Reply by Cosmicsniper

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Posted on Instructions thinning canned shellac

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2202 posts in 3180 days

#1 posted 10-23-2012 08:00 PM


Amber shellac will make that maple look like a good amber ale when finished. If that’s what you want, that’s cool. I don’t like doing that to maple, but oak would be pretty.

If you are just finishing with shellac, then you are just using it instead of poly or whatever film finish you normally use. Shellac is actually very hard and durable in that regard, but you normally avoid using it where a drink might be set on it.

So, I’d just use your Tung Oil finish, let it dry really well, and then chase it with full cuts of shellac. I would apply the shellac quickly with a brush…just get it on the wood. Then, I would lightly sand away any dust moats when dry, though there probably won’t be any as fast as it dries. Then I add progressive thinner coats as I go up. The final coat would be a “spiriting off” coat, which is pure solvent. This method will produce a very even finish. It’s a method similar to French polish, only without the oil and with a brush.

There’s a certain amount of trust you must have with shellac. It will melt the undercoats and does some self-leveling. Just let it build up and resist the tendency to “fix things” when it’s wet on the wood. Let the brush touch the wood only once. If you miss something, it’s better to wait until the next coat.

It takes some practice to build up that confidence.

-- jay,

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