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Restoring A Classical Guitar


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Hi. i've got a really old classical guitar (about 20yrs old) that i'd like to restore.. i realize that using the French Poilishing method is an option.. but i have a few questions about that method:

1. can i just sand the present layer of shellac with 400 grit to rid it of the scratches and then do the French Polishing?

2. is it an advisable method for use on such an old guitar? are the any damage risks?

3. is it a reasonably easy method that a beginner such as myself will be able to handle with minimal mistakes?

Also, is sanding the present layer of shellac with 400 grit to rid it of the scratches and then spraying a layer of clear over it and later buffing and polishing going to work?

If i have to completely sand off all the shellac, how will i know 'when to stop sanding'? (when i've gotten all the shellac off)

Thanks in advanced.

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Hi. i've got a really old classical guitar (about 20yrs old) that i'd like to restore.. i realize that using the French Poilishing method is an option.. but i have a few questions about that method:

1. can i just sand the present layer of shellac with 400 grit to rid it of the scratches and then do the French Polishing?

2. is it an advisable method for use on such an old guitar? are the any damage risks?

3. is it a reasonably easy method that a beginner such as myself will be able to handle with minimal mistakes?

Also, is sanding the present layer of shellac with 400 grit to rid it of the scratches and then spraying a layer of clear over it and later buffing and polishing going to work?

If i have to completely sand off all the shellac, how will i know 'when to stop sanding'? (when i've gotten all the shellac off)

Thanks in advanced.

First question and this is the one that counts. Is this a historic instrument or does it have significant sentamental value? Twenty years is not very old (80's instrument), and I am trying to place why the instrument has a very expensive finish (FP-Shellac is not a finish found on med high to low dollar acoustics from the 80's). If it has a significace set it aside for now.

Go to this site-link

Read and learn how shellac is applied properly, and how it works(practice this for a little while to get a feel for what is happening, and develop your technique). Shellac does not work like laquers or poly's or oil finishes. There is no need to use 400 grit with shellac, maybe 600 if you are really grinding on it, but don't use it much. Shellac should be applied very thin. It is a very tightly bonded(shellac melt into the previously applied shellac) process of rubbing in MICRO thin layers on top of previous. The sum should be very tight and smooth, but still thin. If you are polishing out light scratches you should be maybe using rotten stone, if they are heavy scratches you may build a bit(using proper FP technique) and if your technique is good you may not even need to sand with anything lower than maybe 1200+. Repairing a FP finish is easy as long as you don't tear it up by using the wrong methods, actually it can be dead easy.

I am not sure what you are thinking of when you mention spraying and buffing? Shellac is not a finish that should be sprayed. If you are thnking of re-finishing the guitar in laquer. Then you need to prep. for laquer and move forward, but I have no idea why you would want to paint over a french polished guitar with laquer?

Peace,Rich

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Sometimes a good cleaning and polishing does a world of good,I would start there.If it is a vintage guitar you do not want to do to much to it.Wear on a old guitar is expected and is of value.Please do some research before doing anything,making it pretty could rune it.Post a picture if you can,and you mite get better info.

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I read in Flexxner's book that Shellac can be sprayed. I did it on a repaired Flamenco guitar and it looks excellent You just have to be more careful in the amount of shellac applied in each layer and let dry between coats but just about everything that applies to lacquer can be applied to shellac. At least that is what I did and it worked out wonderfully. MHO

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