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Shellac as final finish?

by ScottinTexas
posted 546 days ago


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78 replies

78 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

7230 posts in 2246 days


#1 posted 546 days ago

Shellac works great as a final finish in most applications.

French polish is easily misunderstood.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1643 posts in 1091 days


#2 posted 546 days ago

Shellac really isn’t give it’s due as a final finish, IMHO. In a lot of uses, it works just fine…..and that’s true in your case.

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

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6914 posts in 1512 days


#3 posted 546 days ago

I just started MY first project with a shellac finish, just yesterday. The first thing I see is that the application process is much quicker/faster. I am learning as I go. I have some streaks I will have to deal with. Will be trying to sand (320grit) with multiple coats.

How does using denatured alcohol work on smoothing the finish, once applied? Tips?

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

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1756 days


#4 posted 546 days ago

Shellac it and be done.

BTW, no, wipe-on poly and Watco Danish oil are different things. The Watco is a drying oil which really doesn’t build up into a film finish, and thus provides little protection in that regard. Wipe-on poly is regular oil-based poly, merely thinned enough to make wiping on a lot easier and less problematic.

There is some truth that Watco, and other Danish oils, have resin varnishes mixed in, but again the level varies from make to make, and the ability to build up a hard film coating isn’t a strong suit with any such Danish oils…it’s just not practical. Many make their own concoctions with a lot of success, on ratios of solvent, varnish, and oil to whatever prescription is preferred.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1643 posts in 1091 days


#5 posted 545 days ago

Mike, I’ve never been able to brush shellac and get it to come out smooth….and using a pad soaked in DNA will redissolve the coat and allow you to smooth it out. The pad should be a piece of lintless cloth (old T shirt will work fine, though the purists will suggest linen) stuffed with a pad, wool works best. Twist the cloth tight around your pad, and charge it with DNA. This is also the way I usually apply shellac, at least on smooth surfaces…doesn’t work too well around moldings/nocks and crannies, etc. My only other alternative is to spray it, it sprays quite well.

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

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1756 days


#6 posted 545 days ago

@Mike – Streaks or brush strokes? If brush strokes, then thin it a little more before application. Same thing with streaks when padding it…get it thinner. Other problems, like blushing, can also happen whereas the DNA might be old or contaminated with water OR it might be flashing off too quickly OR have a contaminate on the surface OR too much moisture on the wood. Regardless, whatever the issue, additional, better applied coats should eliminate the problem OR wiping it back with some DNA. When you wipe it back, stop at the point where you feel the surface tug at you…at that point, the stickiness will screw things up. When padding, whether with adding shellac or wiping it back, a few drops of mineral oil (it’s clear) will lubricate it for you. I typically just use a make-up sponge and work it quickly before the shellac gets sticky.

Regardless, using a fine cloth or sponge in conjunction with DNA should smooth things out pretty well, but I normally will use a fine 3M pad after every other coat (or so) when I feel there is something I need to level or smooth. When my shellac is tinted with dye, there can be little drips and runs that become somewhat obvious and I rub them back in that way.

But avoid doing too much at once. Work quickly and resist the temptation to put a ton of shellac on it in one session. Cover everything, and then stop. Wait to dry, then repeat. In our climate, it will often be ready for a new coat in 5 or 10 minutes anyway.

Oh, BTW, I normally spray shellac…the only time I wipe is when tinting it with a dye and needing to control where it goes…or when I have something else in the spray gun and am too lazy to switch it out. :)

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1756 days


#7 posted 545 days ago

BTW, really pretty dartboard cabinet, Scott. Love the inlay!

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6914 posts in 1512 days


#8 posted 545 days ago

Jay,
Thanks for the info. I am on my 3rd coat this morning. Lightly sanded w/320-grit before 3rd. I am finding out just how quickly I do have to work… tough to not have drips around corners of chest and have had to use DA to rub down those areas an re-do. FYI, I am brushing on with a 2in brush. I keep an open container of DA next to the shellac/DA mix container. I am mixing 50/50 of the zinsser shellac and DA, what ever ratio that makes?

Over all with this being my first ‘shellacing’, NOT counting all LJs forum threads of course ;-), I am actually enjoying the experience. I would much rather smell the DA than all of the petroleum based solvents.

