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MMD > Archives > January 2017 > 2017.01.02 > 04Prev  Next

Refinishing Shellac Based Finishes
By Bill Budenholzer

In the discussion of refinishing pianos I remembered a 1928 notebook
from Great Uncle Gus.  Uncle Gus was an artist who worked in the
Cleveland area.  For a while he did finish work for fine furniture
and millwork.  His notebook has various recipes for finishes and a
couple of notes about refinishing.

His process to finish a piano involved some 24 steps and took the
better part of three weeks just to let the various layers of finish
dry.  The notebook has this entry --

  Polish for old work.
  Grain Alcohol  2 oz.
  Linseed Oil    6 oz.
  Muriatic Acid  1 oz.
  Turpentine     4 oz.
  Ammonia        1/2 oz.

In other parts of the notebook he mentions 6-ought (000 000)
sandpaper, pumice, rotten stone, and cotton wadding as finishing tools.

In Uncle Gus's day, finish work was done with bare hands and no
protection -- not something I would not recommend today.  With all
the safety regulations it's possible today's versions of these products
may be different and this formulation might not work.  In any event,
I present it as a reference only.

Bill Budenholzer
St. Louis, Missouri

(Message sent Mon 2 Jan 2017, 17:22:11 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  Based, Finishes, Refinishing, Shellac

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