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View HorizontalMike's profile

Instructions thinning canned shellac

by HorizontalMike
posted 624 days ago


27 replies so far

View Lifesaver2000's profile (online now)

Lifesaver2000

501 posts in 1695 days


#1 posted 624 days ago

Are you spraying, brushing, or something else?

For the color, check my project here. It is on oak, not maple, but with multiple coats I would expect the color would come out pretty close to the same.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3318 posts in 2543 days


#2 posted 624 days ago

I usually go with a 1# cut on sealing when using Zinsser Seal Coat. Add 1/2 to 1/2 DNA.
Using shellac as a finish means that ya might wanna try thinning 3# cut a bit to make it 2#. 2 parts shellac to 1 part DNA. Will make it an easier shellac that will flow better.
Amber will give ya a much “warmer” color. Be sure to test on light colored woods before you commit to a final finish ‘cause color is a VERY subjective issue.
Are ya gonna spray or brush?
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6905 posts in 1497 days


#3 posted 624 days ago

I am used to wiping on with a rag Think Minwax Tung Oil Finish. I saw a YouTube where the guy was wiping shellac on with a rag within a rag (pad) and the shellac was really thin. Is thinner/runny better for wiping? If so, how thin? Would I ever go down to a 1# mix?

FWIW, I do not have a spray booth. I do have a sprayer, however, my two times at trying it (deck stain) turned out to be a disaster.

I like that warm color, thanks for the example. 8-)

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

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1609 posts in 1076 days


#4 posted 624 days ago

Padding it will be fairly easy, but I do like a thinner cut to pad. I usually try to stay close to a 1 1/2# cut, others might be able to work with the thicker cut but shellac is intended to be a very thin finish anyway. I’d thin it, probably 50/50 with DNA. Only thin a pint or so, if you get it too thick, you can add more DNA, if it’s too thin add more shellac.

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

View MedicKen's profile

MedicKen

1599 posts in 2045 days


#5 posted 624 days ago

Maybe try different cuts on some scrap first?

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their therapist....medic20447@gmail.com

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6905 posts in 1497 days


#6 posted 624 days ago

And is it possible to use, say a Minwax Tung Oil finish first, and then shellac on top of that? Or am I defeating the purpose of using shellac?

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

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1742 days


#7 posted 624 days ago

Mike:

That can contains a 2# cut. That means its mixed 2 lbs. of flakes to 1 lb. of alcohol. I always do my first washcoats at 1# or thinner, so you’ll want to dilute it again 1:1 with alcohol.

For finishing coats, you normally use 2# or 3# cuts, but nothing says you can’t keep doing thin coats.

As far as padding on, the more solvent, the faster it dries. I find that it’s no easier to pad on if thinner since we are working more against the clock. Remember, this stuff dries fast in Texas. It does go on easier when thin, so you have to find your preference there.

Just work it fast…don’t dally with shellac. Remember that the next coat will melt the previous coat anyway. So be careful not to linger with your pad.

You can add a drop or two of oil (BLO, tung, whatever) to the pad to make gliding the pad easier and to slow down the drying a little bit. This would be French polishing, though you don’t have to do an entire French polish piece just to add a little oil to make life easier sometimes.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2824 posts in 831 days


#8 posted 624 days ago

I’ve been practicing this quite a bit lately (french polish). One tip with the pad. Do not ever let it rest on the piece. Start and end off the piece (think spraying). Don’t ever leave the pad in contact with the surface when it is not moving. I had to sand down and start over a few times because if that mistake

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1219 posts in 766 days


#9 posted 624 days ago

My understanding was that the dewaxed Zinnser SealCoat was 2 lb, and the regular Zinnser shellacs are 3 lb cuts.

I do keep a can of SealCoat around for ease of use. But the beauty of mixing your own shellac from flakes is that you can mix only as much as you need (shellac will go bad over time), you can mix your own cut, and you can fine-tune the tone by combining different colored flakes.

I get my flakes from Luthier’s Mercantile:
http://www.lmii.com/CartTwo/thirdproducts.asp?CategoryName=Finishes&NameProdHeader=Shellac+%26+French+Polishing+Materials

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1742 days


#10 posted 624 days ago

Awh, shucks…thanks Ian. I did a quick glimpse and thought that was Sealcoat. That is indeed a 3# cut.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1742 days


#11 posted 624 days ago

Mike:

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, www.allaboutastro.com

View WhoMe's profile

WhoMe

1057 posts in 1826 days


#12 posted 624 days ago

Mike, +1 on MedicKens suggestion on trying the amber on some scrap. I have used it on Home Depot style plywood and clear pine and after 2 coats it gets pretty orange. In my case, I used a foam brush full strength and it is difficult to get an even coat. Any variation on thickness really shows.
From what I remember, this is 2 coats of Amber and one coat of clear shellac (all full strength)on the Clear pine you get at Home Depot.


