
Amateur luthier
Posts: 505
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:48 am
Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Shellac refreshing

Post by Paul Micheletti » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:56 pm

I would second Rojaro. I've french polished 6 guitars now, and I can finally say that I have a good feel for what I'm doing. Before this level, french polish was always a sequence of correcting mistakes performed in prior french polish.

MessyTendon
Posts: 1359
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:33 am

Re: Shellac refreshing

Post by MessyTendon » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:11 pm

I respectfully disagree. Polishing is easy...drawing a plan, fitting braces, and voicing a top, that is hard. But polishing...Rub a darn rag around for 20 hours until you get a polish. That's it.

If the LMI stuff is acrylic based, then it is going to have some sort of pigment in it. If you want the most natural color tone, go with the pumice method because it's tried tested and true.

Take your time, don't let anybody discourage you. Finish work is stupid easy, it just takes a long time. Figure a week to one month...If you let the shellac really harden up. Also you should use a sweat sock on your arm when playing.

Get on with it!

User avatar
eno
Posts: 333
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:56 pm
Location: Boston, USA

Re: Shellac refreshing

Post by eno » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:20 pm

Actually I am thinking of doing a pore filling on the back and sides of the guitar as well.
I really like open pore finish, it feels and looks like real wood as opposed to plasticky shiny closed pore finish. I'm finishing back, sides and neck of one of my restoration project guitars with Liberon without pore fill and it looks just great.
Last edited by eno on Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Paulino Bernabe 'India' 2001
Masaru Kohno No.6 1967
Rokutaro Nakade 1967, 1962

User avatar
rojarosguitar
Posts: 4178
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:24 pm
Location: near Freiburg, Germany

Re: Shellac refreshing

Post by rojarosguitar » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:32 pm

Looks like a real life situation: you ask questions and get many answers, like in the proverb "10 cows, twenty horns...". :D

I don't need to be right at all, just go ahead with whatever you feel confident to do ...
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

Nikos_Greek
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:18 am

Re: Shellac refreshing

Post by Nikos_Greek » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:38 pm

Very illuminating thoughts folks, i appreciate your help. Since the back has minimum wear, only the varnish does not shine as much on the center of the back as it does on the perimeter, i am thinking of skipping pore filling and go ahead with the shellac polishing only. A well known American luthier web site recommends 4-6 repeats of shellac before a good layer of shellac is formed. Is this sound advice?
Nikos

MessyTendon
Posts: 1359
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:33 am

Re: Shellac refreshing

Post by MessyTendon » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:48 pm

Yes you can do a polish over...for crying out loud, it's easy as rubbing a darn rag of shellac. Make your pad and have at it. 4-6 might work it might not.

Remember when you use shellac you are merely moving around the medium with the alcohol and liquid...Think of it is spilling a glass of water and getting a nice perfect spill of thousandths of an inch...you won't get it on your first try. You have to move it around a bit.

A polish over doesn't have to be perfect, it only needs to serve the purpose of protecting the wood. Just do it :) To heck with these folks who say it's hard.

Nikos_Greek
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:18 am

Re: Shellac refreshing

Post by Nikos_Greek » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:10 am

I have already polished top, back and sides of my guitar with a guitar polish product recommended to me by a well known guitar seller in Madrid, where i got the guitar from. it is transparent Kind of shellac, easy to use, very good results. however, as i had expected the faded area under the right arm did not disappear, although it Looks beter now. I am going to do the shellac poloishing at somepoint later and let you know guys. In the mean time I am waiting for my baby from maestro Antonio Raya Pardo, expected in September, spruce top Indian Rosewood back and sides. hopefully i will be able to post photos, but definitely I will post some feedback!

Return to “Luthiers”