Little Journey's #3: Applying Shellac and Hiding Sapwood

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Blog entry by gizmodyne posted 06-09-2008 03:14 PM 2609 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Fuming! Part 3 of Little Journey's series Part 4: Applying a Wax Finish »

I cleaned up 90% shop dust by vac and broom and then run the overhead air filter for a bit before finishing. I protected the workbench with plastic. The panels are raised up on scrap sticks. You can see a bottle of Transtint (Dark mission brown) in the foreground.

I add denatured alcohol to a container and then add the shellac to the consistency of a 1lb or so cut. Very thin.

I am padding on the shellac with a clean t-shirt scrap wrapped around another scrap. I also used a glue brush and a larger brush.

I work from the middle out to the ends to avoid over collecting on the ends.

After one coat (Still wettish)

When the first coat and on are dry I sand with my little worn spongy sanding block to knock down the dust nibs /level the surface. You can do this with very worn sandpaper too. If I have nothing else I take a piece of 320 and rub it against itself to break the grit down to a softer texture.

I feel the grit of the finish with my hand and then sand very lightly until It feels smooth. The goal is to remove that grit feeling and nothing more.

Tint it
On the second and so on coats I added the dark brown dye to the shellac to add a little more color to the project.

Shot with final coat of tinted shellac

Finally I tackled the sapwood by adding a few more drops of the dye to the shellac. The sapwood lacks that tanins that enact color change via fuming. (By the way I find the liquid dye WAY easier to work with than the powdered).

I brushed the concentrated color/shellac mixture onto the sapwood only.


Brushing Shellac/Dye..

After blending with my shellac pad..

Better I think.

Dry time
I really want to finish this, but I am going to wait a few days to let the shellac cure before I wax it.

This one’s for you Lee… Watch the shellac dry.

Next time Wax

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

6 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3843 days

#1 posted 06-09-2008 04:29 PM


You did a nice job of blending in the sapwood. I agree that the liquid dyes are much easier to work with than the powder.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 3738 days

#2 posted 06-09-2008 06:43 PM

Beautiful job!

-- jeanmarc manosque france

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4010 days

#3 posted 06-09-2008 08:38 PM

Great job with the sapwood!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4422 days

#4 posted 06-09-2008 10:05 PM

Great set of shots John. Very nice job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4115 days

#5 posted 06-10-2008 04:08 AM

Thanks for more details on this process John. I’ve always heard about fuming and read about it but never seen the process. Nice tie-in with the dying too. I have to dye some mahogany soon so it was good to read about how much easier it was to use liquid vs. powered dye. (I had been advised to use the powder but was skeptical.)

Thanks again.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 3862 days

#6 posted 06-10-2008 05:03 PM

well written. very easy to follow. Good job, thanks

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

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