The finest finish on wood

Mastering the secrets of "Gomolaka"!

Bouzouki bowl:Created with 3D software by SDimis

The tradition requires, the old famous instrument makers, to varnish their instruments with the difficult and time consuming technique of "Gomolaka with mpala" (Shellac application with muneca also called 'rubber').

Researching the Internet, I collected the following information from various sources:

"This popular application of using shellac on musical instruments is called “French polishing”. In the days before spray finishing and abrasive buffing, the technique known as "French polishing" was said to produce the finest finish on wood.The finish itself was shellac (a resin secreted by the female lac bug on trees, in the forests of India and Thailand) dissolved in denatured alcohol."

"However, the primary reason for using this kind of finish, was because the shellac once had been applied, dried almost instantly, and when several layers were applied, was extra lightweight with a beautiful lustre, that allowed all the natural timbre and overtones of the sound woods to vibrate freely, and the rich fullness of sound to be set free. It is no coincidence that many of the incredible quality, beautiful and unique Stradivarius Violins were made with Shellac, although the exact formula is still unknown."

"The only disadvantage of "French polishing" is that Shellac, the basic ingredient, is not a durable finish in itself.This finish wears quickly through contact and is subject to damage by water, alcohol and perspiration."

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