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Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulose?
http://luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10101&t=51946
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Author:  KawaiianPunch [ Fri May 17, 2019 4:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulose?

I need an alternative to nitrocellulose that's not as boring as polyurethane. I absolutely love how nitro ages, wears, and even cracks, but I don't have the space to safely apply nitrocellulose.

Author:  SnowManSnow [ Fri May 17, 2019 4:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

Consider EM6000?


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Author:  KawaiianPunch [ Fri May 17, 2019 4:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

SnowManSnow wrote:
Consider EM6000?


Interesting. Are there any anecdotals on how it ages and wears?

Author:  jfmckenna [ Fri May 17, 2019 6:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

I don't think Royal has been around long enough to time test finish checking or aging like Nitro. But it's definitely an environmentally shop friendly finish. I like it though I still mostly just use good old shellac.

Author:  Clay S. [ Fri May 17, 2019 8:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

If you don't mind a finish that cracks, brush on lacquer might be a possibility.

Author:  Goat Rock Ukulele [ Sat May 18, 2019 3:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

I have had nothing but trouble with Royal Lac. I had to re-sand and refinish 5 ukuleles. It turned into alligator skin. I won't get anywhere near the stuff.

Author:  SteveSmith [ Sat May 18, 2019 5:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

I french polish Royal Lac now and it works great. Several years ago I tried spraying two guitars with it and got the alligator cracks too - turned out I was not using it correctly, too many coats in too short of a time period.

Author:  Bryan Bear [ Sat May 18, 2019 7:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

You have FPed two with Royal Lac now and I really like it. I guess i’ll
Have to wait to see how it
Holds up.

Author:  Joe Beaver [ Sat May 18, 2019 9:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

Goat Rock Ukulele wrote:
I have had nothing but trouble with Royal Lac. I had to re-sand and refinish 5 ukuleles. It turned into alligator skin. I won't get anywhere near the stuff.

Mike,
I was thinking about trying Royal Lac Post-Cat finish on an upcoming build. Is that the one you used? Also I would love to know if you pore filled and if so, what product did you use? You might just have saved me a lot of work!!!

Author:  meddlingfool [ Sat May 18, 2019 11:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

I did post cat Royal Lac over epoxy and it seems to be holding fine.

Goat Rock, when did this happen? I know there was trouble with early formulations...

Author:  doncaparker [ Sun May 19, 2019 6:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

My understanding (and Mike, please correct this if I am mistaken in your instance) is that the problems some folks have experienced with RL were sprayed finish problems. I have never heard of anyone having problems with any formulation of RL that was applied by brushing, padding or French Polishing. So, you might want to factor that into your decision regarding which finish to use.

The two finishes that I find most appealing right now are both capable of being applied without spraying: RL (whichever formulation, but post-cat particularly) and General Finishes Enduro Var.

If you spray your finish, and you are absolutely committed to applying the finish in that manner, so be it. But you don’t really HAVE to spray finish to get a good looking final product. A hand builder might be better off, overall, just brushing or padding on something like RL or Enduro Var, and dealing with the extra sanding involved. I know that applies to me. I would have to invest a lot of money and time, and really change the layout of my shop, in order to safely spray finish. I’m not doing that, because there are finishes available to me that don’t need to be sprayed.

Author:  James Burkett [ Sun May 19, 2019 7:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

doncaparker wrote:
My understanding (and Mike, please correct this if I am mistaken in your instance) is that the problems some folks have experienced with RL were sprayed finish problems. I have never heard of anyone having problems with any formulation of RL that was applied by brushing, padding or French Polishing. So, you might want to factor that into your decision regarding which finish to use.

The two finishes that I find most appealing right now are both capable of being applied without spraying: RL (whichever formulation, but post-cat particularly) and General Finishes Enduro Var.

If you spray your finish, and you are absolutely committed to applying the finish in that manner, so be it. But you don’t really HAVE to spray finish to get a good looking final product. A hand builder might be better off, overall, just brushing or padding on something like RL or Enduro Var, and dealing with the extra sanding involved. I know that applies to me. I would have to invest a lot of money and time, and really change the layout of my shop, in order to safely spray finish. I’m not doing that, because there are finishes available to me that don’t need to be sprayed.


This finish was padded on, very thin layers. Never any excess build up. It is still a very thin finish, but the super fine crazing started showing up after a few months. It is a beautiful finish, and the crazing does not show up much at all, until you view it from an extreme angle, as in this image:

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BurkettOM.jpg

Author:  doncaparker [ Sun May 19, 2019 7:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

James, which finish is that? If it’s RL, what formulation? Could you provide a straight-on photo of the top?

