finishing question

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Forum topic by rusticandy posted 06-29-2010 04:59 AM 775 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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109 posts in 2621 days

06-29-2010 04:59 AM

Hello all,

I have a finisihng question. To what extent does shellac make figured wood pop?? Does it accentuate the grain before spraying with water based????

Thanks in advance for your experience and thoughtful answers!!!!

-- rustic andy

4 replies so far

View michelletwo's profile


2465 posts in 2107 days

#1 posted 06-29-2010 01:51 PM

Hi Andy: I have used shellac as an “eye-popper” for years. Today folks have found aniline dyes and do the same thing. I like to just use shellac , as I don’t use stains on anything. I think white shellac or the next step darker is my preference. Go to my gallery here on LJ’s and look at my furniture and you will see what happens to the curly maple with just shellac. Looks more natural to me. Good luck with your project.

View CaptainSkully's profile


1246 posts in 2649 days

#2 posted 06-29-2010 03:40 PM

Not only is amber shellac an important ingredient in my finishing recipe to make the quartersawn white oak medullary ray flake pop, it adds an important layer of depth and warmth to the finish that you can’t get out of a single application finish like a Minwax oil. It also is a sealer to separate layers that may have compatibility issues. The only drawback to shellac is that because it’s alcohol based, it dries very quickly and can tack up before you can tip it off.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View swirt's profile


1994 posts in 2063 days

#3 posted 06-29-2010 04:16 PM

You might find this post from the VillageCarpenter (Kari Hultman) helpful. She did a nice comparison with various combinations of shellac and oil.
The nice part is the photostudy where she photographed the same piece of wood with her four sample finishes on it from different angles.

-- Galootish log blog,

View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 2235 days

#4 posted 06-29-2010 06:25 PM

Also, you will want dewaxed Shellac if using to bind layers, otherwise the regular waxy is fine. Just be mindful of the topcoat you’re putting over it, oil based varnish/poly is going to either have problems adhering or tear through it.

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