QUESTIONs:
  • Since I am brushing the shellac, just how much sheen can I expect? And when should I stop and call it done?
  • Can or should I use Johnson’s Paste Wax over this finish? Or leave it “shellac only” for future repair finishing down the road?
  • After my final coat, can or should I brush/polish lightly with #0000 steel wool? From what I am hearing above it may be too hard to keep from streaking when using a brush?

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

View MarkwithaK's profile

MarkwithaK

370 posts in 1776 days


#9 posted 545 days ago

I love using shellac as a final finish. Very forgiving and after a few coats I think it gives the wood a certain depth that I have yet to be able to get with poly. I will even do a couple coats of shellac and then follow that up with a few coats of wipe-on poly. I get that depth from the shellac and the protection from the poly.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2175 days


#10 posted 545 days ago

Shellac is a quick and easy finish that comes in a variety of shades plus it can be touched up easily ,it can be used on many projects, but IMO it’s not the appropriate finish for table tops and large projects because it does not afford good protection from water infiltration and it’s softer than many other top coats. Of all of the older finishes it’s the most versatile and still has many uses in modern finishing ,beside being easy to apply it can be used as a wood conditioner(although there are more effect wood conditioners),it can be used to seal one type of finish so another can be applied over non-compatible finishes because almost all other finishes will adhere to it and as a top coat .

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1756 days


#11 posted 545 days ago

@Mike

I think some people should be reminded of what high gloss really looks like. Brush on a shellac final coat and it WILL be glossy…but high gloss is kinda in the eye of the beholder. From there, any 0000 after the finish will rub out to lower sheens, so if you want super gloss, you have to buff it out to higher grits or polishing compounds. But a lot of the gloss can be achieved simply by spraying the final coat or using a fine cloth to “spirit off” the final coat.

If you want super high clarity in the finish, there is a certain amount of care you need to take early on in the process (think about the figure of a telescope mirror vs. the coatings themselves). This is because its not necessarily true that the more recent coat will melt into ALL the coats below it. So if the first coat had some issues, you need to take care of those issues because they might not be entirely fixed by the time you apply the 10th coat. In other words, shellac is great for its general friendliness and self-leveling capabilities, but for a true piano finish, there’s a reason why the French Polish technique is so tediously and rigidly followed. Clarify and sheen are simply two completely different things. I think this is what guys like Clint are trying to argue when they opine that sheen matters early on in the process whereas I would say that sheen is determined only by the final coat. For example, spray a cow turd with shellac and it will glisten in the sunlight. Rub it out with 0000 steel wool and it will be a well protected, satiny cow turd.

As far as paste wax, I use that for feel, which I think is as important in a project as looks. There’s just a different feeling of a shellac, poly, or lacquer finish and one that has wax on it. I don’t think it’s that big of deal to remove it…usually with mineral spirits or turpentine. If repair is ever needed, you would just remove the wax from the area to be repaired and then touch up that area. That’s the great part about shellac…you don’t have to strip the entire project, just touch up the part that needs it.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3268 posts in 1411 days


#12 posted 545 days ago

I have used 1# cut seal coat shellac, and full 2#cut shellac as final finish. One or two coats sprayed on makes a great finish where water or chemicals are not a factor.
Wax is optional.

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

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stevenmadden

174 posts in 1687 days


#13 posted 545 days ago

ScottinTexas: I just finished an armoire using a similar technique. The finish I used was a 1 pound cut blonde dewaxed shellac that was sprayed on; one coat on the entire piece and three coats on the internal components. The outside was then finished with General Finishes Arm-R-Seal oil and urethane topcoat; two coats gloss and one coat semi-gloss. I think it turned out great, and I did not have any problems adding the oil over the shellac. I hope this helps, good luck with your project.

Steven

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1756 days


#14 posted 545 days ago

BTW, Mark says that he can’t get the depth with poly that he can with shellac. I believe this is because a lot can go wrong with the clarity in a finishing coat during the time it takes poly to dry vs. the time is takes shellac to dry. Plus, because there’s no burn-in characteristic with varnish, subsequent coats just produce less and less clarity compared to shellac…hence, the reason why French polish is done with shellac.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1756 days


#15 posted 545 days ago

Steven – I do that too because of the durability of those finishes and superior protection against abrasions and abuse for high use surfaces…like tables. But I still use shellac early for washcoating, grain popping, and compatibility issues between coats. I also use it for color delivery with dyes. Whereas you could use dyes or stains in a varnish or lacquer with similar effect, dewaxed shellac is a lot less expensive.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

4840 posts in 1396 days


#16 posted 545 days ago

I’m a big fan of French polishing… and you can take it as far as you want for gloss. You don’t have to take it to a high gloss. The process just gets the shellac on the work very nicely and easily once you get the hang of it.
Personally, I like the gloss.

