September 1, 2015

Robert O’ Brien,, a great supporter of Royal-Lac recently polled the folks who had used Royal-Lac for their instruments on his forum,

Here is what he wrote:

On Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 10:25:00 AM UTC-5, Robbie O’Brien wrote:

I am interested in knowing how many have tried Royal Lac for a finish and if so, what is your experience working with the product?

Please use this post to talk about type of Royal lac used: rattle can or regular issue as well as how you applied it, your results, etc.

Here are the replies he received:

I just finished using Royal Lac on my first build and have gotten great results – I’m just out of the cure period and will do the final polish this weekend. I used both the rattle can version of the product and the non-aerosol in the can,  and found both went on very smoothly, evenly, and built nicely with successive coats. I used just over 2 rattle cans and a slight amount of  pon-aerosol to finish an OM. I followed Robbie’s FP process as well as the longer Luthier Tips du Jour presentation on the Royal Lac.  In preparation I used the Garnet shellac and cocobolo dust to pore fill and that went as expected.The cocobolo actually added a nice depth to the mahogany that mahogany dust did not. I did about 4 passes and got a good fill and decent level at that point. Initial seal with a light coat of shellac in prep for Seal-Lac.

 I was careful in my prep work so I had a good surface to work with. There are 6 coats of seal-lac on the guitar. The first 3 initial builds and 400 grit light sanding between coats. The last three, more build with 600 grit wet sand between coats. I’ve paid attention to leveling, but more so to building the seal finish. On to Royal Lac.
Royal Lac goes on beautifully, self levels to a point, and creates a lovely finish. It’s pretty forgiving as I have no spray experience and I found it to be  really easy to apply – sprays on easily and with a little care, not too many runs. I sprayed the finish over a 7 day period doing 3-4 coats/day, wet sanding between courses with 320 grit initially until I had built a good base. I then continued spraying 3-4 coats daily for the last 3 days using 600 grit wet sanding between daily applications. The finish built nicely and evenly. The last day I wanted to thin out the Royal Lac which is approximately a 2 lb cut in the rattle can so I switched to the non-aerosol version using the French Polish method per Robbie’s video and thinning the Royal Lac to 1 lb cut by diluting it with denatured alcohol right on the muneca. That worked really well – I applied very thin, even coats on my now very level surface, and wet sanded with 1200 grit paper using only the barest pressure on the block to light sand between each of the final coats.
As a first time user of these products, I’m really pleased and impressed with the ease of application, quality of result, and most of all, the look. The finish is quote hard when it cures, and while  I am anxious to finish the guitar, I heeded Robbie’s advice on “longer is better”cure time, and am glad I did. Attached are some pics of the last few coast of Royal Lac – this is not the final product as I still have the final polishing to complete, but as you can see from just the intermediate stage, Royal Lac produces a lovely finish.
Additionally, Vejay’s customer service is outstanding –  he answered many first time user questions thoroughly, and when I ran out of product, went to great lengths to get me replenished so I could carry on without too much time lost. Great products, great customer service!
Peter Streit
Colleyville, TX
IMG_3960 IMG_3977 IMG_3981

I’ve done 2 guitars and a uke with Royal lack more or less padding on following your technique. The uke is over in England but it looked good the last time I saw it and one of the guitars is sold but I’ve heard no complaints. the last guitar is mine and has been played and sitting out in a stand for 6 months .. no issues.

I’m thrilled with the product, it really fits my needs and likes..

I’ve done a couple of refinish jobs on classicals with Royal Lac and am now finishing a new guitar. I love the stuff. I’m not very clever with finishes and my work shows it, so the capability to fix problems relatively easily is a big deal to me. I am using the bottled version, padding it on, and polishing with Maguire’s.

I also love the fact that I can do the finish work without a special work area.


