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View Nighttripper's profile

New to Shellac: Spray vs Brush

by Nighttripper
posted 08-27-2012 03:04 PM


40 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4360 posts in 3353 days


#1 posted 08-27-2012 03:07 PM

I’ve done both brush and spray, and find that spraying (for me) is easier. Practice first.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3764 posts in 1886 days


#2 posted 08-27-2012 03:10 PM

Did you consider padding? On pieces that don’t have a lot of details (like moldings, etc.) it may be the easiest. I can spray shellac, and I can pad it (and french polish…which is padding with 5X the work). But put a brush and jar of shellac in my hand and I can ruin a project faster than with any other finish. So, brush if you want…but be sure to practice (a lot) on scraps before you start on your Tea Box. BTW, if you choose to brush, dedicate one to shellac service, adn don’t bother cleaning it after use. Shellac only turns hard, so before the next use put the brush in some DNA for maybe 15 minutes and VIOLA, you are ready to go. (I’m pretty sure there is suppose to be an accent mark in that word somewhere).

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115067 posts in 2970 days


#3 posted 08-27-2012 03:16 PM

I like spraying shellac. It takes some practice. If you have a spray gun you can practice by spray water first on some cardboard. Shellac does come in a rattle can. Make sure you use dewaxed shellac that way if you decide to put another finish over it.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Nighttripper's profile

Nighttripper

41 posts in 1560 days


#4 posted 08-27-2012 03:25 PM

Thanks for the fast responses guys….I guess the verdict is in….spraying it is.

Now just have to hope for good temp/humidity next weekend here in NJ. I really hope to have some great pics to post when finished.

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

1155 posts in 2083 days


#5 posted 08-27-2012 03:36 PM

Spray it! Obviously.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View Mainiac Matt 's profile (online now)

Mainiac Matt

5910 posts in 1721 days


#6 posted 08-27-2012 03:38 PM

Either way you go, just don’t get your coffee cans mixed up and use water to “clean up” your equipment…

or you’ll get a first hand introduction to the great white gum monster.

Don’t ask me how I know this.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View Loren's profile

Loren

8139 posts in 3041 days


#7 posted 08-27-2012 05:05 PM

I would brush or pad it on. Spraying is messy and wastes
finish. If you are already experienced with spray equipment
that could influence your choice though.

Shellac is forgiving actually. French polishing where the
shellac is compressed with friction and pressure using
oil as a lubricant in later coats is a challenging technique
to learn, but you don’t have to do a french polish to
get excellent results with shellac. You can just brush
or wipe it on, sand lightly between coats, and build it
up like most other film finishes.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2735 posts in 1970 days


#8 posted 08-27-2012 05:10 PM

Spray on most projects; wipe on smaller ones.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2893 posts in 1641 days


#9 posted 08-27-2012 05:17 PM

I’m with Loren on this one. I think shellac is one of the most forgiving finishes. Wipe or brush it on and and sand lightly while building it up. I am pretty good with an HVLP gun but try to avoid spraying finish. It makes way too much of a mess.

-- https://pinepointwoodworks.wordpress.com/

View Nighttripper's profile

Nighttripper

41 posts in 1560 days


#10 posted 08-27-2012 06:45 PM

In terms of appearance only (Sheen, Depth, Clarity), and not Protection/Durability or Speed, do you all think that shellac is worth it relative to the ease of say a GF Arm R Seal ??

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4773 posts in 2206 days


#11 posted 08-27-2012 07:12 PM

A really bad spray gun is better than a really good brush.

Get a Woodriver gravity-feed HVLP and spend a Saturday learning to spray. You won’t regret it.
The gun costs $30.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View jmos's profile

jmos

713 posts in 1762 days


#12 posted 08-27-2012 07:20 PM

I’ve had good luck brushing and padding shellac. My shop is in the basement so I really don’t have the option to spray. If I did, I would probably try it, but brushing is a lot less mess and waste.

I found the Gramercy shellac brush work great http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/store/dept/CGT/item/GT-SHEBRU.XX/Gramercy_Tools_Finishing_Brushes_for_Shellac_and_Lacquer

I like the fact you can clean up with ammonia too.

-- John

View dhazelton's profile (online now)

dhazelton

2253 posts in 1689 days


#13 posted 08-27-2012 07:24 PM

Brush. Do you want the piece to look handcrafted or like it came from a factory? Do three coats and when done rub with 0000 steel wool and use pastewax. Shellac dries in minutes depending on how old it is and the humdity, so you can be done in a couple of hours, including the drying time. Clean you brush in alcohol when done.