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

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6914 posts in 1512 days


#17 posted 545 days ago

I hate to plead ignorance, but I have not looked up “French Polishing” to even know to what you all are referring. I picked shellac for a finish because I wanted to learn about it, and to experience it. I have no prior knowledge of this finish, so please do not assume even a basic knowledge on my part. THIS project IS my learning experience.

FWIW, while I do have a spray unit and ‘air’ to power it, the only time I used it (on a deck project) I screwed up the air/paint/stain mixtures that I wasted more than I applied. Not a good experience. NOT ready to spray until I learn some very basic things about spraying stains and paints. this project WILL be brushed, so please help me do as well as possible with brushing, NOT something I am not ready to use… Please.

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

View ScottinTexas's profile

ScottinTexas

108 posts in 546 days


#18 posted 545 days ago

Thank you all for the input! I have a lot more confidence going forward, now. I will try to photograph the progress with some more close-up photos and details about the steps I use though I suspect it may be hard for a photo to capture the quality of finish. Although I am partly winging it, I also have some exposure to this. I used to work in an antique shop as a kid. I worked on metal things, mostly. But IIRC the finish they did on small boxes was shellac and wax.

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ScottinTexas

108 posts in 546 days


#19 posted 545 days ago

HorizontalMike – I only discovered the term “French Polish” (I guess that would be different than “French-Polish” :-) ) in the last few days but I think conjuring up the image of a finish one typically finds on a guitar or piano sums it up. I always thought that was more of a laquer. French Polish is the technique like Filet Mignon is not the cut of meat but one method of cooking beef tenderloin. It seems to involve a rag with oil in it – not what I’m going after.

As for your question about steel wool, they usually applied the wax with #0000 steel wool at that shop I was working in so that is what I plan to do. Then buff with a cloth.

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ScottinTexas

108 posts in 546 days


#20 posted 545 days ago

Cosmicsniper – thanks. I used a 1/4 inch straight bit, a plunge router, straight-edge, clamps, and calipers (to measure the distance from the straight edge to the line I was cutting to.) I will elaborate on the whole project elsewhere in the future. I learned a lot doing all this – including how to cut thin strips for the inlay.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10557 posts in 1288 days


#21 posted 545 days ago

Mike- Brush marks are usually the result of overbrushing or shellac not thinned enough. It gets tacky quick as you know and you don’t want to be brushing after it begins to thicken. I trust the shellac to level itself when properly thinned rather than trying to ‘brush it out’ I use Purdy brushes and really get along well with them. I like to apply Renissance wax with a white (more gloss) or grey (less gloss) Scotch pad. Sanding after a couple of coats with 320, then 400 after the 4th, with wax after that cures. I love shellac and am just trying my first French polish after a lot of coaching from Blackcherry. His finish is amazing on the last box he posted.

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

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6914 posts in 1512 days


#22 posted 545 days ago

I sure appreciate the advice guys, and I am sorry if I hijacked your thread Scott. I am sure glad you brought up the topic of finishing with shellac.

BTW, I am pleased with just how easy this stuff sands between coats. Will try to finish this this project up Sunday but gotta’ take a break and go Harley riding Saturday with some buddies. I have JUST finished up the (Nov 30th) crash repairs to the bike earlier this week, and am itching to get it back on the road 8-).

Below is the Wood Magazine image of my current project. Those long sides are presenting a challenge to get coated quickly.

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

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1643 posts in 1091 days


#23 posted 545 days ago

French polishing is a lot of work, and often confused with padding. But if you stick it out, it’s a nice finish. I built these tables as a French Polish learning exercise. The center is bubinga with a curly maple frame. The oil that was mentioned is simply to lube the pad while you spend (a lot of) time “bodying” the shellac.

