Reply by lumberjoe

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Posted on The Shellac hoax

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2899 posts in 2243 days

#1 posted 10-08-2012 08:20 PM

Charlie, I agree except there is a lot of misinformation about shellac floating around and people avoid it unnecessarily. There is actually nothing wrong with shellac. I’m not sure where the “shellac sucks!” mentality came from. High end antiques and re-productions of the same are almost always finished with shellac. Also take a look at some french-polished musical instruments and tell me if you’ve seen a more beautiful finish. Shellac is superior to any oil/varnish blend in terms of protection. There are better choices for kitchen table tops and really high use/wear surfaces.

To contrast, all of the oil/varnish blends (danish oil, “Tung oil finish”, “teak oil finish”, antique finish etc) offer extremely minimal protection. They are billed as finishes that “protect the wood from within”. That is complete crap. For a finish to be effective, you need to build it up. You cannot build up an oil/varnish. The wood will only take so much before you start getting a gummy mess.

In my opinion, shellac looks much nicer than an oil or water based poly and is just as protective in a lot of cases. it is also easier to get a nice looking, even finish with shellac, and it dries A LOT faster, reducing overall finishing time.


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