The white portions of the photos are white copy/printer paper for a color comparison.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies and the wall gets in the way.. - Mike -

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6905 posts in 1497 days


#13 posted 624 days ago

The chest goes to the bedroom, so no drinks. OK, I’ll just do the shellac in reasonably thin coats. I like the idea of “spiriting it off” at the end.

I looked for the SealCoat at HD, but it looks like they do not carry it.

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

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HorizontalMike

6905 posts in 1497 days


#14 posted 624 days ago

Oh yeah, I have PLENTY of scrap to test with for sure. Will do guys.

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

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2160 days


#15 posted 624 days ago

As you probably know Mike I’m a Charles Neil fan ,he is a full blown finishing expert here are a video he’s done on the subject.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zn2uv3BP358

You should make sure you use the Seal coat (dewaxed) versus the waxed variety. Almost anything will go over dewaxed shellac but some finishes can be affected by shellac with wax still in it.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6905 posts in 1497 days


#16 posted 624 days ago

Thanks Jim. I watched another of Neils “shellac” videos this morning, but missed this one. Just bookmarked it,after watching it of course ;-)

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

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1609 posts in 1076 days


#17 posted 624 days ago

I didn’t see this answered above, but shellac can be applied over the Min wax-Tung Oil finish. The only caution is the the Minwax product has some urethane resins in it, so using a dewaxed shellac would be best (Seal Coat). The wax in shellac and urethane resins can be a problem when putting one on top of the other. That said, I’m not sure why you would want to do so…

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

View Charlie's profile

Charlie

1001 posts in 869 days


#18 posted 624 days ago

I just got through using a lot of shellac on the planks used on our kitchen walls. We were going for a whitewashed pine look. We used white pigmented shellac mixed 50/50 with clear shellac and then thinned that 50/50 with DNA. Big brush and go fast and don’t go back to “fix” anything. If you have a real bad lap mark, wait about half an hour and then rub it with DNA on a lint-free cloth. Takes a little practice, but only a little and it works great. We did 1 coat of that mix with the pigmented shellac, 2 more coats of 50/50 clear and DNA, and then a final coat of straight clear 2#. You don’t want a thick build. If it’s thin it stays somewhat flexible. If you make it too thick it’ll chip. Touchups are a breeze even a couple years later. :)

View Paul Miller's profile

Paul Miller

29 posts in 2036 days


#19 posted 624 days ago

I think cosmicsniper might have meant to say that a 2# cut is 2 lbs shellac in 1 gallon DNA, not 1 lb DNA. That’s how I’ve always understood it.

Paul

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1742 days


#20 posted 624 days ago

Thanks, Paul. That’s precisely what I meant. I was too busy trying to find the pound symbol on my darn iPad, I went ahead and did it twice! Or at least that’s where my mind was.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6905 posts in 1497 days


#21 posted 624 days ago

Thanks Fred but could find Seal Coat at the local HD. Hard to find around without paying WC prices. It looks like I will try just the Amber Shellac only and several coats as instructed above. I’‘ll practice on scrap for sure.

Sure appreciate the help guys,... 8-)

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

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10406 posts in 1273 days


#22 posted 624 days ago

Mike, I use that shellac diluted 1:1 with DNA. The amber shellac was WAY TOO ORANGE for my taste so I use the clear. I tried padding it on like wipe on poly and had a wreck! Subsequent coats seemed to pull up /smear the previous coat so I now brush with a Purdy brush and get along much better. The thinned shellac tends to self level and flatten any brush marks. Keep us posted if you decide to ‘pad’ it on as I obviously was doing something wrong and would like to learn.

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

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1219 posts in 766 days


#23 posted 624 days ago

I can get the Zinnser SealCoat at my local Ace and non-chain home building supply store. I’m sort of surprised HD doesn’t carry it.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View mloy365's profile

mloy365

429 posts in 1713 days


#24 posted 624 days ago

Lots of good info above about shellac. I only spray the stuff, so I can’t be of much help. It is one of the versatile sealers you will ever use. I love using it & I love the results. I am now going to start learning how to tint it. FWW had an article (Shellac’s Amazing Journey in issue 215) that explains how the stuff is made. You may find this a very interesting read.

-- Mike - Northern Upper Michigan

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6905 posts in 1497 days


#25 posted 624 days ago

I just did a search of ACE and came up empty handed…

I also did a SECOND search IN the WC site and found it for under $16… Geez… yesterday I was using one of severa search engines and it was telling my WC had at twenty somthing dollars! Internet Searchs have become next to worthless anymore, especially with companies BUYING placement within a search. IMO, if you do not get the the “search terms” correct or slightly off, you get hyjacked off to never neverland. OK, rant-off….ur…

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

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

1150 posts in 880 days


#26 posted 624 days ago

When the reference ‘3 lb cut’ they mean three pounds of flakes in a GALLON of alcohol – not a pound of alcohol. This site gives some info on what cuts are best for application method:

http://www.shellac.net/faq.html

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6905 posts in 1497 days


#27 posted 623 days ago

Thanks for that clarification. I just need to keep pounding that info in my old brain POUNDs per GALLON.

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

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