Author:  James Burkett [ Sun May 19, 2019 12:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

doncaparker wrote:
James, which finish is that? If it’s RL, what formulation? Could you provide a straight-on photo of the top?


When I got it out to photograph it again, it was obvious that the crazing is more noticeable now than when the earlier picture above was made. I have been busy in my shop and have not played it in a while.

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IMG_5062.jpg

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IMG_5048.jpg

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Author:  meddlingfool [ Sun May 19, 2019 1:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

So then yes...it does wear like nitro, lol!

Sorry about the guitar James, though it does look cool, IMO. Some folk pay extra for that.

It's odd that some have trouble and some do not.

When was that finished, James?

Author:  doncaparker [ Sun May 19, 2019 2:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

I have French Polished RL (regular version), and I've not had those problems.

Author:  James Burkett [ Sun May 19, 2019 2:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

meddlingfool wrote:
So then yes...it does wear like nitro, lol!

Sorry about the guitar James, though it does look cool, IMO. Some folk pay extra for that.

It's odd that some have trouble and some do not.

When was that finished, James?


I go to a lot of trouble, on vintage refinishes, to make this happen with nitro. I just did not intend for it happen on this guitar. It does look kinda cool.

I finished it in the latter part of 2016. I have used it as a demo and have played it at home a great deal. So, it has a few nicks and scratches to go along with the finish crazing.

Author:  rlrhett [ Sun May 19, 2019 2:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

I love RL. Vijay lives a few miles from me, so I can go pick up a can whenever I want with no shipping, so that makes it a no brainer for me.

That said, I had identical results to James on the first one I did. Kinda like it, so I'm happy. But never on any other (5 or 6 since). In between the first and the rest I took Tom Bill's excellent (if mind numbingly persnickety) FP course. So something changed in the interim. Either the formulation, or more likely my technique changed. I suspect the latter, though I can't prove it. I think something about the way I did it the first time, and possibly James as well, resulted in that alligator finish. The thing is while Tom's course helped me to refine my technique, it really wasn't anything too different from what I THOUGHT I was doing before. I wasn't nearly as systematic or careful before his course. But I can't point to anything specific I did differently.

Author:  James Burkett [ Sun May 19, 2019 2:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

doncaparker wrote:
I have French Polished RL (regular version), and I've not had those problems.


I just included a picture of the cans, since I am not sure which version this is considered.

I have finished 3 guitars with RL and all of them have done this. So, it could be operator error. The first one was the amber color RL, and the finish crazed after I had sold it. The owner opted to keep it. He later sold it and then later I saw it change hands again. It had some very serious crazing.

The 2rd one was definitely my fault. I finished with several coats of RL, and then decided to spray nitro over that to get the sunburst colors right. I was told that this would not be a problem. It was a problem. It has large lines of crazing.

The 3rd on was the one shown above.

Just to clarify. I am not unhappy. I love all the guitars that I finished with RL. It is a pleasure to apply and makes a beautiful finish.

Author:  meddlingfool [ Sun May 19, 2019 3:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

It'd be nice to pin down why that happens though. As much as that effect is quirky and cool, you can't expect to market that as a professional finish. Having that magically appear after selling an instrument is bad news...

Author:  KawaiianPunch [ Sun May 19, 2019 5:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

Would like to know what kind of climate y'all live in that might have an affect on the Royal-Lac.

Author:  sjfoss [ Sun May 19, 2019 7:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

I use Royallac and have experienced the crazing you show. After emailing with Vijay we narrowed it down to me wet-sanding during the application process. I switched to dry-sanding and have not experienced the crazed finish since.

Steve

Author:  Trevor Gore [ Sun May 19, 2019 10:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

sjfoss wrote:
I use Royallac and have experienced the crazing you show. After emailing with Vijay we narrowed it down to me wet-sanding during the application process. I switched to dry-sanding and have not experienced the crazed finish since.

Steve, was that wet sanding with water or using a different lubricant?

Author:  James Burkett [ Mon May 20, 2019 7:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

sjfoss wrote:
I use Royallac and have experienced the crazing you show. After emailing with Vijay we narrowed it down to me wet-sanding during the application process. I switched to dry-sanding and have not experienced the crazed finish since.

Steve


How many have you finished, without crazing, since you stopped wet sanding?
Which version are you using, and how are you applying the RL? Spray? FP? Wipe on with pad?
Did you seal with Seal Lac?
I may give it another try, and go with the dry sanding.

Author:  James Burkett [ Mon May 20, 2019 7:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Royal-Lac (shellac) age and wear like Nitrocellulos

KawaiianPunch wrote:
Would like to know what kind of climate y'all live in that might have an affect on the Royal-Lac.


Well, it is 83% humidity outside today. My shop stays between 40% and 45%.

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