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

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

936 posts in 1991 days


#24 posted 545 days ago

French polishing. there are several articles online about this kind of finish, luthiermakers use it extensively.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6914 posts in 1512 days


#25 posted 544 days ago

Great looking table tops Fred! Wow!

Techniques Questions for ALL:
  • Since I am brushing shellac on, I have been only brushing strokes WITH the grain of the wood as best possible. Should I be mixing this up with additional coats with brush strokes at different angles?
  • I am also working while I have 100% humidity (foggy as all get out at the moment). My thoughts are that this is helping slow the evaporation rate of the DA, correct?

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

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

4745 posts in 1175 days


#26 posted 544 days ago

With the grain.

Others may have a different opinion on this though.

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1756 days


#27 posted 544 days ago

If you see brush strokes, then it’s too thick. So, if you can’t see the strokes, it really doesn’t matter the direction of the stroke. I go with the grain because its habit, but more importantly it prevents me from beginning a stroke in the middle of the work where I might glob on too much finish.

Fast, long strokes are always better, unless you are using the French polish technique, which is completely different.

And get a big bag of makeup sponges…you’ll love the way they work for shellac. They should be on the same aisle as the female hygiene products. ;)

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View ScottinTexas's profile

ScottinTexas

108 posts in 546 days


#28 posted 544 days ago

HorizontalMike – I agree with others. Ideally, shellac should just flow on with minimal brushing. If possible, one brushstroke. In reality you can work it a bit but the alcohol flashes off quickly. You should never feel it grabbing the brush. That is why some say spraying is a better route. But I’ve brushed it many times and like it. And shellac is not good to apply when it is very humid, often it gets foggy when drying. But I think it just goes away on its own.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1643 posts in 1091 days


#29 posted 544 days ago

Blushing can be a real problem with high humidity (with lacquer as well). The shellac can “set” before the trapped moisture evaporates, giving you the blush. It may go away on it’s own, or you might have to go back over it with the pad and alcohol.

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

View ScottinTexas's profile

ScottinTexas

108 posts in 546 days


#30 posted 544 days ago

HorizontalMike – I like that project you are working on. I can see what you are saying about the long sides. Is it assembled or is this pre-assembly? Are you applying it with the side horizontal or vertical? To me, I like something in between. Tilt the piece maybe 30 degrees and start delivering the shellac at the top edge but all across (you can do a cross grain stroke and quickly follow up with with-grain strokes.) Some of it will run ahead so just “go with it” and spread the eccess but don’t wait too long to load up your brush some more. At this stage gravity works with you and runs are ok. Keep working so that the “drying front” is moving down the length of the piece and can overlap the areas ahead of the front between loading up the brush. I hope that makes sense. I guess what I’m tying to say is that this would work better than if you were to try to cover a brush-width area all the way down the piece lenghtwise and then tried to start back at the beginning like you are making long “rows.”

At least, that is what I do.

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ScottinTexas

108 posts in 546 days


#31 posted 544 days ago

Fred Hargis – those tables are beautiful!

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1756 days


#32 posted 544 days ago

Mike:

Its really about attitude when working shellac. An example from last night…

I’m doing a fast refinish on an outdoor metal/wood bench. The slats of the bench are oak and when I drum sanded them back, I discovered that one board was a replacement board from the previous owner, much different from the others. No big deal…I wiped on a stain to get that board close and then tinted some shellac and padded it on all boards just to get some shellac down before spraying it and to get the color between the boards more even.

The eight slats are 4 feet long, 3 inches wide, by maybe 5/8 inches thick. Using a makeup sponge, it took no more than 2 minutes to coat one side of ALL the boards with a layer of shellac. You just FIRE away, quickly; don’t linger. After the two minutes is over, the first board is pretty much dry to the touch. 5 minutes later, I drug some sandpaper over it just to smooth it a bit (taking 30 seconds to do so), blew it off a little bit, and then FIRED away with another coat of the shellac.

The boards are now quite even and I’ll spray them today with some spar varnish, weather permitting.

This isn’t an oil painting. Shellac should flow on fast with very little problem…an attitude of trust usually develops with it where you can just fire it on and it’ll do what you expect.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6914 posts in 1512 days


#33 posted 544 days ago

Well, I am beginning to think I set myself up for a bigger challenge. Choosing the ‘Amber’ shellac is now giving me fits because of the streaking and uneven brushing application. I am going to let these 2-3 coats dry longer much longer and probably hit it up with some 320 or #0000. Thoughts?

