A friend of mine is an amateur luthier and rescued a parlor flamenco guitar at the flea. Heavily cracked and had been converted to steel string. He repaired the cracks and set it up and put a nice fishman peizo bridge pickup in it with an endpin preamp. Thing is about 50 years old with a tight grain spruce top and cypress. The finish was toast. I lightly sanded it and painstakingly rubbed on french polish. Very light finish. Came out great. Sounds awesome through a pa. Like willies guitar. Love old wood.
YES on shellac as a finish. You can control the amount of amber color (which always looks less plastic-y than lacquer to me) and the thickness. It's also more flexible and allows the soundboard to resonate. It can be sprayed or - as Chris did - french polished, which is a great way to get to know an instrument, and very forgiving with technique. You can repair mistakes instantly. Shellac is not the dog finish that some make it out to be. Just don't pour whiskey all over it.
I use to live in Buffalo. We'd bitch about the snow on a regular basis and be somewhat proud of our weather affliction. I moved to the NYC area for three years, then NJ for two, the to the West Coast. I've seen lots of different snow. NE snows seem to impact more...
1. The snow is typically Buffalo-snow, really wet and heavy and like mashed potatoes.
2. When it's NOT like that, the weather often warms up after the front comes through and turns the dry snow into #1 snow.
3. When it blizzards, it hits big.
4. The roads in NE are often all windy-windy lanes, basically developed from Colonial footpaths. Makes clearance harder than the big, straight, wide roads out West that often have nothing on the sides.
5. Ditto with the vegetation on the roadsides. NE often has dense growth just not seen in the midwest or out west.
6. Bostonians love to grump.
Thanks for the responses. Truly was not me, but a young person I know who was very much "well... I know it's wrong but everyone does it..." then erased what he had after our talk, having seen the light. Lives in a house with other college age people, share the house wifi. I'm just wondering how to help them feel like they have truly erased.