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Regarding Danish oil and shellac.

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Forum topic by Aquariophile posted 01-31-2018 01:32 AM 807 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Aquariophile

8 posts in 141 days


01-31-2018 01:32 AM

Hello.

I am in the process of finishing an antique desk. If I may, I will outline what I wish to do, please feel free to advise on any of the following.

The wood is extremely dry due to years of storage. One drawer has already become too warped to use. I will fix the drawer, but in the meantime, I wish to protect the wood against future drying, and so I have purchased some Danish oil. I have read that I will need a few coats, applied thickly so as to absorb deep into the wood, and then wiped off before drying. I have been told at the local Home Depot that it is made of wild cherry wood.

I have also purchased Zinsser bullseye shellac. I have read conflicting info about applying the shellac after the danish oil. Some websites have recommended poly, but I would really prefer to use the shellac for this particular project. I wish to apply it with clean, 100% cotton rags, is it safe to assume this will work, or should a brush be used instead? Simply because I know I can work faster with the rag application, and I read that shellac dries quite fast, and I do not want to have any dry, hard edges while applying it. (Current room temp is 70 degrees F, humidity level is around 60%).

Also, after the shellac, it has been recommended to use a paste wax. I am not sure how a paste wax will help, and if it will leave the finish feeling waxy. Or should I use the poly after the shellac? The reason I ask about the poly over the shellac is because I would like to decoupage a world map onto the desk top, and then use an aging faux-fini process to make the map look antiqued. Unfortunately, I do not think the water based decoupage mediums will adhere to the shellac, so must I use the poly on top? I suppose the best thing would be to use a water based poly over the Danish oil, (can I?) but for some reason I just don’t want to ????I want the shellac.

The desk will be used to hold my computer and keyboard, but should not really receive any undue abuse, or wear/tear. At any rate, the decoupaged map would look quite nice, but I may have to decide between the shellac, OR the poly and the map.

Is there a way around this conundrum?
Please advise.
Thank you in advance.

-- Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.


20 replies so far

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Woodknack

11785 posts in 2405 days


#1 posted 01-31-2018 02:34 AM

The wood is probably as dry as it’s going to get unless you move it to the desert. Keep it simple and stick with one finish. I like shellac because it’s super easy, fairly durable, and very easy to repair if anything goes wrong now or in the future. It’s also the closest thing to a universal finish that will go over anything and anything can over it. But you can use anything you like. I can’t help with the decoupage but since shellac melts into itself you could embed it in shellac which would make it removable if you or someone later wished. Put down your shellac, coat the map in alcohol and cover with more shellac. I would test with scrap paper on scrap wood first.

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

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Aquariophile

8 posts in 141 days


#2 posted 01-31-2018 03:38 AM

Hello; Thank you. What does “coat the map in alcohol” mean? Rubbing alcohol, or denatured alcohol, or ? The map is printed on a coated paper, about the thickness of printer paper. The coating is somewhere between a matte and a satin gloss. Should I use the shellac on the desk, and then decoupage the map onto it with more shellac? That makes sense, though I am unsure of how to “antique” it afterwards. I suppose I could use an oil paint to darken/distress the map once the shellac dries, instead of the water based acrylics I usually would use.
You are right, I would need to test on scrap first. Experimentation FTW ;)

The only thing that worries me is the ongoing dryness of the wood. But as you say, perhaps it can’t really get any worse!

Thanks!!

-- Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.

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johnstoneb

2939 posts in 2198 days


#3 posted 01-31-2018 04:11 AM

Danish oil is a mixture of mineral oil and varnish and will not soak into wood very far and will not stop the transfer of moisture into or out of the wood. If you read the instruction for application you put on a heavy coat let it set for about 1/2 hr or so wipe it off and apply a second coat and wipe it off after a while. You will have to continue to wipe the surface down for a few days as the excess oil bleed out of the wood. The oil will dry thru evaporation after a few days. Danish oil is a good finish and can look very nice. But it will not moisten anything beyond the top of the surface being finished.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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Woodknack

11785 posts in 2405 days


#4 posted 01-31-2018 06:20 AM



Hello; Thank you. What does “coat the map in alcohol” mean? Rubbing alcohol, or denatured alcohol, or ? The map is printed on a coated paper, about the thickness of printer paper. The coating is somewhere between a matte and a satin gloss. Should I use the shellac on the desk, and then decoupage the map onto it with more shellac? That makes sense, though I am unsure of how to “antique” it afterwards. I suppose I could use an oil paint to darken/distress the map once the shellac dries, instead of the water based acrylics I usually would use.
You are right, I would need to test on scrap first. Experimentation FTW ;)

The only thing that worries me is the ongoing dryness of the wood. But as you say, perhaps it can t really get any worse!

