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 Post subject: Importance of Shellac ??
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:28 pm 
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Can someone explain the idea of using shellac, and the importance to me? I read some of the threads on mixtures that people are using, but have yet to experiment. I have been sanding my pipes to 1500 grit, then buffing with tripoli, white diamond, then adding carnauba wax, and lastly using a clean buff for the final polish. They have come out super shiny.

I am guessing the shellac preserves the shine for years, where as the process I am using will dull more quickly as the pipe is smoked?
Do a majority of all pipe makers use shellac?

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:53 am 
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Shellac doesn't do a whole amount for the shine, at least not for me, I can get a good shine without it, I use it to help bring out the grain whether stained or natural, if I just buff it can be a little uneven and patchy, a coat of shellac gives it that "wet" look that then buffs to a nice shine with even colour.
On blasted pipes the shellac does the same thing but also has the added benefit of stopping the wax soaking into the wood making polishing difficult.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:13 am 
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What shellac actually does is fill micro pores in the wood surface. Varnish, Polyurethane and some oils like Danish Oil will work very similarly. Wax, such as Carnauba, can also fill the pores, but through heat from holding and smoking, it will eventually wear off. Shellac will not melt off, at least not under normal use. Shellac also helps the stain seal so they will not wipe off on the hands of the smoker.

Having said that, I typically do not use shellac on my smooth pipes.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:50 am 
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If you do not seal the stain with something other than buffing and carnuba wax, the stain will leach over time and the finish will absorb dirt and residue. Shellac, danish oil, etc.. are used for sealing the stain and protecting the surface.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:41 pm 
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There are lots of ways to make a pipe shiny. Keeping a pipe shiny for a long time narrows your finishing options. Wax alone won't cut it. Shellac is one way to make a pipe shiny for a long time. There are lots of ways to do it. You have to ask yourself what you want your pipes to look like in many years under normal use. I'm not satisfied with letting the appearance of my pipes degrade quickly under normal use. If someone buys it looking a certain way, I expect it to stay that way for a long time given normal use. Again, that is one way to approach it. Some like the idea of a pipe changing appearance over time. There is nothing wrong with that. They have met their goal with the finish they apply. Again, it all comes down to what you want your pipes to look like over time and what type of wear you want them to be resistant to.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:17 pm 
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andrew wrote:
There are lots of ways to make a pipe shiny. Keeping a pipe shiny for a long time narrows your finishing options. Wax alone won't cut it. Shellac is one way to make a pipe shiny for a long time. There are lots of ways to do it. You have to ask yourself what you want your pipes to look like in many years under normal use. I'm not satisfied with letting the appearance of my pipes degrade quickly under normal use. If someone buys it looking a certain way, I expect it to stay that way for a long time given normal use. Again, that is one way to approach it. Some like the idea of a pipe changing appearance over time. There is nothing wrong with that. They have met their goal with the finish they apply. Again, it all comes down to what you want your pipes to look like over time and what type of wear you want them to be resistant to.


All true.

Something to consider when deciding what you want your pipes to look like over time is that sealed/hard finishes can be quite difficult to repair when they get damaged or scuffed, while Old School stain and wax is "self healing" to a significant degree plus easy to re-apply whenever you like. A parallel would be leather goods. Patent leather vs shoe polish, brush, and cloth.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 5:53 pm 
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George brings up a good point (as always). Customers like to tinker with their pipes I have found so any finish you do use is better if they can mess around with it.

For my own pipes I use the classic shellac then carnauba for smooths and shellac then renaissance wax for blasts. Customers can easily re-buff and wax their pipes if they so choose and the blasts simply need a quick buff with a brush to bring back the shine. I also chose carnauba and renaissance wax because they are easily available and common in the industry making it easy for customers to care for their own pipes and saving George some work ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:10 pm 
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caskwith wrote:
George brings up a good point (as always). Customers like to tinker with their pipes I have found so any finish you do use is better if they can mess around with it.

For my own pipes I use the classic shellac then carnauba for smooths and shellac then renaissance wax for blasts. Customers can easily re-buff and wax their pipes if they so choose and the blasts simply need a quick buff with a brush to bring back the shine. I also chose carnauba and renaissance wax because they are easily available and common in the industry making it easy for customers to care for their own pipes and saving George some work ;)


Don't you get a weird smell from renaissance wax? Or was that just the renaissance wax that I acquired? I tried it out and didn't like the smell, so I abandoned it.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:26 pm 
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sandahlpipe wrote:
caskwith wrote:
George brings up a good point (as always). Customers like to tinker with their pipes I have found so any finish you do use is better if they can mess around with it.

