vaseline to restore shellac?


Hi,
I just bought an antique piano, and the previous owner was kind enough to give the finish a boost by applying a coat of melted vaseline over the shellac.
I have seen the photos and they look good, with the wood having re-gained some of the darkness before oxidization.
I'm just wondering if this technique is going to make it impossible for me to apply further coats of shellac on top if I ever need to!
how could I rub shellac on top of the existing finish now that it has been treated with vaseline?
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alfred wrote:

Remove the vaseline. With paint thinner or naptha.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
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NO . . NO . .NO Do not use a solvent to remove the vaseline. You will only remove the finish. Padding & French polishing with shellac will remove the vaseline just as it removes the oil in the final stages of French Polishing. Do a lot of practicing before you try it on the piano, but it is a skill well worth learning. Bugs
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Alcohol is poor solvent for Vaseline, but a good one for shellac. Paint thinner is a good solvent for Vaseline, and does nothing to shellac, which is why it can be used as a lube for wet sanding, evaporating quickly without risking water under the finish.
I generally just remove excess polishing oil with mineral spirits rather than a rag.
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You're technically right, but the process of French polishing floats the lubricating oil [usually mineral oil] off the surface and removes it on the pad. That's when the high gloss characteristic of this process starts to show. Vaseline also makes a good restorative for dried and cracked tortoise shell. Repaired an old mandolin that way 20 years ago and it's still in good condition. Bugs
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"alfred" wrote in message

If you do want to try to remove the Vaseline, try Murphy's Oil Soap on an area that is not highly visible. It should be your safest bet to try, but no guarantees.
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Depending on the age of the piano, the finish probably isn't shellac anyway,
Piano finishing scares me. It's _very_ hard to restore.
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Aren't most pianos these days, and for that matter, for many days finished with lacquer?
Robert
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Andy Dingley ha scritto:

it's a european piano from the late 1800's.. shellac.
someone mentioned paint thinner, as it doesn't melt shellac.. do you mean toulene, I mean Nitro thinner?
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That's still no guarantee that it's shellac, or that it's only shellac. It would tend to rule out the synthetic lacquers though.
Brown pianos could be a spirit varnish (with plant resins) rather than shellac - especially older ones, so probably not this one. These are somewhat like shellac to apply initially, totally different to re-finish later. The great characteristic of shellac is that it's easily re-dissolved by applying more solvent (the key to french polishing), the plant resins don't dissolve easily enough. Shellac restoration techniques will have little efffect on these, possibly a detrimental effect. They certainly won't improve things.
If it's black, then it's likely to be based on shellac but the high polish is obtained by really complex polishing techniques (only used on pianos, and rarely on clocks and coffins), not just french polish.

No, I think they mean light naptha fractions, as sold as "white spirit" in the UK. It's a very weak solvent for anything, which makes it useful for gentle work. If you really needed to clean the vaseline off it, then this would be the stuff to use - however I don't see any problem with vaseline, so I'd be inclined to leave it.
I've never use toluene with shellac, but my initial expectation is that it would dissolve shellac - certainly not something to go slapping onto your piano.
Vaseline is an easy contaminant to remove in any piece of high-end re-finishing work. I'm surprised it does much for the finish other than make it sticky and show fingerprints, but it's stable and it's not damaging.
If this thing is worth serious money, then talk to a piano expert. I'm no finishing expert (I don't have enough practical experience) but I'm fairly knowledgeable. Like I said, pianos are beyond anything I know about., particularly black ones.
OTOH, I'd dive straight into a harpsichord or virginal. I know about the finishes on those.
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alfred wrote:

Is Nitro thinner lacquer thinner? No, not lacquer thinner, paint thinner...mineral spirits. The stuff that is substituted for turpentine. It won't hurt anything regardless if the finish is shellac, varnish or lacquer but it *will* dissolve waxes and oils.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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By UK naming at least, good quality "white spirit" will evaporate and is OK to use. "Substitute turpentine" will leave an oily residue behind and should _not_ be used for wiping down furniture.
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A bit OT but:
I found that Vaseline was just the thing to restore the seriously chalked finish on a fiberglass boat. The guy who suggested it recommended using 90 weight oil, but that stunk like an an old garage. The Vaseline took 20 years off the appearance, went on MUCH easier than wax (and looked shinier). It washed off with use, but was so easy to reapply that it didn't matter.
Walt C
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