Monday April 28, 2014
Well, it’s been about a month since I introduced my two new products; Royal-Lac and Seal-Lac. Thanks to Robert O’Brien, some luthiers have ventured out to try Royal-Lac. Robert has done some extensive testing and his comments can be viewed on the home page at www.shellacfinishes.com under Testimonials.
I have received nothing but positive comments from well-known woodworkers who have tried it. Some are still in the process of evaluating it.
In my video; “Finishing with Royal-Lac” I did mention at the end that I would come back after about 30 days and conduct some testing on the table top that I had worked on in the video. I plan to get to it sometime towards the end of this week. So stay tuned for a release of a follow up video showing how Royal-Lac is as good as any other finish when it comes to durability.
I have also been involved in lecturing on French Polishing at Palomar College of Woodworking here in San Diego. In parallel, I also introduced the students as well as staff to Royal-lac and Seal-Lac. The finish class instructor, Michele Morton, is highly impressed and swears that it is one of the very few finishes she is going to use and recommend. A lot of her students have tried it too. One of them, Dan Tresko, who is also a T.A at Palomar runs a small production operation making flute stands. I had no clue what flute stands were till I saw them. His company is called Lyricraft. Check his gorgeous products out at www.lyricraft.com. Anyways, Dan gave Seal-Lac and Royal-Lac a try and here is the email I received from him:
“First of all, the finish is to die for. We are using it on maple in a small production environment and the depth and shine is beautiful. For the rub out, I started with 1200 to remove defects, then 1500, ending with 2000. Polishing is then a breeze with 3M Machine Glaze, followed by an automotive polish wax. Like I said, the finish is awesome. The downside; I had to wait a week until it was hard enough to work. Even after that, as I held the piece to wet sand, I was still feeling stickiness and leaving light fingerprints.”
Check the photo.
Now, the downside was a problem that needed to be looked into. So, off I went to his shop to see what exactly was going on. After a discussion I found that he had brushed 11 coats over a span of 3 days. Each coat was right out of the jar at a 2 lb cut. A 2 lb cut is about 20% solids. Now, that is a lot of coats over three days, hence the drying issue. We have decided to experiment a bit to find an optimal solution that is time and cost effective for him. He will be spraying 2 coats of Seal-Lac , let dry overnight, wet sand the next day with 400 grit, dry it thoroughly, spray 3 coats of Royal-Lac and call me to take a look. At this point I am sure it is an application issue. So, I’ll keep you posted on the developments.
This last weekend I was also invited to demonstrate French Polishing at a seminar held at Cerritos College by Southern California SAPFM (Society of Period Furniture Makers). Thanks to Robert Stevenson for putting it together. It was fun talking to folks who know what elegant and exquisite furniture is. Although I have to admit that most did not know a whole lot about French Polishing and like most folks were skeptical if they would really see the results of a demonstration over a period of 3 hours. As usual, they were astonished to see what a piece of mahogany looked like after 3 hours of work. Oh! And by the way, they were the ones doing it under my supervision!! They were surprised to see and feel it. I hope I was able to convert a few to use shellac and French Polish their furniture from now on.
Bye for now. Will be back soon.