I have even tried using some of that HIGH SIERRA alcohol. That seemed to help as the streaking was much LESS noticeable to me, after that. ;-)

Drawer faces are looking fine. Just wish I could do as well on the rest..

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

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1756 days


#34 posted 544 days ago

Yum, Sierra Nevada Pale.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1756 days


#35 posted 544 days ago

Mike…use some of those Scott shop towels, saturate them in DNA, and start wiping. Shellac comes off PDQ and lightly working trouble areas will ease the bad parts off and will kinda self-feather into the good parts, if that makes sense. You will find that that you will be able to wipe back the objectionable areas and then rebuild those areas. It’s a little trickier with the amber shellac than clear, but you said you wanted some practice, so here ya go!

But after you have the surface uniformly wet enough, with poorly colored areas removed, you will see that wiping the wet rag with DNA on it will start to act a bit like you are brushing it in the first place. This is because you’ll have dissolved the existing shellac to the point where you can brush it around again.

I think it bears remembering that if you don’t like the look after a coat, you are better wiping or sanding back than to add another coat. Play with it. You will get a feeling for it after a while. At that point, it becomes pretty intuitive.

I would be diluting that shellac around 1.5 parts DNA to one part Amber shellac. That will provide the flow off the brush you’ll want, the 1# cut equivalent of the Sealcoat/DNA mixture that I like wipe-on. It’s also the mixture I like to spray. In the least, use more DNA than shellac.

BTW, they still had some Sierra Nevada Celebration on the shelf, so I’m enjoying some right now.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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HorizontalMike

6914 posts in 1512 days


#36 posted 544 days ago

OK Jay, you will appreciate this… My shellac painting pan is an empty catfood can hijacked from the recycling bin. 8-)

Anyway, I figured out that I aa…yem TOoo… SLOooo…w. So this last round, I started pouring my 50/50 shellac from the cat can and brushing like hell. By golly it DID help the looks of the side. At least the sides are kind of a bathtub within a frame. It does look better. The top still has it challenges. The nooks and crannies are giving hell. I have to go back with DA and wipe all the solidified drip marks away and start over.

Even as tedious as this process is, I do have to say that it is a pleasure to be working with a less toxic and more forgiving finish.

Scott: ”... Ideally, shellac should just flow on with minimal brushing. If possible, one brushstroke. ...”

Thanks Scott. That statement struck home and has changed my game plan. 8-)

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

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Jorge G.

1524 posts in 1073 days


#37 posted 544 days ago

Mike in my opinion you should have gone with the pad instead of brushing. I did this with the pad. It is much easier. Cosmisniper has given you good advise. This is the good thing about shellac, you can undo it really easy.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6914 posts in 1512 days


#38 posted 544 days ago

Thanks Jay. I’m using those ‘blue’ shop towels they sell at HD. Not very cheap but a nice strong and tight fibered towel. I even use them to apply my wipe on varnishes and they work well. I have wiped back some, but am tending to just add heavier coats, though in doing so all thins out and I end up with a newer coat. Yup, much practice for sure… ;-)

BTW, it’s Sierra ‘Ruthless Rye’ for me at the moment. 8-P

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

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HorizontalMike

6914 posts in 1512 days


#39 posted 544 days ago

Jorge, I can see an advantage of the pad. I am just stuck with the brush for now, but will probably hijack some old cotton athletic socks for the cause, when I begin the polishing phase… if that sounds right.

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

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1524 posts in 1073 days


#40 posted 544 days ago

Itis not too late, as Cosmicsniper posted you can undo the streaking and continue with the pad. In french polishing it is recommended you put a wool cloth inside the cotton outer layer. The wool acts as a wick and releases the shellac more evenly. But I have read where people put cotton inside cotton…. give it a try on the bottom of one of your drawers and se how that works.

Nice chest BTW.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

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ScottinTexas

108 posts in 546 days


#41 posted 544 days ago

Jorge, I actually applied shellac to a test piece using a rag because I didn’t want to waste or clean a brush. It works just fine for what I was doing which was more of a thin seal-coat.

