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Shellac Pros and Cons?

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Forum topic by becikeja posted 12-04-2017 02:38 AM 758 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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becikeja

920 posts in 2931 days


12-04-2017 02:38 AM

What are the pros and cons of a shellac finish?

When using shellac flakes, when do you use Garnet, Orange, Blonde?

-- Don't outsmart your common sense


17 replies so far

View sawdustdad's profile

sawdustdad

364 posts in 1002 days


#1 posted 12-04-2017 03:30 AM

The good…
Shellac dries quickly, allowing you to build a finish quickly.
Will stick to anything.
Blocks stains/knots in pine for future painting
Seals walls with ball point pen graffiti allowing painting with latex paint (don’t ask)
Anything sticks to it.
Can be thinned with alcohol.
Non toxic when dry.
Smells good. Well, doesn’t smell bad.
Finish easily repaired in the future
Removable with alcohol (refinishing)

The bad,
Not very water resistant, glasses leave rings easily
limited shelf life in liquid form

I love the stuff. It was the first finish I ever used (I was probably 10.)
Mostly use blonde, though have used orange when I wanted some color effect. Never used garnet.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

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shipwright

8066 posts in 2915 days


#2 posted 12-04-2017 03:45 AM

You can french polish with it.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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Dave Polaschek

2595 posts in 699 days


#3 posted 12-04-2017 03:51 AM

I mostly use platina, but orange and garnet when needed. See http://www.shellacshack.com/colors.html for a comparison of colors.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10099 posts in 1603 days


#4 posted 12-04-2017 04:20 AM

Shellac with a topcoat of wax is great for shop furniture, trinkets, tools. For extra protection I wipe a couple coats of poly on.

I use blonde for a relatively clear finish. Platina would be better but I’m fine with a bit of yellow. If I want something to be a little darker or want the look of patina I’ll use garnet.

Super easy to use. I French polish with it mostly but also brush it on if I’m in a hurry.

A piece of furniture for decoration, for limited use, or for where it’s negatives don’t matter (like shop furniture) i find it best for.

I love the stuff.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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Woodknack

12331 posts in 2497 days


#5 posted 12-04-2017 07:15 AM

The only cons of shellac are if you have sloppy drunks or don’t use coasters; otherwise it’s all pro’s. It’s my favorite finish. I use mostly blonde.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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Loren

10477 posts in 3765 days


#6 posted 12-04-2017 07:53 AM

right on, Rick M.

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becikeja

920 posts in 2931 days


#7 posted 12-04-2017 10:44 AM

Thanks for the feedback.
This is exactly what I needed to know.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1834 posts in 2107 days


#8 posted 12-04-2017 01:07 PM

I use blonde these days, platina has gotten more expensive. No need for other colors if you have alcohol dye like Transtint – mixes directly into the shellac for whatever color and intensity desired. Agree with others – shellac is a great finish and as part of a finish schedule. It works great under a wb finish to give chatoyance, or grain pop.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4926 posts in 2469 days


#9 posted 12-04-2017 01:28 PM

Amber shellac will make new pine look like old pine. I t helps if you are trying to match trim in an old house.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

1147 posts in 709 days


#10 posted 12-04-2017 02:39 PM

Shellac’s hay days are unfortunately in the past with the appearance of new synthetic materials that are much tougher than shellac. It is still used for low usage items like picture frames but most furniture is finished by some other means.

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Planeman40

1239 posts in 2878 days


#11 posted 12-04-2017 03:30 PM

Shellac in liquid form doesn’t keep for a long time, but mixing your own is quick and easy. I keep a large jar of “seed” shellac (dry small chunks of shellac directly from the trees with some shellac bugs and tree bark embedded) ready for mixing. I just pour some dry “seed ” shellac into a glass jar. Then I pour some alcohol in the jar, enough to thoroughly dissolve the shellac plus some, but only enough to allow for future addition of more alcohol to dilute it to the consistency I want to brushing, spraying, etc. After a couple of hours of sitting with stirring every so often the solid shellac is dissolved. But it still has the bugs and bark. That means you have to strain it. I use another empty jar to make my final mixed and thinned shellac. I then fold up a paper funnel and snip the end off. I use a piece of wadded up women’s hose as a filter and plug it into the snipped off hole of the paper funnel. With the filter funnel in the jar mouth, I carefully pour the mixed shellac through the strainer/funnel. The strained shellac is now ready for use. Thin it further to suit your use.

You can store the hard beads of “seed” shellac for a long period in a sealed glass jar and it won’t go bad.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View jonah's profile

jonah

1837 posts in 3416 days


#12 posted 12-04-2017 03:43 PM

Shellac is used on a lot of baby and kids furniture because it is completely nontoxic. You can literally eat shellac flakes (though I don’t recommend it, they taste terrible). You obviously can’t drink liquid shellac, since denatured alcohol will cause blindness and/or death, but once the alcohol flashes off, it’s perfectly safe to chew on the finished furniture.

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pintodeluxe

5741 posts in 2931 days


#13 posted 12-04-2017 04:38 PM

It looks great on maple drawer sides. I leave mine natural color, and the clear Shellac Bullseye Sealcoat by Zinsser is just the ticket.

It is also a great intermediate step in Jeff Jewitt’s stain-over dye technique.

Thin Sealcoat 50/50 with denatured alcohol for a perfect pre-stain conditioner on blotch prone woods like cherry.

I still prefer sprayed lacquer as my primary furniture finish (more durable, sprays better).

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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shipwright

8066 posts in 2915 days


#14 posted 12-04-2017 07:03 PM



Shellac is used on a lot of baby and kids furniture because it is completely nontoxic. You can literally eat shellac flakes (though I don t recommend it, they taste terrible). You obviously can t drink liquid shellac, since denatured alcohol will cause blindness and/or death, but once the alcohol flashes off, it s perfectly safe to chew on the finished furniture.

- jonah


It dissolves just as well in pure ethanol. ...... then you could drink it, maybe with a little orange juice. :-)

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View Rich's profile

Rich

3532 posts in 707 days


#15 posted 12-04-2017 07:13 PM


It dissolves just as well in pure ethanol. ...... then you could drink it, maybe with a little orange juice. :-)

- shipwright

Anyone remember The Furniture Guys? Hilarious show. Anyway, Joe insisted that Everclear was a superior solvent for shellac due to its more thorough distillation than DNA. I tried it once, but couldn’t tell a difference. But what do I know?

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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