Hand Tools

Subject:
That's a very good way to put it...
Response To:
never said that ()

David Weaver
..once you learn to not move wet shellac around with pressure (accidentally - nothing good happens when you start moving a pile of shellac that's putty hardness), you can do it while you're talking to someone else.

The difficulty of it is overdescribed. I would say it's simply "do it on open surfaces and in the corners, get good with an artists brush".

This is how it's done on guitars. But even what's sold as french polished guitars now is a finish that looks incomplete to me - I guess it's in the chase for getting the guitar that sounds the best when someone picks up two guitars, especially if you're going to try to sell something like a $14k yamaha classical guitar (yamaha doesn't seem to get a whole lot of respect in the world of guitars, other than mass produced stuff and some vintage guitars). That sentiment is probably a little different among classical guitarists (otherwise, there wouldn't be buyers for a guitar that expensive).

Nonetheless, for the average person struggling with finishes, using a french polish-like method may be one of the easiest things to do. I found it to take about a day to understand how much you can get away with in terms of speed (thus the pile of shellac comment) - one has to stop before the whole layer can be moved under the rubber and put it on at a slower rate if that's needed.

I used 3lb cut for a quick finish and then almost no alcohol. It's easy to see how it could be made spectacular thinned. I expect older french polished pieces will have a gloss layer so thin that it follows the grain over time (the first water based rubbed out finish I did was thin and it has done the same, as do old guitars that have nitro lacquer on only thinly - even collings guitars do that after about ten years - i've always been curious if that's actually due to a change in the size of the wood underneath, additional finish shrinkage over years, or seasonal movement - or some combination.

With FP, if it happens, you take the guitar apart (or not if it can't be taken apart) and go another round.

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