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Thread: Will my Bullseye amber shellac finish ever dry???

  1. #1
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    Will my Bullseye amber shellac finish ever dry???

    How long does shellac usually take to totally cure?

    I just played my guitar for a couple of hours and on finishing it was literally stuck to my t-shirt!
    Maybe I have invented a finish that replaces the need for guitar straps..
    I have played it every day over the last 4 days and this is the first velcro experience..

    The guitar was painted probably just 5 days ago or so, and of course is touch dry, but it seems once it gets some body heat and perhaps a little sweat onto it, it melts/sticks. The finish now has a large area of t-shirt fluff embedded in it .. hmmm..

    Throughout the shellac application there were problems, but I had hoped that all I had to settle for was a patchy finish.. now it seems that I may have to settle for a sticky one too.

    Our product batch code began with S8 (Which I understand means it was made in 2018 and with a shelf life of 36mths it could be about 1 year past its best).

    Anyone have experience with out of date Shellac? Does it ever cure and settle?
    Ours wasn't cut with anything and was lightly applied over 3 days duration to a total of only 3 to 4 light coats directly to the bare wood. Sanded between each application and has not yet even been polished.

    The guitar sounds great.. maybe sticky shellac is this tone chasers dream come true!

    cheers,
    G.
    Last edited by GerardL; 23-02-2022 at 02:13 PM.

  2. #2
    Bitter experience says finishes always take far longer to dry than we want or thought possible. Unless you are brushing on that final coat which will go tacky before your eyes, and that fly will land on it, whereupon the finish will dry rock hard instantly.....

  3. #3
    Mentor fender3x's Avatar
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    I am not sure what to do if you have applied shellac that is too old. I can tell you how to test if it is too old... Put a drop on something hard and wait 24 hrs. If the drop does not harden the batch has gone bad. Hopefully someone can say what to do about a bad batch that's been applied ...

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    Mentor fender3x's Avatar
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    I have not tried this, but had a feeling something like this might work.

    http://villagecarpenter.blogspot.com...e-bad.html?m=1

    The solution may be to either remove your shellac or add some more, thinner shellac. Bullseye is, I think, a 2lb cut. If you want to try to keep the finish, maybe try going over it with a 1lb cut or even a 1/2lb cut.

    The less water in your alcohol the better. I wish I could say this will work for sure, but I haven't tried it. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will chime in, but if not, this might be worth a try...

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  5. Liked by: GerardL

  6. #5
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    Thank you, if the finish hasn't dried in say a month from now I will try that.
    Thing is.. the tin says, do not cut/thin.
    So I may need to just opt for a 'fresh' / in date can of the same Amber Shellac.
    But that technique may well do the trick, given the shellac doesn't really 'layer/coat' like a paint and instead merges making one thick coat.

    My understanding is that the Zinssers Bullseye Amber Shellac product contains Wax and for that, or other, reasons cannot be thinned.
    Their Clear shellac can be thinned, but I suspect if I were to use a thinned clear over the amber I may get a reaction in the finish and make things worse.

    So for now I will play it safe.. and 'stick with the current finish' in the hope it drys in time.

  7. #6
    Mentor fender3x's Avatar
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    I have only used dewaxed. That you can thin for sure. Not sure about the waxed. People thin the dewaxed all the time. I looked at some woodworking sites that recommend thinning waxed with alcohol. Even Bullseye. They also recommend NOT using anything but alcohol though.

    Curious why you chose to use the waxed product instead of the dewaxed. I have never used the waxed so I don't really know what advantages there are to using it?

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    Last edited by fender3x; 26-02-2022 at 12:14 AM.

  8. #7
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fender3x View Post
    I have only used dewaxed. That you can thin for sure. Not sure about the waxed. People thin the dewaxed all the time. I looked at some woodworking sites that recommend thinning waxed with alcohol. Even Bullseye. They also recommend NOT using anything but alcohol though.

    Curious why you chose to use the waxed product instead of the dewaxed. I have never used the waxed so I don't really know what advantages there are to using it?

    Sent from my LE2125 using Tapatalk
    First, just for for clarification, by "alcohol" fender3x (USA) is referring to what we know as methylated spirits. And by methylated spirits, I'm talking about 100% industrial methylated spirits, not the 95% stuff you get at Bunnings or the supermarket. (I have carried on about this in a number of threads)

    Waxed vs dewaxed, as used in our pursuits of guitar finishing, the reason for using de-waxed is about compatibility with other finish materials that may go over it. For example is the shellac is used either as wood sealer or to get a bit of colour under another clear coat, it needs to be dewaxed or another material (paint, poly etc) won't adhere to it.
    I you never intend to apply anything over the shellac (other than more shellac) there's no reason you can't use a waxed shellac as your finish. However IMO, shellac on its own is not a top choice for a guitar finish for a number of reasons.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

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    Quote Originally Posted by fender3x View Post

    Curious why you chose to use the waxed product instead of the dewaxed. I have never used the waxed so I don't really know what advantages there are to using it?
    We had very little time for the complete project and based on some Youtube videos Shellac looked promising as it dried fast and was easy to work with.
    On selecting the product we wanted an Amber tint to the guitar and that was only available as waxed. I believe their clear shellac comes as waxed or de-waxed.

    So we didn't have a de-waxed option, but also we didn't know the pros/cons of each either at that time.

  10. #9
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    I believe their clear shellac comes as waxed or de-waxed.
    FWIW, all shellac naturally has a tint to it. Just varying degrees as well as colours. They generally range from (lightest to darkest) White, Blonde, Orange, Brown, Ruby and descriptors in between.
    Because it is a naturally acquired product (resin secreted from the female lac bug) there's very little manufacturers can do to control its colour (other than diet). It is what it is, because the type of sap ingested by the bug determines the what colour it will secrete.

    Sooooo... bug secretion, too much information???
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  11. Liked by: GerardL

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