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Unread 03-26-2011, 11:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Hey there guys. I did a lot of research on this, and between what I know about finishes on wood, and what I learned about tweed, I came up with a really good way to do it.
It takes a bit more time, but totally worth it.

Lets start with the materials list, I got it all from Home Depot.

1 3M sanding pad - fine grit $2.47

1 quart Zinsser Bulls Eye Amber Shellac $12.98

1 can of Zinsser Bulls Eye Clear Shellac 100% WAX FREE - IN THE SPRAY CAN $6.98
(you could use the Zinsser Seal Coat instead of this. This is WAX FREE also)

1 quart denatured alcohol $6.69

1 roll blue painters tape $5.93

1 can of Minwax Clear Lacquer in a spray can. This is Nitrocellulose, I called to make sure, that is important. $7.98

1 good quality natural bristle paint brush for oil based finishes such as urethane. I just have good quality tools because of my profession. You don't have to spend a lot of money. The brush I used was about $22.00. I do not recommend using one of the foam throw away type applicators.
You can use a rag if you would like, as long as its lint free. If it sheds material...no good. You will need gloves if you use a rag. We will call the price on the brush $7.00 give or take, depending on what you get.

1 quart size plastic measuring/mixing container $0.97

1 one gallon measuring/mixing container $1.67

1 wooden stirrer..they are free at most places, just ask.



I will go over the basic process first.
One coat sealer
One or two coats of "Cut" Amber Shellac (cut with denatured alcohol 50%/50%. Sanding very lightly between coats.
clean with tack rag, or an almost dry, damp rag, rinsing several times to wash out debris.
After you get to your desired color....Apply another coat of the 100% WAX FREE clear spray and/or the 100% WAX FREE "Seal Coat". It is important to use this for this step. The amber shellac contains wax, and is not super durable. Water will leave stains if left on there too long, and if you spill any kind of alcohol on it, it will really mess it up. So, we want to seal the shellac with a nitro lacquer (satin). Because there is wax in the amber, a polyurethane will not bond to it. A nitro lacquer will IF you sand it before you apply the nitro, and even this is no guarantee. So, we will seal it with the WAX FREE spray. The nitro will insure our tweed will be protected as well as it should be.
So after the clear is on, we will spray one or two coats of satin nitro. a couple of thin coats works best. The nitro will also darken the color a bit, so keep that in mind.

Ok, on with the project.


Remove all hardware, feet, logo's, speaker, baffle, and anything else you don't want to get shellac on.

Tape, and/or cover any areas that you don't want to get the shellac on.

If you tweed is dirty, clean it. You can use upholstery cleaner. Make sure it's dry before you start.

This is what mine looked like with everything removed, and cleaned.
I posted these so you could see the color before I started as well.





Next, after you have removed, and taped everything, I put one coat of the CLEAR WAX FREE SPRAY on. This is a seal coat that prevents the amber shellac from being too dark, as well as going on uneven. The tweed will suck up the amber as soon as you put your brush down, and you will be left with a darker spot where you started your stroke. The seal coat prevents this, and allows a nice even coat and color. It is also just easier to brush. It will darken just a little bit from the clear. Here is a pic after one coat of clear.



I only did one coat of the sealer, and did not sand before the first coat of amber. I did a couple very thin coats about a half hour apart, as it dries fast. I used almost the entire can, maybe 3/4 of the can. Make sure it is nice and even...read the instructions on the can.

More to come in a bit.
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Unread 03-26-2011, 11:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

RH, what a great thread!! I should have waited to read this before starting my tweed cab. I was intimidated by the amount of work required by shellac that I wimped out and went with the urethane. Maybe next time!
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Unread 03-26-2011, 12:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Ok, here is another pic of just the clear coat. It is just a bit darker, but still yellow.


I let this dry for 24hrs. It dry fast, but a good cure takes at least 24hr with any finish...the longer the better.

I am pressed for time today. I am going to Rosco's tonight to jam, and want to take this cab, so I may have to bail on posting, and just finish the cab, and post the rest tomorrow.

