Concerning the wood on T such as coil box, hood wood that holds the hood clips, steering wheel....
What is the protocol for staining and then putting on varnish or shellac?
How many coats ish of varnish or shellac?
So first stain a couple times to color desire, then lightly sand, then apply varnish or shellac and sand, and reapply varnish / shellac again , sand and do it all over again?
Thank you in advance for sharing what you do.
Most people go with a urethane coating. Drys quick, can be sanded between coats with 400 grit or so sandpaper and even sanded and rubbed with red rubbing compound followed by paste wax if you want a furniture finish.
Here's what I used on my wheel spokes:
Shellac is what was originally used. I have an old 1913 firewall that has the original shellac coating. It was probably used on the coilbox as well. The hoodshelves and steering wheel were painted black.
Shellac, however, does not hold up too well to the elements, and the spar varnish or spar urethane is a much better choice for the clear coating.
I applied cherry Minwax stain to the solid cherry firewall on my '14 after first block sanding it to 400 grit finish. I washed it with plain water and air dried it with an air blower, then let it stand with a terry towel over it in my garage for about ten days to ensure it was completely dry.
Stain was applied using a terry cloth detailing towel.
I applied the Minwax polyurethane spar varnish using a brush, with the grain. The finish looked excellent after two coats applied a couple days apart.
After it dried for about a month I polished it using 3M Perfect it polishing compound. The result is impressive. The finish was applied in 2006. Still looks fantastic today after many days on tours, in the rain, hot sun, you name it.
I would agree with much of what has been said and would only add that shellac is a poor choice for items exposed to the weather. I've done a bit of furniture refinishing and would use shellac only on valuable antiques to preserve the original look. It is difficult to work with and like I say doesn't hold up well. The best thing I can say about it is that it is easy to remove.
Shellac is also not lightfast. Original shellac wasn't too great and today's stuff is far worse. Shellac is what was used on original coilboxes. Look at the difference between any remaining finish and that which was protected under the switch or latches.
If you apply shellac it needs to be applied in coats that are cut with a thinning agent to get it to adhere properly.
Coat 1--75% thinner 25% shellac
Coat 2--50% thinner 50% shellac
Coat 3--25% thinner 75% shellac
Coat 4--100% shellac
Buff between coats with 0000 steel wool to remove grit and air bubbles, wipe with a tack rag.
Dennis ... so refreshing to hear (read) from someone who knows what they
are talking about when it comes to old tech paint and coatings !
Add ten points to your final score and cut yerself an extra slice of raisin pie, Amigo !
Obviously things are different in the USA.
Using shellac in Australia and in England and elsewhere to finish wood and is called "French Polishing".
The process is directly opposite to what Dennis has described.
Shellac 100% is a solid substance, usually sold by the pound in a flake form,
It is dissolved in alcohol to make up a liquid.
First coats are thick to build up a coating and it is progressively thinned down.
To finish, the alcohol is applied to a pad of cloth or lamb skin with a padding or wad of cotton wool inside. The alcohol softens the shellac and it is rubbed over the surface and the grain holes are filled by moving the soft shellac from the surface to fill in the grain holes.
This produces a flat smooth mirror finish.
No sanding of any sort is used as you risk seeing faults in the transparent surface.
As stated as a product it is terrible if exposed to heat or sunlight. It is the preferred finish for high class furniture even though it marks with hot cups or water but it is easily restored back to original by repeating the process with the solvent pad.
A sensible replacement is one of those suggested above.