shellac problem

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Forum topic by jerseyshore posted 11-02-2009 01:49 AM 2579 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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15 posts in 2874 days

11-02-2009 01:49 AM

I always wanted to try using shellac as a finish, so when I purchased a couple of solid pine doors, I thought what a good opportunity to use shellac. I had planed on using shellac as a sealer because of blotch problems associated w.pine and then I was going to apply a stain to introduce a little color then finish w/ a few more coats of shellac.
To my dismay, I failed to realize that I did not use dewaxed shellac so now my stain is not going to work. what do I do now.
I was thinking adding a tint to the shellac I might be able to get the color that I was looking for.
Any suggestions?

19 replies so far

View pete79's profile


154 posts in 2557 days

#1 posted 11-02-2009 01:54 AM

You can either try trans tint to get the color you like, or try the amber shellac from bulls-eye on a scrap piece of pine and see if that’s the color you’re looking for. I did a couple pine doors in the amber tinted shellac and the color was great – but it obviously depends on what you’re after. Also, if you’re using the amber tinted shellac, make sure to thin it to about a 1lb-2lb cut – it made it a lot easier to use.

-- Life is a one lap race.

View a1Jim's profile


115166 posts in 2994 days

#2 posted 11-02-2009 02:07 AM

I would do a lite sand on the doors with say 180 grit sand paper wipe down with naphtha then with denatured alcohol. Then you should be ready for a surface coat of dewaxed shellac. on the top coat use 3 lb cut and to help control blotch use 1 lb coat some times to coats. It’s always best to try a test coat on scraps first.

-- Custom furniture

View Gatsby1923's profile


39 posts in 2555 days

#3 posted 11-02-2009 02:08 AM

Aniline Dyes can be dissolved in alcohol just like shellac. If you don’t mind mixing some of your own colors might be worth a shot. I have not tried it myself but it “seems” like it would work.

Dave M

-- I don't know where I'm going but I'm on my way!

View jerseyshore's profile


15 posts in 2874 days

#4 posted 11-02-2009 02:09 AM

Thanks, do i add the trans tint and then cut it down, or vice versa?

View a1Jim's profile


115166 posts in 2994 days

#5 posted 11-02-2009 02:14 AM

Dave is right but you need to strain through a paint strainer before you add the tinted alcohol before mixing it in you shellac .trans tint is different than aniline dyes which can be water, alcohol,or oil based

-- Custom furniture

View bench_dogg's profile


63 posts in 2554 days

#6 posted 11-05-2009 06:15 PM

I second the amber shellac suggestion. I use amber shellac on almost everything since discovering it a year or so ago. I think it adds a lot of ‘warmth’ and brings out the grain like nothing else I have found. If I am using it on a lighter wood I usually cut it with some clear at about a 3:1 clear to amber ratio, but that is a matter of taste.

As far as the trans tints go, I usually add it to a pretty heavy cut so I can cut a smaller quantity and put on lighter coats first working my way up to full strength.

View Karson's profile


35032 posts in 3817 days

#7 posted 11-05-2009 06:21 PM

You can add dewaxed shellac on top of the shellac that you have already applied. It will bond and stick.

You can then finish as you had originally planned.

Zinnser sanding sealer is a dewaxed shellac.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View SUPERDOG683's profile


36 posts in 2543 days

#8 posted 11-06-2009 01:46 AM

i would start over like jim mentioned, sand fine grit or alcohol wash.
i spent some time with stains and such. now i am done with stains.
imo stains are out there to mess up the average wood worker. and get him
to buy a dozen products to fix the mess.(imo)
use shellac to color not to seal. you can order several colors of dewax shellac
(shellacshak) use the shellac until you get a color you like.
or use oil, tung is lite, linseed darker. lite sand and try oil varnish to cover.
you cant get every color but you can get most basics, and the shellac
colors the wood even, forget about pore filling,sealing etc etc etc.
dyes are ok but harder to get. if you are good with spray equip. you have other
options. i use walnut dye,oil,shellac. havent used a stain for over a year.
and as always use as many sample boards as needed before you touch the project.
i use 4-10 small sample boards before any import project. color them and cover them.
some times the “clear coat” will affect the color alot. example i just did a 100 yr old
yellow pine mantle. you wouldnt belive how dark the varnish made it. it was pure blond
before the varnish and after it was a deep redish brown.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3516 days

#9 posted 11-06-2009 01:57 AM

I’m all behind a1Jim.

The amber shellac would add a nice color.Keep in mind that pine always gains an amber tint over time on it’s own as well.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View studie's profile


618 posts in 2564 days

#10 posted 11-06-2009 07:51 AM

This is great learning stuff. I use minwax & poly but want to experiment with aniline dyes to make the wood “pop” then what about topcoat that lasts & is tough? “Life is tough,... It’s a lot tougher if yer stupid” (John Wayne)

-- $tudie

View spindle's profile


11 posts in 2589 days

#11 posted 11-06-2009 03:51 PM

+1 on the amber shellac. Really warms up pine. I do 3 light coats of amber, 2 light coats of clear for depth. Wait a few days rub down with 0000 and wax. With a little practice it’s easy to brush or pad it on.


View SUPERDOG683's profile


36 posts in 2543 days

#12 posted 11-17-2009 05:12 PM

note to studie i am sure many like poly but i dont.
i think we will find poly is too hard and will crack over time
10 yrs from now alot of guys will regret using it
and its a bitch to strip it.
try using oil base varnish with a little bit of tung oil.
spar varnish has too much oil(imo) its flexable but a little soft.
by mixing it your self you can give the varnish just a little flexibility and still hard
a fairly hard finish. whats the perfect ratio??? thats something i am playing with and might
not know for a couple yrs until i see how some projects wear over time.
but 1 part tung/10 parts varnish, 1 part mineral spirits or gum turpintine
is a start. for trim and door jams i am using 1part tung/1part ms/6 part varnish

View End_Grain's profile


95 posts in 2554 days

#13 posted 11-17-2009 09:49 PM

Sure am glad I took the time to read this thread! I am building my workbench and I know generally workbenches don’t get a cabinet grade finish but what better project to experiment with finishes on in preparation for a kitchen cabinet remake. I looked at that can of stain I bought and said, Nope, not going to use it. Took it back to HD and brought back some amber shellac. I love that stuff!! It makes the wood gorgeous at least to me, now I have to see if the boss likes it on oak. Thanks for all the info in this thread.


-- My greatest fear is that when I die, my wife will sell all my stuff for what I told her I bought it for.

View FatScratch's profile


189 posts in 2719 days

#14 posted 11-17-2009 10:09 PM

I am a huge fan of amber shellac. I took a class at Woodcraft on finishing and the instructor tried to show the simplest/foolproof finishing methods, those that have stood the test of time and are repairable. Shellac was heavily featured and after using it a few times I have found it addictive. Other finishes definitely have their place for certain uses, but I almost always turn to shellac now. It is so easy to work and works successfully with so many other finishing products.

View SUPERDOG683's profile


36 posts in 2543 days

#15 posted 11-28-2009 07:49 PM

end grain, your post reminds me of i great work bench tip i have

wood pallets are usually made from low grade hard woods. you can

take the free wood from a few pallets and join the pieces just like when making a buthcer block

counter. they can be all sizes and wide. just so you have one flat side. you can glue and clamp.

or drill a few holes and use threaded rods and glue. use it for the top on a work bench

run a hand planner or belt sander over it then use oil finish.

it fast easy and almost no cost.

and the thick hardwood lasts a long long time.

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