For my own pipes I use the classic shellac then carnauba for smooths and shellac then renaissance wax for blasts. Customers can easily re-buff and wax their pipes if they so choose and the blasts simply need a quick buff with a brush to bring back the shine. I also chose carnauba and renaissance wax because they are easily available and common in the industry making it easy for customers to care for their own pipes and saving George some work ;)


Don't you get a weird smell from renaissance wax? Or was that just the renaissance wax that I acquired? I tried it out and didn't like the smell, so I abandoned it.


It it a petroleum based micro-crystalline wax and when first applied it has a chemical smell. However, after a day or two the odor is gone.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 5:03 am 
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Yeah it smells for a day or two (I actually really like the smell) but it soon disappears, never had a complaint from a customer in 5+ years.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:39 am 
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I use Wood Turners Finish

Quote:
Wood turners use many different kinds of finish, usually based either on what they’re doing or what they like. Food-safe, durable, acid resistant, quick drying, easy to apply and VOC compliant are all desirable attributes, but they usually don’t all come in the same product. General has managed to do just that – crammed it all into their Wood Turners Finish. This product has it all, plus it buffs out beautifully with as little as a single coat. Add multiple (3, 6 or 10) coats, and it begins to have depth like a hand polished lacquer or multiple coats of CA glue (without the noxious fumes). Don’t let the name fool you – this finish is equally at home on furniture, and it sprays like a dream.


I apply 2-4 coats and hit it with a 2400 micro mesh pad then buff with Tripoli and White Diamond.

You don't need much. A couple of drops on those thick disposable blue shop towels works great. Dries in less than 2 minutes and you can sand and buff right away.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:10 am 
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CoastalRyan wrote:
I apply 2-4 coats and hit it with a 2400 micro mesh pad then buff with Tripoli and White Diamond.

You don't need much. A couple of drops on those thick disposable blue shop towels works great. Dries in less than 2 minutes and you can sand and buff right away.


Micro mesh grits don't match up very well with standard grits, but if you're using MM 2400 before you use tripoli, you're going backwards. Tripoli is something like 400 (or possibly 600, I don't recall) grit. Using that after your MM pad (let's just call it 1000 grit) means you just scratched the surface of your sanded-to-1000-grit surface. Granted, it *looks* smoother, but that's partly just the grease in the compound. You would do better to "skip the trip", and go straight from MM 2400 to white.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:53 am 
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e Markle wrote:
CoastalRyan wrote:
I apply 2-4 coats and hit it with a 2400 micro mesh pad then buff with Tripoli and White Diamond.

You don't need much. A couple of drops on those thick disposable blue shop towels works great. Dries in less than 2 minutes and you can sand and buff right away.


Micro mesh grits don't match up very well with standard grits, but if you're using MM 2400 before you use tripoli, you're going backwards. Tripoli is something like 400 (or possibly 600, I don't recall) grit. Using that after your MM pad (let's just call it 1000 grit) means you just scratched the surface of your sanded-to-1000-grit surface. Granted, it *looks* smoother, but that's partly just the grease in the compound. You would do better to "skip the trip", and go straight from MM 2400 to white.


Although there is the grit comparison with tripoli 400 to 1000, it does not quite work that way. Simple test. Sand vulcanite or acrylic to p1000 then buff lightly with tripoli. Then clean the grease off with alcohol. It will be very shiny and smooth with no sign of going backwards. Pressure has a lot to do with it, but it has a much different cutting action than sanding.

White Diamond is generally 1500+ in grit comparison.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:07 am 
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PremalChheda wrote:
Although there is the grit comparison with tripoli 400 to 1000, it does not quite work that way. Simple test. Sand vulcanite or acrylic to p1000 then buff lightly with tripoli. Then clean the grease off with alcohol. It will be very shiny and smooth with no sign of going backwards. Pressure has a lot to do with it, but it has a much different cutting action than sanding.

White Diamond is generally 1500+ in grit comparison.



Premal is right, same goes for power sanding vs hand sanding, if you power sand at 400 you will get a much finer finish that hand sanding at 400, even if the abrasives are equal.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:51 am 
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PremalChheda wrote:

Although there is the grit comparison with tripoli 400 to 1000, it does not quite work that way. Simple test. Sand vulcanite or acrylic to p1000 then buff lightly with tripoli. Then clean the grease off with alcohol. It will be very shiny and smooth with no sign of going backwards. Pressure has a lot to do with it, but it has a much different cutting action than sanding.

