Shellac Finishing Question

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Forum topic by Kasm posted 11-01-2010 06:00 PM 1282 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Kasm's profile


7 posts in 2780 days

11-01-2010 06:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shellac red oak finish

I have completed the actual wood working part of my project and I am currently working on the finish and could use some advise. I am using shellac on red oak and I am trying to get a glossy glass like finish to the piece. What is the best way to achieve this? Also, how many coats of shellac is recommended to seal the wood against humidity? I am currently at three coats and though it does have a shine to it, it isn’t as nearly glossy as the pictures of other people’s projects with shellac.

Thank you for your time. When I am finished I will post picture of the finished project.

3 replies so far

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4126 days

#1 posted 11-01-2010 06:20 PM

1. Use a grain filler, such as pumice and shellac – google it.
2. Look at “French Polishing” – google it.

-- 温故知新

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3575 days

#2 posted 11-01-2010 06:36 PM

Hey Kasm

As hobomonk suggested shellac can be polished but is not at durable as a polly because it doesn’t protect against
water damage as well and it is softer on say a table top. The great thing is that you can put any finish on top of shellac.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Ken Reed's profile

Ken Reed

152 posts in 3183 days

#3 posted 11-02-2010 09:02 PM

Also, your really can’t seal against humidity, other than a coating that does not depend on VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) because they all leave microscopic holes in the finish….enough to let water vapor pass through. You can use the WEST system: Wood Epoxy Saturation Technique; because it’s a catalyzed coating it is not porous. However it’s expensive, hard to work with and you still have to topcoat it because it lacks UV resistance.

Follow the advice of Hobo and Jim if you want the glass look: you’ll have to fill the open grain of the oak to get there, but build knowing that the wood is going to move forever.

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