Finish question

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Forum topic by NikBrown posted 12-23-2009 09:33 PM 934 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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49 posts in 3280 days

12-23-2009 09:33 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing sanding wax shellac

I see lots of posts about varnish and lacquer on one end and just BLO on the other end. Over the last year of learning to do some woodworking I’ve kind of developed a goto finish technique. I started using this for the handles of refinished planes and decided I liked the look.

Anyway I wanted to see if you guys could see any down sides to what I’m doing. I just finished my stack of Christmas boxes with it so I hope it’s ok.

1. Hand plane everything smooth or sand to 220.
2. Apply BLO or Watco Danish Oil and wait a day or 2 for it to cure
3. Apply 2-3 coats of blond Shellac (2LBS cut)
4. Apply a very thin coat of furniture paste wax with 0000 steel wool
5. Buff out the wax.

This process seems to leave me with a satin sheen that’s fairly close to the wood and is fairly fool proof to apply. The down side is it takes 2-3 days to do it. Can anyone see any other down side to this method. I can’t seem to find any record online of a similar process.

This really came about because I suck at finish application and the only part of this that can possibly be screwed up is the shellac, and you can always undo that with a bit more denatured etoh.

It’s certainly not durable enough for a high use table top… but for little things like boxes or plant stands (the 2 things I’ve really used it on) and other items that wont have a lot of interaction… it seems perfect.

Excuse the nubie woodworker if this is a stupid question or if I’m completely missing something.

-- - Where woodworking and technology somehow get along.

2 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3997 days

#1 posted 12-23-2009 11:50 PM

Nik, I do not see anything wrong with this finish routine for the application that you are describing. As long as you recognize that the piece will have limited protection from surface abrasion or chemicals such as water or alcohol this routine will work well. For boxes you should not run into any problems and, as you said, using shellac as a top coat has a big advantage with regard to repair should it be necessary. But the shellac, especially if you are applying 3 coats, will provide pretty good surface protection.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3700 days

#2 posted 12-24-2009 05:53 AM

I use that finish on most of my projects. If the top will be used a lot I tend to use lacquer after the blo and then finish the rest of the piece the same way as you stated.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

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