Shellac On Tweed...Step By Step Guide...One Guy's System

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by rocknhorse1, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. rocknhorse1

    rocknhorse1 Senior Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.:thumb:


    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.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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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    hagcel, CHUNKYNECK, Case24 and 8 others like this.
  2. hipofutura

    hipofutura Senior Member

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    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!
     
  3. rocknhorse1

    rocknhorse1 Senior Member

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

    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.
    [​IMG]

    See, not too dark, or orange..love it!!! :thumb:
     

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  4. Quill

    Quill Senior Member

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    You rock, rocknhorse! I totally forgive you for doubting that whole magnetic settling-in thing and for refusing to dislike burstbuckers! :laugh2:
     
  5. Quill

    Quill Senior Member

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    Oops, double post. But, it's worth adding: beautiful cab, great instructions!
     
  6. rocknhorse1

    rocknhorse1 Senior Member

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    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.:)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    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.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    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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  7. rocknhorse1

    rocknhorse1 Senior Member

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    I was being serious about the pickups:D

    And I sill like Burstbucker Pro's.:thumb:

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

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

    Thanks for the compliments guys. :applause:
     
  8. singlecut

    singlecut Senior Member

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    very nice
     
  9. rocknhorse1

    rocknhorse1 Senior Member

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    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.:thumb:
    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.:applause:

    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.:cool:

    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.
     
  10. tojo

    tojo Senior Member

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    Pretty cool stuff RH. Gonna need to try some tweed soon enuff.
     
  11. rocknhorse1

    rocknhorse1 Senior Member

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    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? :naughty: :applause:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This camera doesn't do it justice. I am sooooo stoked!!! Ha!
    Not bad for a rookie!!
     

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  12. LPV

    LPV Senior Member

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    Congrats! You have given me inspiration. I botched my deluxe cab finish and I'm about to embark on another so this helps.
     
  13. rocknhorse1

    rocknhorse1 Senior Member

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    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!!
     
  14. slowpokerhino

    slowpokerhino Senior Member

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    Looks great & what an interesting thread rocknhorse1!
     
  15. BillB1960

    BillB1960 Senior Member

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    I think your camera sucks balls! :laugh2:

    But you're doing an awesome job! :thumb:
     
  16. rocknhorse1

    rocknhorse1 Senior Member

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    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.:fingersx:
     
  17. Case24

    Case24 Senior Member

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

    This should be made a sticky! :hmm:
     
  18. singlecut

    singlecut Senior Member

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    [​IMG][​IMG]Some more pics
    [​IMG]
     

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  19. FLICKOFLASH

    FLICKOFLASH V.I.P. Member

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    I just won a mini fender 9v tweed withintentions of doing a mini relic
     
  20. rocknhorse1

    rocknhorse1 Senior Member

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    Case, your cab looks great! This isn't a contest:thumb: 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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