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Thread: Bulls Eye Shellac question

  1. #11
    U.N.C.L.E. Illya Kuryakin's Avatar
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    Hope it works for ya. I tried once to go over existing shellac and ended up with a mess. Hope you have better luck with it than I did. If all else fails can always easily strip old shellac with lacquer thinner or other solvent, clean wood with Oxyclean and reapply shellac finish. For brushes I've used the 1" wide foam brushes. A large pack is a few bucks and just throw away after one use.

    Are the markings you want to preserve in the shellac itself or under in the wood? If they are in the wood, they are easily preserved.

    Have fun with the shellac. It's really very easy and you can experiment with colors and variations. Your imagination is the only limit. Here's a Romy I redid (I took a little liberty with adding the Polish PG instead of the Romy PG - just liked the color match better). I saw an AK BigAl did and wanted to do one very similiar. He got me started with shellacing AKs
    Attached Images Attached Images


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  2. #12
    Gunco Maniac sjohnson's Avatar
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    Ilya brings up a good point. Practice "repairing" shellac on something else before trying it on your good pieces. Develop a technique, shellac dries tacky very quickly so getting a repair even can be problematic.

    You might even want to try straight alcohol to repair the finish. I've done that with a Mosin I have, worked well.

  3. #13
    U.N.C.L.E. Illya Kuryakin's Avatar
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    Just food for thought............the God of AK wood refinishing, Z_recto, says he will only touch up shellac on very, very small areas otherwise strip and redo. It sure won't hurt trying though.


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  4. #14
    Firearms Junkie Glenn's Avatar
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    Illya, unfortunately the markings are on top of the shellac.....rack and gun numbers and looks to be painted in latex. I know this is a real attempt, but, we'll see. Will post when done. Thanks, Glenn

  5. #15
    Firearms Junkie Glenn's Avatar
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    Default Back to Romy G stock shellac

    I took everyone's input from various Gunco posts, summarized them and proceded as follows with this project:

    I have finally gotten around to getting 2 light coats of Bulls Eye over the 18/9 stock markings on the Romy G stock.......so far so good. The marks didn't smear and looks likes the shellac is taking well to the existing surface. I made sure the can was shaken real well and I just used the shellac straight out of can without cutting (can claims its a 3 pound cut - factory - but, it sure is thin as is) and very gently applied each thin coat using a piece of tee shirt. Each coat dried fast within 15 minutes or so to the touch - so, my Bulls eye looks to be good. I made sure to hit it light and easy with swipe with grain and took it easy - no going over and over the area due to fast drying and potential tackiness. I waited 2 hours between coats - mostly because I was out shoveling snow !!! I also made sure to get the lid tightly back on can ASAP so it would not draw moisture.

    Now these markings should be "safe" and preserved. For cleaning, all I did was very lightly clean w/ soap and h2o just the area of the marks - was thinking that anything other then that would probably remove or at least damage the 18/9 paint. When I get back to the project, I will clean entire stock with mineral sprits and then do a full light coat, etc. And by the way, I love the smell of that Bulls eye - no methanal in it, just ethanol and isopropanol.

    Questions:
    A: Would it be a good idea to work out of a seperate plastic container to be extra sure not to increase the moisture content to the Bulls Eye in the can, because of it being open while you work? I did place the lid on the can after dipping my cloth into it for the shellac application - not closed, but in place. I have a plastic container ready if I decide I need to make the 2 pound cut as previously mentioned. And, if I do make the cut, I am planning on using 91% Isopropanal. My reasoning is that since Bulls Eye is using ethanol and isopropanol in their mix, why go with methanal? And, 99% isopropanol is hard to find - besides once opened it probably will become 91% anyway due to drawing moisture so quickly.

    B: From my past experience with True Oil, once you opened the bottle, the air pocket deveoped inside made it thicken - is this the same concern with shellac?

    Thanks for all the tips guys. Will be out of town for a short while and then hope to finish it off. Will let you know/see how it goes.
    Glenn
    PS I did practice on a spare stock first as was suggested.

  6. #16
    Gunco Maniac sjohnson's Avatar
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    No need to be concerned about moisture draw or air to the can of remaining shellac - shellac doesn't air or water cure, it's a natural polymer dissolved in the alcohol. The alcohol evaporates, leaving the shellac behind. When dry of alcohol, the finish is done, no additional "curing."

    That's why new shellac can be successfully applied to old - the alcohol in the new shellac dissolves the top of the old shellac and the two "layers" - old and new - literally melt into each other and become one layer.

    Will 91% make a big difference? I don't think so, though 95-96% is a natural max IIRC, pure alcohol rapidly pulls in 4-5% atmospheric water.

  7. #17
    Firearms Junkie Glenn's Avatar
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    Postak Looks like I'm on the right path

    sjohnson, thanks for answers - shellac is a whole new ballgame for me and I am learning as I go along, so to you and all of the other contributors on this forum, I thank you.

    I agree that should I decide on cutting the Bulls Eye to a 2 pound cut, the 91% Isopropanal will be ok as the ratio from their chart indicates that I shall need to make my mix 5 parts Bulls Eye to 2 parts alcohol. Now I understand that they are talking pure alcohol (or as close as one can get - probably back to our 99%), but with the ratio mix they list, just 40% of it is alcohol. If my math is correct, I am only adding about 3% water to the mix and that tells me that I will still be close enough to the 95-96% that you write of. And as you say, "pure alcohol rapidly pulls in 4-5% atmospheric water" - that strengthens my point that 99% isopropanol will certainly, once opened, become 91% or at least closer to it anyway due to drawing moisture so quickly.

    Besides, this is just a "rough" military style gun stock, not a custom Fajen curly maple 1000.00 piece of wood I am working with here !!! Bottom line is, if I wanted it to look brand new and expensive, I certainly wouldn't be working with a used Romy G kit. I've been a gunsmith for over 35 years now and have done more wood work then I care to speak of - but, like I said, I always used Tru-Oil or similar and I am having a real blast playing around with such an old product as shellac. My goal is to attempt to get this AK variant to "look" authentic - and, shellac is going to get me there.

    And by the way, your memory is very accurate - here from the United States Patent 6348217 titled: Method for preparing stable bleached shellac. ..........."Preferably the Official Moisture content of the stable shellac is not greater than 6%; typically it is 1% to 6%, more preferably it is from 3% to 5%." So, you are right there and my calculations puts me in the same range.

    Thanks again, Glenn

  8. #18
    U.N.C.L.E. Illya Kuryakin's Avatar
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    Glad it worked out great.

    Ya know, I've always heard once you go shellac, ya never go back. Have fun with it. It opens up a new and different realm of wood refinishing.

    BTW - I have always found it best to pour out of can into secondary cup just to help in avoiding any possibility of contaminating the whole can of shellac should I draw back some unwanted things on my brush and put it back into the can.

    BTW2 - have you built a Yugo kit yet. They love to be treated with BLO


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  9. #19
    Firearms Junkie Glenn's Avatar
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    The second cup idea fits me.......also if I spill.........it's less to worry about !!! No Yugo's yet.......have a few Yugo SKS's that I love......I've mostly done bolt action rifles in the past....Mausers, etc. And I did do some other kits.....this Romy is new to me and so far, a real blast. Thanks for help. Glenn

  10. #20
    U.N.C.L.E. Illya Kuryakin's Avatar
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    I'm going in the opposite direction as you. Was heavily into AK variants for a few years now going into Mauser variants (Yugo, German, Czech, Swedish, etc) , 1903 models, 1917 Eddystone and Garands.

    It's a never ending quest to satisify the addiction


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