Anyway,
after the clear I didn't sand because i wanted to leave it as thick as I could. Like I said, I didn't want mine to be to dark, or orange looking, so in addition to the clear seal coat I will cut the amber shellac to a 50/50 mix. I used the small measuring cup to pour in some of the shellac first. Stir the amber shellac in the can. You don't need much, I poured about half the quart in and that was too much, start with a 1/4 of the can depending on how big your cab is. Take note of the level of the shellac in the cup. There are lines to use for a gauge. Now dump the shellac into the bigger container. Now pour in the denatured alcohol to the same level...swish it around to get the excess shellac. Now pour that into the big container, and mix with the shellac with the stirrer.
Now, you need to work quickly...don't panic, just work quick, and plan out how you are going to do your brushing before you start. I had the bottom of the cab on the floor, and did the whole cab, and then let it dry, and flipped it and did the bottom.
When you do this, the mixture will be very runny. Wring your brush out good, you don't need much on there, and you can do another coat. The edges are where you will get runs, just spread it if it runs. Go with the grain of the tweed, and don't put much pressure on your brush, especially for your first stroke after you dip your brush.
The seal coat makes this coat MUCH easier, and it looks sweet when you are done. I almost didn't put a second coat on, as it looked BEAUTIFUL with one, and very close to vintage color. Here is what it looked like after the first coat of amber.


See, not too dark, or orange..love it!!!
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File Type: jpg 03-26-11_1031.jpg (95.7 KB, 531 views)
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Unread 03-26-2011, 12:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

You rock, rocknhorse! I totally forgive you for doubting that whole magnetic settling-in thing and for refusing to dislike burstbuckers!
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Unread 03-26-2011, 12:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Oops, double post. But, it's worth adding: beautiful cab, great instructions!
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Unread 03-26-2011, 01:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Ok, I put on the second coat and sanded. Very light pressure when sanding, and don't go too far. Just enough to even out the color and smooth it out a little.
Here is what it looks like after sanding the second coat...pretty vintage looking.



After sanding, you need to clean it with a tack rag, or a cloth that is damp, but not too damp. Make sure you get it very clean, and wipe with a clean dry rag after. here is what it looks like sanded and clean after one seal coat, and two coats of amber.



Like I said, I am pressed for time, and am trying to get this done before I go play because I want to take the cab with me, but, I may not.

I have a coat of clear WAX FREE to do, and then the nitro. We will see. Maybe I will do the sealer, and put it back together and go jam, and then take it apart again tomorrow and finish the lacquer.
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Unread 03-26-2011, 01:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quill View Post
You rock, rocknhorse! I totally forgive you for doubting that whole magnetic settling-in thing and for refusing to dislike burstbuckers!
I was being serious about the pickups

And I sill like Burstbucker Pro's.

This cab is coming out GREAT!!! I love it.

I wish I had a better camera, this isn't capturing the full effect.

Thanks for the compliments guys.
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Unread 03-26-2011, 01:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

very nice
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Unread 03-26-2011, 02:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

I ran out of the clear WAX FREE seal coat, so I had to run to Home Depot to get more, so add another can of that to the material list.
I just shot the clear on, and will post some pics after it dries. I am also going to reinstall the baffle, and the other hardware. that reminds me, when you uninstall your baffle, I took a sharpie and put a little dot at the top....no installing the baffle upside down.
I will let all this cure over night, and shoot the nitro tomorrow. I may give an extremely light sand just to take the gloss off before I put the nitro on.

I am also going to try to get some better pics when I get to Rosco's, I think he has a good camera.

I really dig it. Totally glad I took the extra time.
The good thing about the Shellac is it's very difficult to mess up. If it's too dark, you can just soak a rag in the denatured alcohol and rub it out, then recoat. You can also sand. It's very forgiving.

I should also add, on my second coat of the amber I cut the mixture a little more. I also barely had anything on my brush. I really rang it out pretty good. It wasn't dry, but it was just enough to tint the tweed.
I highly recommend this method.

Use the denatured alcohol to clean your brush, and your hands. Rinse your brush in warm water after you clean it in the alcohol, then dry it thoroughly. I take care of my stuff because it's expensive. I buy the good shit because its worth it to me because I use this stuff all the time....so take care of it, and it will last.
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Unread 03-26-2011, 02:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Pretty cool stuff RH. Gonna need to try some tweed soon enuff.
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Unread 03-26-2011, 03:23 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Ok, here is where I am at. Still need to shoot the notro, I will do it tomorrow.