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2893 posts in 1641 days


#14 posted 08-27-2012 08:17 PM

Nighttripper, I actually get better results brushing shellac than I get with Arm-R-Seal. Me and polyurethane don’t get along well though. For things that get handled a lot, like a box, I hate using poly. It makes the piece feel like plastic to me, not wood. I would use some shellac then maybe spray a coat of lacquer on after, or just simply do what dhazelton said. I generally rub out my finishes with wax applied with 0000 steel wool.

-- https://pinepointwoodworks.wordpress.com/

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14900 posts in 2083 days


#15 posted 08-28-2012 02:04 AM

I always brush my shellac and it results in a great finish, easy to apply, dries fast providing you follow a few rules: I dilute my Zinsser Bullseye shellac 1:1 with denatured alcohol, use a good quality brush, DO NOT OVERBRUSH, sand between coats with 220-400 grit. I use Ammonia cleaner to clean my brushes (Much cheaper than DNA and reusable almost indefinately)

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Alongiron's profile

Alongiron

552 posts in 2086 days


#16 posted 08-28-2012 02:57 AM

I use shellac on all my projects using a $0.49 foam brush from the hardware store. Brush on 2 light coats followed by a light sanding with 1000 grit sandpaper. Apply 1 more coat using the same sandpaper you just used; which makes it like 1500 grit….1 or 2 coats of paste wax and you have a beautiful smooth finish for many years to come.

-- Measure twice and cut once.....Steve Lien

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

7031 posts in 2191 days


#17 posted 08-28-2012 04:59 AM

Learn to french polish. You won’t regret it. The results will blow you away.
It’s not that hard but you can’t learn it from reading about it, you have to be shown.
Enter youtube. There are some great videos that do a very good job of explaining and showing the process.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View Nighttripper's profile

Nighttripper

41 posts in 1560 days


#18 posted 08-28-2012 12:50 PM

Thanks Everyone for the replies!

View Ironman50's profile

Ironman50

39 posts in 1574 days


#19 posted 08-28-2012 02:02 PM

I am comfortable with spraying since Shellac dries up quickly.

View Roadcruzer's profile

Roadcruzer

8 posts in 6 days


#20 posted 09-21-2016 01:16 AM

I am new to this formam and have been reading this post. My question is I am redoing a vintage camper with brand-new birch paneling in it I didn’t really want to brush it as there’s lots of paneling to brush but I’m worried about spring shellac due to the overspray do you think I can spray without getting overspray on everything ? I have did tons of spraying with H VLP sprayers I have a harbor freight sprayer I also have a $300 auto sprayer so I am pretty confident I can lay on a good finish with the exception of the overspray . What do you all think ??

View jwmalone's profile

jwmalone

768 posts in 95 days


#21 posted 09-21-2016 01:31 AM

Brush, and you don’t need a high dollar brush just a good one. No shellac finish in my opinion looks good until you rub it out. Then its beautiful. Plenty of videos on the subject. So if you’re going to rub it out, doesn’t really matter how you get it on there.
gfadvm has good advice, only I don’t cut mine, but look at 10 different nice shellac finishes and you might get 10 response on how they done it? Just follow the basic rules. Nice choice with the poplar, if done correctly its beautiful, the stuff is under rated I think.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View Roadcruzer's profile

Roadcruzer

8 posts in 6 days


#22 posted 09-21-2016 02:05 PM

Thanks a lot for the response when you say rabbit out are you talking like a French polish ? The shellac thing is a brand-new thing for me

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7058 posts in 2307 days


#23 posted 09-21-2016 02:26 PM

Nighttripper,
Many of the folks who advised me ~3yr ago are already in this thread and giving great advice!

Here is what they helped me do when I started shellacking. And yes, it is a learning curve:
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/78752

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View jwmalone's profile

jwmalone

768 posts in 95 days


#24 posted 09-21-2016 03:14 PM


Thanks a lot for the response when you say rabbit out are you talking like a French polish ? The shellac thing is a brand-new thing for me

- Roadcruzer


No sir, not a French polish. Just rub it out with mineral oil and super fine paper.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View Roadcruzer's profile

Roadcruzer

8 posts in 6 days


#25 posted 09-21-2016 04:56 PM

So it sounds like you’re more wet sanding it for the final finish using mineral oil and then wipe off the oil correct ?