My experience mirrors Kerry’s.  I generally followed your technique (padding/fp) on a guitar in Feb, and felt it went faster than my normal FP.  I love the durability, since my perspiration could be bottled and sold as shellac stripper.  No problems whatsoever, and I have plenty left over from the one can to do another guitar this spring.  With any kind of production rate, it would be quite economical as it goes a long way when padding.  At one a year, I’ll have to dump the excess after finishing the next guitar because I think it is only good for 18 mo to two years,



Here is my experience. I’ve finished 4 guitars w/ RL so far. The first two (steel string) were exactly 1 year ago, the second two (classical) were last month.
Of the first two, One of them had a hard date to be finished. This meant that I had 29 days from starting the sanding to handing it back. Consulting w/ Vijay, I ended up waiting approx 20 days prior to buffing out by hand (using McGuire’s swirl remover). I saw this guitar this last June and it’s holding up well and still looks very nice (boy, I like how RL looks!).
The second of the first two is a guitar i’m keeping; it didn’t have a deadline. I waited the prescribed 30 days before beginning the final wet-sand and buff. And wouldn’t you know it, I managed to sandthrough in a couple spots. I was out of RL and wanted to get this one onto playing shape, so I buffed it using a wheel (Menzurna “Ato16” and a very light touch). Other than the sand-through, it looks great. After a year, the sand-through has not miraculously healed itself, so now I plan to sandback and reapply the RL. Can you advise me on what grit sandpaper to start with?
The two classical guitars were french polished using RL cut down to a 1lb cut. RL seems to have a slightly more pronounced “drag coefficient” (best way to describe it) than regular shellac. I experimented with thinning RL, adding a wee bit more oil as well as using less pressure. I’m also thinking that the type of clothe used for the outer muneca plays here, too. Once I all figured this out, it polishs very nicely. Ymmv, of course.
Sometime later this year I plan to try the rattle can version.
For me, the advantage of RL are:
1) ease of application (pad, brush, FP, spray).
2) Inexpensve application equipment (other than spray using a real gun)
3) both environmental as well as personal safety (less toxic)
4) it has a very appealing look for me; but it may not be everyone’s ice cream cone.
5) Thin enough to affect the sound less than other finish types.
6) water and alcohol resistance
1) Reportedly less protection than other finishes available. So this may not be the finish of choice for guitars destined for ‘rowdy’ playing environments.
I have padded (almost french polish)  on the finish for a couple of ukuleles ans a classical guitar plus several necks. I have found it easy to use and have been happy with the result.  My body chemistry eats necks finished with both WB and shellac. I am still a few months from seeing how Royal Lac stands up to my hands on the neck.

I finished two ukes with Royal Lac using it as a FP at a one pound cut. I was very impressed.

David Attenberg

I have completed one instrument FP with Royal Lac and have two more very near completion. My experience with the first intrument was posted previously as the finish crazed after a year. I had used Royal Lac directly on a Zpoxy pore fill. That is a no no. One must apparently either sand the Zpoxy back to bare wood or use a barrier coat of shellac or Seal Lac between the epoxy and Royal Lac. I’ll get to refinish that instrument at some point.

In working with the product, padding and sanding didn’t work well for me. I kept sanding thru. French polishing worked better for me, but I too found that a 1# cut worked better than the 2# it comes in.
Surface prep has to be perfect. The first session or two will reveal defects that were impossible to see and these need to be fixed before going further.
As my technique has improved I find I can get a very high gloss with the product. In the future I’d like to try using the rattle cans for base coats and level before FP’ing.
Vijay’s customer service is top drawer.

September 8, 2015

Edward Rice sent the following:

This is a Soprano style Ukulele, made with KOA from Maui. The fretboard is regular ebony, and my inlaid logo is PAUA background with my logo in MOP, made by Luthier Supply, Andy DePaule. It is sealed in Seal Lac, then french polished using Robbie O’Brien Royal Lac method, using Royal Lac Dewaxed Super Blonde. It really turned out to be a beautiful instrument, with very flat surface and a nice shine. The Ukulele is currently on display in the gallery at 205 Collaborative, in Greensboro, NC, . This is an artists location, of over 30 artists in working gallery type studios.  my studio/workshop is number 7.  You can also see it on my website, 

Ed Rice

  • Royal-Lac Dewaxed Super Blonde

    Royal-Lac Dewaxed Super Blonde
  • Royal-Lac Dewaxed Orange

    Royal-Lac Dewaxed Orange
  • Royal-Lac Dewaxed Garnet

    Royal-Lac Dewaxed Garnet
  • Royal-Lac Dewaxed Beige

    Royal-Lac Dewaxed Beige
  • 200 Proof Alcohol

    200 Proof Alcohol
  • Seal-Lac

  • Dewaxed Shellac Flakes

    Dewaxed Shellac Flakes

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