Here are some pics...what do ya think?





This camera doesn't do it justice. I am sooooo stoked!!! Ha!
Not bad for a rookie!!
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Unread 03-26-2011, 03:31 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Congrats! You have given me inspiration. I botched my deluxe cab finish and I'm about to embark on another so this helps.
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Unread 03-26-2011, 03:34 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

This is so worth the extra time. I cant wait to put the nitro on. It's going to deepen it upn and make it a bit warmer...it's gonna look sweet. I cant wait to get that head cab and give it the same treatment.
Thanks for the compliments guys!!
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Unread 03-26-2011, 03:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Looks great & what an interesting thread rocknhorse1!
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Unread 03-26-2011, 04:40 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocknhorse1 View Post
This camera doesn't do it justice. I am sooooo stoked!!! Ha!
Not bad for a rookie!!
I think your camera sucks balls!

But you're doing an awesome job!
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Unread 03-26-2011, 04:52 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

That is my old cell camera. Believe it or not, it's WAY better than my Blackberry, which is only a year old. I snap some at Rosco's tonight.
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Unread 03-26-2011, 07:05 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Cab turned out really great, RH! Much better than mine.

This should be made a sticky!
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Unread 03-26-2011, 08:56 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Some more pics
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Unread 03-26-2011, 09:41 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

I just won a mini fender 9v tweed withintentions of doing a mini relic
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Unread 03-26-2011, 11:02 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Quote:
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Cab turned out really great, RH! Much better than mine.

This should be made a sticky!
Case, your cab looks great! This isn't a contest Thanks for the compliment though. Case was the one who suggested the Zinsser Bulls Eye. The other option was to make it myself. You can get flakes that you mix with denatured alcohol. You can also get wax free flakes, and different colors, but it would require driving a long way for me. You have to find a specialty finish wood outlet to get that stuff, or order it.
I just was going for a certain look is all. Be honest, now that it has cured for a little while it's darkening a bit much. I may have to give it a sand before I do the nitro. We will see in the AM.

I posted the thread the way I did because there isn't a good step by step of this anywhere on the internet. All the info on tweed finishing is scattered all over the place.
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Unread 03-26-2011, 11:47 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocknhorse1 View Post
Case, your cab looks great! This isn't a contest Thanks for the compliment though. Case was the one who suggested the Zinsser Bulls Eye. The other option was to make it myself. You can get flakes that you mix with denatured alcohol. You can also get wax free flakes, and different colors, but it would require driving a long way for me. You have to find a specialty finish wood outlet to get that stuff, or order it.
I just was going for a certain look is all. Be honest, now that it has cured for a little while it's darkening a bit much. I may have to give it a sand before I do the nitro. We will see in the AM.

I posted the thread the way I did because there isn't a good step by step of this anywhere on the internet. All the info on tweed finishing is scattered all over the place.
Back in the 1950's when I worked as a wood pattern maker we use to make our shellac from the red flakes dissolved in denatured alcohol then we had to strain it through cheese cloth to get out the impurities ...its a long messy process ..we sure were glad when they started using lacquer in the 60's faster drying and smoother finish...shellac will darken with time and age...you seam to have the process in hand doing a great job ...Jim
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Unread 03-27-2011, 07:03 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Thanks for the info Jim. I have heard of guys letting even the Bulls Eye Amber sit motionless for a couple of days to let the solids settle to the bottom. Then they "decant" it, or strain it, and that makes it almost wax free. If you did that, as well as cut it 50/50, I don't think there would be a problem with using urethane over it without a wax free sealer coat. I would still recommend abrading/sanding first.
Thanks for the props, Jim.

The actual method used by Fender back in the day was to just spray them with nitro. Over time the color changes...I just don't want to wait 60 years for that effect. This method will age as well, but being sealed the way it is it will probably stay close to this color.
There is something you could do to give more of a "reliced" look. Before you do the nitro, sand it, but sand the corners and edges really thoroughly, and do it so it's kind of uneven. This will give it a look like it has been around for a while. If you look for some pictures of old tweed amps in a google search you will see what I am talking about. You can also sand the rest of the piece, but sand harder in random spots, or the spots that would see the most wear. Like around the handle, edges, corners, the input jack, etc.