View jwmalone's profile

jwmalone

768 posts in 95 days


#26 posted 09-21-2016 05:48 PM

So it sounds like you re more wet sanding it for the final finish using mineral oil and then wipe off the oil correct ?

- Roadcruzer


Yes sir, its a very old school method like I said there are tons of free videos. You use the oil as a lubricant while sanding with your paper to finer and finer degrees, its not hard to remove all the shellac so be care full. The difference between hand rubbed and spayed on finish is striking.
http://www.woodwrecker.com/woodworking/how-to/shellacrubout.shtml

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View ki7hy's profile

ki7hy

316 posts in 132 days


#27 posted 09-21-2016 06:13 PM

I love Shellac. Use it more than anything else. I usually brush it on and then I’ll sand with 600 grit very lightly then do steel wool. I usually use 0000 steel wool but bought 000 last time by mistake and it doesn’t seem to matter much.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1034 posts in 1382 days


#28 posted 09-21-2016 06:42 PM

Combination of spray and pad/French polish. Spray to get enough film thickness, then pad to smooth to a glass finish. Much faster than padding alone.

View Roadcruzer's profile

Roadcruzer

8 posts in 6 days


#29 posted 09-22-2016 12:43 PM

Since I’ve never applied shellac and know it dries real quick I am worried about even wiping it and leaving streaks doing large areas on the paneling. I like your idea of spraying and then sanding but do you think the overspray will be a problem since I am doing an enclosed whole trailer 13 ft . It seems like if I sprayed and got overspray on the other dried areas in there it would send off with hand sanding you think it would work ?
I also want to thank everyone for your comments as I have a ton of work rebuilding this trailer and the last thing I want to do is screw up my finish on the inside !

View jwmalone's profile

jwmalone

768 posts in 95 days


#30 posted 09-22-2016 01:31 PM

Spraying makes a mess.. When you wipe in on it always looks bad until you rub it out,

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View Roadcruzer's profile

Roadcruzer

8 posts in 6 days


#31 posted 09-23-2016 01:03 AM

So if I use bull’s-eye amber shellac out of the can should I thin it more when I’m doing my paneling to wipe on or as far as that goes if I decide to spray ?

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1034 posts in 1382 days


#32 posted 09-23-2016 01:44 AM

Bull’s eye amber is a 3# cut waxed shellac. As long as you don’t plan to top coat with anything else, a waxed shellac is fine. Here is an excellent article on shellac by Jeff Jewitt that should answer all of your questions.

View jwmalone's profile

jwmalone

768 posts in 95 days


#33 posted 09-23-2016 01:47 AM

Well Mr. Cruzer ill give ya my Grandpas advice. Some times a man has to take into consideration the advice of others and his training…. then prime his weapon, lace them boots up tight, cinch up the ole apple sacks and hit the f@#$ing beach. LOL that’s why I keep recommending rubbing it out its fool proof, don’t over analyze it you’ll do a great job I’m sure.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View Roadcruzer's profile

Roadcruzer

8 posts in 6 days


#34 posted 09-23-2016 12:47 PM

You couldn’t of said it much better sir thanks for the advice !

#35 posted 09-23-2016 02:21 PM

I watched a video, where the builder used a brush dipped in a thinner to start. Used 4 coats, then sanded to a smooth finish cleaned the item ( a chess board) then applied 7 coats of lacquer finish then polished with high grit paper from 800 up to 1500 then used a powder…..in the end it looked like a mirror…a lot of hand work time laps on video was about 40 hours of sanding to get the polished finish….....

View Roadcruzer's profile

Roadcruzer

8 posts in 6 days


#36 posted 09-23-2016 04:14 PM

Easy to do on a little chest table but I have a whole trailer to do don’t think that will be my way !

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1562 posts in 3263 days


#37 posted 09-23-2016 05:56 PM

Spraying cures so many ills, it just cant be beat, once you take the time to learn how,

View Roadcruzer's profile

Roadcruzer

8 posts in 6 days


#38 posted 09-23-2016 10:02 PM

I already know how to spray but my concern was spraying in this little box trailer with a few open window holes and doing the walls and ceiling and everything and it drying so quick how much overspray what I have to deal with

View ki7hy's profile

ki7hy

316 posts in 132 days


#39 posted 09-23-2016 10:11 PM

View jwmalone's profile

jwmalone

768 posts in 95 days


#40 posted 09-23-2016 10:17 PM



You could always do this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EalqlDjTnPw

- ki7hy


I’m going to try that one day

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

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