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Shellac on coffee table

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Forum topic by Plain posted 07-11-2016 06:00 PM 489 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Plain

157 posts in 160 days


07-11-2016 06:00 PM

I finished a sofa table and applied many coats of shellac at what wanted to be french finish. I made some mess when applying dye over hard maple, but many like it this way saying is gives it old look. The sofa table surface is not intended for heavy use, so I think the shellac topcoat will be OK. I actually like it much better than professionally ( read fast ) sprayed polyurethane on built in furniture my house came with.

Now a coffee table is finished and the same finish is applied to all surfaces but the table top. The coffee table will most likely be used for infrequent card and domino games, hold some magazines, and a cup of coffee from time to time, again not frequent and probably the cup will never touch the surface directly , we are careful with our stuff.
Still the coffee table surface is subject to more uses than the sofa table. Should I switch to polyurethane ( I have a jar of General finishes ArmRSeal oil urethane) in this scenario or stick with shellac. As I noted the table already is covered by shellac everywhere but the top.


11 replies so far

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1771 days


#1 posted 07-11-2016 06:09 PM

All’s well that end well. Looks good from here.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View todd4390's profile

todd4390

130 posts in 929 days


#2 posted 07-11-2016 06:28 PM

Yes. I finished a coffee table that is getting more use than I thought it would and shellac does not hold up well to cups, glasses, etc. being set on it. I’m going to have to refinish my table when I get the mood to do it.

View Plain's profile

Plain

157 posts in 160 days


#3 posted 07-11-2016 06:32 PM

Thanks todd. So +1 to polyurethane.
By the way I guess in your case you can just quickly wipe the table over shellac with several coats of some other topcoat when you are finishing some other piece.

View Juggler's profile

Juggler

19 posts in 147 days


#4 posted 07-11-2016 06:39 PM

I totally agree with Plain. The shellac is great in your case as a basecoat. You will find that the hot coffee cup will ruin the finish if you stop as shellac being the top coat. Put some lacquer on top of that shellac to give yourself longer protection. Also, lacquer usually adheres well to both waxed and de-waxed shellac. So, I feel like it is a great top coat finish for shellac. I used it that way on a desk and it looks great and has held up to abuse.

-- DJB

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3932 posts in 1955 days


#5 posted 07-11-2016 07:24 PM

I’ve used shellac as the only finish one some end tables, and it hasn’t held up well at all (no sweat, easy to repair). Given that I’m pretty backwoods with the coffee table (feet on it, shoes and all, most of the time) there’s no way shellac would deal with that along with all the other mistreatment it gets. The shellac will be a good basecoat, but I’d top it with a good oil based varnish, or possibly a good waterborne finish. I intend to do that to my end tables as well, once I repair the damage to the shellac.

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

View gargey's profile

gargey

457 posts in 237 days


#6 posted 07-11-2016 07:41 PM

taco cat spelled backwards is taco cat.

View Plain's profile

Plain

157 posts in 160 days


#7 posted 07-11-2016 09:04 PM


taco cat spelled backwards is taco cat.
- gargey

It is almost as good as

No lemon, no melon

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

688 posts in 1260 days


#8 posted 07-11-2016 10:21 PM

Are you using shellac from the can?If so buy some fresh shellac button lac is very hard and durable.Its not hard to refresh if you want it to look nice on a holiday.
We all know real cheese doesn’t come in a can same goes for shellac.

View Richard's profile

Richard

1898 posts in 2152 days


#9 posted 07-11-2016 10:45 PM

Lacquer or Poly over the shellac on the top of the table but you can go with a Simi Gloss if you don’t want the ultra glossy look. The shellac looks good but it won’t hold up to a lot of abuse that the coffee table will most likely get no matter how careful you are with it. Do you have Kids in the house , if so put the top coat on it sooner than later. :)

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2324 posts in 1758 days


#10 posted 07-11-2016 11:17 PM

Do you want it to look new forever? I’d rather have shellac for a look that takes on some patina. When plyourethane or other hard finishes get scratched they look awful – I’d rather touch up with more shellac or just paste wax.

View Plain's profile

Plain

157 posts in 160 days


#11 posted 07-11-2016 11:57 PM



Do you want it to look new forever? I d rather have shellac for a look that takes on some patina. When plyourethane or other hard finishes get scratched they look awful – I d rather touch up with more shellac or just paste wax.

- dhazelton


That is what I thought about too. I saw recently a rather nice shellac side table all scratched up. It did not make it bad just gave it very retro look.
However a ring from a glass is a completely different thing. I am not sure I want to return to the project I already finished to refinish it even if it is easy to do. And by the way once you apply wax you are on the hook forever.
If you have a number of furniture items in the house done that way it might become a considerable chore to refresh them once in a while.

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