White Diamond is generally 1500+ in grit comparison.


That's interesting. I stopped using tripoli altogether because of the exact scenario you mentioned. I would sand my stems to 1000 and then hit them with tripoli and voila: scratches! I suppose I could have gotten an off batch, or maybe I'm too heavy handed with the trip. Regardless, it didn't work so well for me. *shrugs*


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:42 am 
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e Markle wrote:
PremalChheda wrote:

Although there is the grit comparison with tripoli 400 to 1000, it does not quite work that way. Simple test. Sand vulcanite or acrylic to p1000 then buff lightly with tripoli. Then clean the grease off with alcohol. It will be very shiny and smooth with no sign of going backwards. Pressure has a lot to do with it, but it has a much different cutting action than sanding.

White Diamond is generally 1500+ in grit comparison.


That's interesting. I stopped using tripoli altogether because of the exact scenario you mentioned. I would sand my stems to 1000 and then hit them with tripoli and voila: scratches! I suppose I could have gotten an off batch, or maybe I'm too heavy handed with the trip. Regardless, it didn't work so well for me. *shrugs*



Could be the Tripoli you are using, not all are created equal especially cheaper brands. Personally I don't even use Tripoli as I don't like the colour contamination it can cause on natural finish pipes, instead I use glosswax, similar level of abrasive but high quality, low grease and ivory in colour.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:59 am 
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I've had excellent results with Menzerna compounds. Get mine from Stewart-McDonald. If it is good enough for high-end guitars..............
BTW, Glosswax 16 is a Menzerna product.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:08 am 
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e Markle wrote:
CoastalRyan wrote:
I apply 2-4 coats and hit it with a 2400 micro mesh pad then buff with Tripoli and White Diamond.

You don't need much. A couple of drops on those thick disposable blue shop towels works great. Dries in less than 2 minutes and you can sand and buff right away.


Micro mesh grits don't match up very well with standard grits, but if you're using MM 2400 before you use tripoli, you're going backwards. Tripoli is something like 400 (or possibly 600, I don't recall) grit. Using that after your MM pad (let's just call it 1000 grit) means you just scratched the surface of your sanded-to-1000-grit surface. Granted, it *looks* smoother, but that's partly just the grease in the compound. You would do better to "skip the trip", and go straight from MM 2400 to white.
Okay this is my fault I should have clarified. When I apply the Wood Turners Finish I apply more than one coat to ensure equal coverage. It does a great job filling the pours.

The reason I sand with MM 2400 is to deck out that finish. Forgive the poor comparison but similarly to the way one would block out a car panel. Using MM by hand does a much better job of smoothing out the finish than my wheel(perhaps that is just my experience) and Wood Turners is quite pliable shortly after drying and fully hardens after 48 or so hours.

...and perhaps the Tripoli is an extra step technically but I find that things come out much nicer with the White Diamond if I start with Tripoli.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:21 pm 
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oklahoma red wrote:
I've had excellent results with Menzerna compounds. Get mine from Stewart-McDonald. If it is good enough for high-end guitars..............
BTW, Glosswax 16 is a Menzerna product.



Yep that's the one, I only use Menzerna buffing compounds, they are really excellent and they use a lot less grease than other manufacturers making them especially good for pipe work.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:26 pm 
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e Markle wrote:
Micro mesh grits don't match up very well with standard grits, but if you're using MM 2400 before you use tripoli, you're going backwards. Tripoli is something like 400 (or possibly 600, I don't recall) grit. Using that after your MM pad (let's just call it 1000 grit) means you just scratched the surface of your sanded-to-1000-grit surface. Granted, it *looks* smoother, but that's partly just the grease in the compound. You would do better to "skip the trip", and go straight from MM 2400 to white.


I need to see you make a stem sometime. It's amazing to me how many different ways there are to achieve good results!

I haven't had these issues with tripoli, were you using red? or brown? Also, heating the stem after buffing it will raise up any remaining scratches. I have never had scratches running in the direction I buffed though- all sanding marks from 600 grit.

I'm also very interested in the Menzerna compounds, they seem to be highly praised by everyone who uses them. I'll have to save a few pennies to get a set.

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