I also wonder if there is some big differece between the dewaxed and the “regular” stuff as far as applying goes. I’m using dewaxed because the orginal plan was to come back with some oil-based stuff. I was planning on switching to regular amber which does not say “de-waxed.”

MIKE: I think using orange/amber shellac on a light wood such as yours is more of a challenge to prevent streaks showing up. It does give a nice hue, though. My project is darker so I will give it a try, still..

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1524 posts in 1073 days


#42 posted 544 days ago

Scott I am not an expert on french polish. I have read that the waxed shellac seems to get a greater shine than the dewaxed, but I have never tried it. I only use waxed shellac.

Like you I use it a lot for sealing before staining, and for that it does not matter how you apply it IMO. I have sprayed it, brush it, used a rag, they all seem to work. I tried the french polish method just for kicks and while time consuming ( a lot of sanding in between) it is fairly straigh forward.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6914 posts in 1512 days


#43 posted 544 days ago

Well, I just came back from another round of coating. I decided to try one of my folded paper shop towels as my rag, and I have to say that I am impressed. No streaks at all if you don’t tarry too long, if you do then some streaking pops up. I have NOT stripped all the way back to eliminate existing streaks, so some continue to exist though with my ‘now’ more generous application of shellac I am gaining ground 8-). IMO, the nice part about Maple is that the natural iridescence of this species shows several contrasting areas that mimic some streaks, so I got lucky that way. BTW, much more shellac on all pieces now 8-).

I am thinking that I may have enough shellac applied to start sanding with 600-grit to see just how well I have it covered. If it looks really smooth, I may try the French polishing technique, though I was wondering what would be wrong with waxing with #0000 and JPW?

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

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shampeon

1275 posts in 781 days


#44 posted 544 days ago

Scott: the major difference between waxed and dewaxed come with top coats. You want dewaxed shellac if you’re top-coating with a different finish, particularly water-borne finishes. If you’re just sticking with shellac all the way through you’re fine with either.

I use dewaxed flakes I mix up fresh, whenever I have the choice, but the Bullseye SealCoat premixed shellac is good stuff.

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

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1756 days


#45 posted 544 days ago

You are doing good, Mike. This is exactly how you learn with this stuff. It’s not like poly where if you screw it up you are stripping or sanding everything and starting over. After a short while, you’ll be a pro with shellac.

Regarding waxed vs. dewaxed, the amber bullseye only has perhaps 5% of its volume as wax. This is easily removed if you let the wax settle for a while at the bottom of the can and are careful about taking shellac off the top…so even the waxed stuff can be mostly used dewaxed. This is true even with flakes. But I haven’t used much waxed shellac at all, and certainly not recently. I dont recall there ever being much of a difference in the way it handled…I was too busy diluting it down to keep it from sticking all over everything. I suspect that people like the wax to serve as a lubricant during application, but I just don’t see much reason for using waxed shellac at all. I’d dewax it first unless it WAS going to be my top-coat finish. If I needed a lubricant, I’d dab some oil on the pad.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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ScottinTexas

108 posts in 546 days


#46 posted 544 days ago

shampeon – Thanks for the info. That is what I suspected.

I have seen the flakes before and they are tempting but they are nearly $50 at Woodcraft. They would last a long time if kept dry, though.

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ScottinTexas

108 posts in 546 days


#47 posted 544 days ago

Cosmicsniper – AH, good tip about the wax settling. I wonder if temperature could be an aid in separating them if you really wanted to. Chill the shellac and then strain it?

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shampeon

1275 posts in 781 days


#48 posted 544 days ago

Scott: flakes are a lot less at other places. I buy mine from Luthier’s Mercantile. $13 for 8 ozs in a variety of colors.

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

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ScottinTexas

108 posts in 546 days


#49 posted 544 days ago

shampeon – thanks, I might get some to try.

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Paul Miller

29 posts in 2051 days


#50 posted 544 days ago

I tried brushing and padding with poor results. After practicing about 10-15 minutes with a $20 HVLP gun from HF, I can put on a finish with no streaks or globs. I spray on the first two coats about 30 minutes apart, then wait until the next day to sand. I can then put on another 3 or 4 coats about 30-60 minutes apart. I haven’t tried waxing and buffing yet….someday soon.

Paul

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