I will also hit the final coat of nitro with some 0000 steel wool, or a Scotch Brite pad to dull it just a bit. The satin will still give that rich depth, but it won't have any glare to it.
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Unread 03-27-2011, 09:41 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocknhorse1 View Post
Thanks for the info Jim. I have heard of guys letting even the Bulls Eye Amber sit motionless for a couple of days to let the solids settle to the bottom. Then they "decant" it, or strain it, and that makes it almost wax free. If you did that, as well as cut it 50/50, I don't think there would be a problem with using urethane over it without a wax free sealer coat. I would still recommend abrading/sanding first.
Thanks for the props, Jim.

The actual method used by Fender back in the day was to just spray them with nitro. Over time the color changes...I just don't want to wait 60 years for that effect. This method will age as well, but being sealed the way it is it will probably stay close to this color.
There is something you could do to give more of a "reliced" look. Before you do the nitro, sand it, but sand the corners and edges really thoroughly, and do it so it's kind of uneven. This will give it a look like it has been around for a while. If you look for some pictures of old tweed amps in a google search you will see what I am talking about. You can also sand the rest of the piece, but sand harder in random spots, or the spots that would see the most wear. Like around the handle, edges, corners, the input jack, etc.

I will also hit the final coat of nitro with some 0000 steel wool, or a Scotch Brite pad to dull it just a bit. The satin will still give that rich depth, but it won't have any glare to it.
I see you are all for the used not abused look making the cab to have the old tweed look giving it that character of a well used cab....congrats on your project
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Unread 03-27-2011, 09:45 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Talking Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Quote:
Originally Posted by FLICKOFLASH View Post
I just won a mini fender 9v tweed withintentions of doing a mini relic
Quote:
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I see you are all for the used not abused look making the cab to have the old tweed look giving it that character of a well used cab....congrats on your project



I wanna age this when I get it
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Unread 03-27-2011, 09:50 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Flick, is there any type of finish on the tweed?
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Unread 03-27-2011, 09:51 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

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Originally Posted by FLICKOFLASH View Post
http://i.ebayimg.com/00/$(KGrHqN,!lM...UJSZgg~~_3.JPG

[IMG]http://i.ebayimg.com/00/$(KGrHqZ,!j!E1Mn6+ngrBNh***hgk!~~_3.JPG[/IMG]
I wanna age this when I get it
Go for it! That would be a great first time project to do. I have to say, the time actually spent "working" on the piece wasn't too long. It's more the time you have to allow for drying between the steps. I did my laundry (and I have to go to a laundromat), and a bunch of other stuff yesterday, while I was working on the cab. So you can do this in one weekend, and still do your other things that need to be done.
Good luck Flick. Post some pics when you do it.
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Unread 03-27-2011, 09:52 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

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Originally Posted by hipofutura View Post
Flick, is there any type of finish on the tweed?
No idea i just won it on ebay
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Unread 03-27-2011, 09:55 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

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Originally Posted by rocknhorse1 View Post
Go for it! That would be a great first time project to do. I have to say, the time actually spent "working" on the piece wasn't too long. It's more the time you have to allow for drying between the steps. I did my laundry (and I have to go to a laundromat), and a bunch of other stuff yesterday, while I was working on the cab. So you can do this in one weekend, and still do your other things that need to be done.
Good luck Flick. Post some pics when you do it.
Thanks for the info .I also have a Fender Bronco Tweed I have always wanted to relic. They are kool cheap tweed like a lil champ
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Unread 03-27-2011, 09:59 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Great tutorial. That was one of the first things i did back in 1995 when i got my ProJunior, but i used pure lacquer and since then it has turned into a great yellow amber tone.

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Unread 03-27-2011, 10:00 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

As long as the tweed is the cotton tweed, and not coated with any kind of protectant, you should be good. I saw in some of my research where people tried to do this to the fake tolex kind of tweed...not good, LOL!
It turns it green, and pretty much ruins it. Some people just don't know though, so they make mistakes like that. One of the reasons I wanted to do this thread. There isn't a good tutorial on this out there, or at least I couldn't find one.
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