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Dec 15, 2019 - 4:07:49 PM
5 posts since 11/30/2019

I have recently acquired what is believed to be a 1920s dowel stick banjo, it is in mostly good condition apart from a few spots on the neck.

I was wondering if anyone has any advice for repairing these areas. I would prefer not to refinish the entire neck as I quite like the aged look. would it be possible to spot repair these areas, sand and then apply a coat of paste wax to the entire neck to protect the finish?

Kind regards,
Joel


Dec 15, 2019 - 4:21:04 PM
likes this

rcc56

USA

2424 posts since 2/20/2016

A little skillfully applied French polished shellac might work here. It will take patience and skill.

Or if it's lacquer, it can be spot repaired with an airbrush and careful levelling.  A tricky job unless you're Steve Mirwa.

A good violin repair person might be able to handle this job well.

No!!  on paste wax!!!!

Edited by - rcc56 on 12/15/2019 16:26:04

Dec 15, 2019 - 6:49:55 PM

650 posts since 5/19/2018

Joel, I’d go with the French polish method and be done with it.

Dec 15, 2019 - 9:57:50 PM

5 posts since 11/30/2019

Would I have to strip the old finish off before french polishing or is it possible to apply over this finish? Baring in mind that the section on the neck is bare wood?

Dec 15, 2019 - 9:59:47 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

22721 posts since 6/25/2005

I just watched Frank Ford use a Grumbacher artists’ finish for a small touch-up. He said it was really handy for things that aren’t worth the effort of French polishing. I wrote him for the exact name and will post it when he answers. It might be just what you need.

Dec 15, 2019 - 10:16:35 PM

5 posts since 11/30/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

I just watched Frank Ford use a Grumbacher artists’ finish for a small touch-up. He said it was really handy for things that aren’t worth the effort of French polishing. I wrote him for the exact name and will post it when he answers. It might be just what you need.


Sounds like it could be promising, thanks.

Dec 15, 2019 - 10:42:59 PM

rcc56

USA

2424 posts since 2/20/2016

quote:
Originally posted by JoelDevine1906

Would I have to strip the old finish off before french polishing or is it possible to apply over this finish? Baring in mind that the section on the neck is bare wood?


You won't have to strip as long as the bare wood has not been discolored by handling.  If you're good, you can just polish the bare areas and lightly blend them into the existing finish.  You may have to lightly sand the repaired and blended area.  Wait 2 weeks after you've built the new finish up to its final level before you sand.  Then, you can either polish it with rottenstone and oil, or rub one more very light coat of shellac over the spot.  Wait another week or two before you play the instrument.

Shellac will stick to darn near anything [except possibly some of the modern poly finishes], so you can go right over the existing finish where the heel finish is damaged.  Clean it with naphtha first.  If the surface is very uneven, you can scuff sand it lightly with 320 or 400 sandpaper.  Try to avoid any significant sanding on any bare wood.   Use pure grain alcohol to mix your shellac.  Denatured alcohol can cause problems.

Edited by - rcc56 on 12/15/2019 22:52:53

Dec 16, 2019 - 1:57:53 AM

100 posts since 7/14/2017

For these small spots I'd just wipe on several coats of shellac, rather than go the full French Polishing routine. Maybe 6 or 7 coats. After a couple of weeks to cure, sand level and then polish up. By the look of it, blonde shellac would give a pretty close colour match.

Dec 16, 2019 - 5:18:44 AM

5 posts since 11/30/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Profchris

For these small spots I'd just wipe on several coats of shellac, rather than go the full French Polishing routine. Maybe 6 or 7 coats. After a couple of weeks to cure, sand level and then polish up. By the look of it, blonde shellac would give a pretty close colour match.


Is there any perticular brand of shellac you would recomend? And wipe on opposed to brushing? 

Thanks 

Dec 16, 2019 - 7:38:20 AM

rcc56

USA

2424 posts since 2/20/2016

The brand is not very important. Blonde shellac is probably the color that will work the best. I do not recommend pre-mixed, canned shellac. Use shellac flakes available from a violin maker's supplier or woodworking supplier.

Put a teaspoon of shellac flakes in a small bottle, and cover it with 2 1/2 teaspoons of pure grain alcohol. Let it sit overnight, then pour it through a piece of paper towel or a coffee filter to filter it. You can thin it more if needed with a little more alcohol.

Shellac doesn't brush very well. Wiping is easier to control. Allow plenty of drying time. Practice on some scrap wood before you go to work on the banjo.

If you just wipe on without oil, leave your shellac mixture fairly thick. Allow extra drying time. You can build a little faster if you French polish. There is a good tutorial on French polishing on frets.com, and another on the LMI website.

The biggest mistakes you can make with shellac are to build too fast, and to not allow sufficient drying time.

Dec 16, 2019 - 7:49:32 AM

5 posts since 11/30/2019

quote:
Originally posted by rcc56

The brand is not very important. Blonde shellac is probably the color that will work the best. I do not recommend pre-mixed, canned shellac. Use shellac flakes available from a violin maker's supplier or woodworking supplier.

Put a teaspoon of shellac flakes in a small bottle, and cover it with 2 1/2 teaspoons of pure grain alcohol. Let it sit overnight, then pour it through a piece of paper towel or a coffee filter to filter it. You can thin it more if needed with a little more alcohol.

Shellac doesn't brush very well. Wiping is easier to control. Allow plenty of drying time. Practice on some scrap wood before you go to work on the banjo.

If you just wipe on without oil, leave your shellac mixture fairly thick. Allow extra drying time. You can build a little faster if you French polish. There is a good tutorial on French polishing on frets.com, and another on the LMI website.

The biggest mistakes you can make with shellac are to build too fast, and to not allow sufficient drying time.


Thank you for the in depth answer, I will order some flakes right away and practice for a few weeks.

Thanks again!

Dec 16, 2019 - 9:52:02 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

22721 posts since 6/25/2005

quote:
Originally posted by JoelDevine1906
quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

I just watched Frank Ford use a Grumbacher artists’ finish for a small touch-up. He said it was really handy for things that aren’t worth the effort of French polishing. I wrote him for the exact name and will post it when he answers. It might be just what you need.


Sounds like it could be promising, thanks.


Well, probably not....I talked to Frank.  The stuff is Grumbacher Pale Dryiing Oil.  Turns out is a modified, fast-drying linseed oil—suitable for the touch up Frank was doing, which had a far smaller area to cover—and no color issues. So it might be useful for some things, but apparently not for as big an area as you need to cover.

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