Thanks!!

- Aquariophile

Being coated paper will make things more difficult. You should get more coated paper with which to experiment. If you drop by a local print shop and ask for a few sheets of blank coated paper, or a few sheets from the recycle bin, they should give it to you for free. Go to a real print shop, not FedEx Office or UPS store. Or if you have a second map to waste, even better. Shellac is dissolved by alcohol and I was originally thinking that if you moistened the paper with alcohol it would stick to the first coats of shellac without the need for any glue. If it’s coated one side then it might still work if the ink isn’t alcohol soluble. Whatever you do, obviously test first.

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

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BurlyBob

5551 posts in 2291 days


#5 posted 01-31-2018 07:11 AM

I haven’t bothered to read all the advice you’ve gotten here. I just finished a kitchen project for “Stick in the Mud”.

I used natural Danish oil on red oak and was intent to spray it with a water based Poly. I was a bit concerned and contacted Charles Neil. He is pretty much the best resource for finishing anything, anywhere, anytime, anyhow!

He advised a 1/2 pound cut shellac over Danish oil. I went with a 1lbs cut cuz I couldn’t measure any smaller. Sprayed it, scuff sanded 220 for 2 coats and 600 for the last. It all came out fantastic.
Just so you now this was my first big spray job. In the past I’ve spent hours sanding and smoothing by hand. This spray outfit, It’s a game changer!

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Redoak49

3283 posts in 2014 days


#6 posted 01-31-2018 12:24 PM

I have used shellac over Danish Oil and oil based stain many times with good results. I always wait a day or so with 70 degree temps before the shellac.

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Lazyman

2051 posts in 1413 days


#7 posted 01-31-2018 04:33 PM

You might want to look into the finishes (mediums) specifically design for decoupage. I think that they usually are a combination of a glue and a varnish. I have never tried them but I would probably follow a proven method rather than experiment with one.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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Aquariophile

8 posts in 141 days


#8 posted 01-31-2018 05:10 PM

Thanks, guys, for all the replies. I will need to do a bit of research for the decoupage. I have a small table I can practice on, so I will start there.

At least now I know what I can do, if I do not go with the decoupage I will use the Danish oil and shellac. But since most decoupage finishes are water based, (basically, the ones I own that I’ve already used many times). I try to always use water based products when I can, simply because they are easy to work with, low smell, easy cleanup, great results. But now I wish to try other products because the wood finish that I want is oil based.

So I will need to experiment until I find a finish that works with the products I already have on hand. I will try a few and let you know the results ;)

One last question: is there a way to wet-sand the wood before I apply any finish? Right now the wood is raw and very dry, as I mentioned earlier. But I am not sure if I sanded it enough to really give a smooth finish. I did read that Danish oil can be wet-sanded between coats, is this true?

Thank you :)

-- Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.

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Woodknack

11785 posts in 2405 days


#9 posted 01-31-2018 05:48 PM

I will emphasize again that I would pick Danish oil OR shellac, there is no reason for both.

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

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Lazyman

2051 posts in 1413 days


#10 posted 01-31-2018 06:30 PM

If you mean wet sanding with water, you can slightly wet the wood to pre-raise the grain and then sand when dry to get a smoother finish. Water based finishes can raise the grain so pre-raising the grain can help reduce this effect.

Wet sanding with Danish oil involves sanding with the oil itself. This is sometimes done with very open pored wood as a way to fill the grain and get a smoother finish. The saw dust mixes with the oil to create a slurry that fills the pores. Danish oil usually refers to oil finishes with some varnish in it to give a more durable finish than just plain boiled linseed oil and as Rick said, you don’t really need to add a layer of shellac on top of it. Just apply multiple coats of the Danish oil using a scotch brite pad to knock off any nubs between coats.

When you say that the wood is raw, what do you mean exactly? You need to make sure that your surface is smooth and sanded to at least 180 or 220 grit sandpaper to get a surface smooth enough for a desktop, or for most furniture for that matter. A cabinet scraper is a great tool for getting a nice smooth surface prior to applying a finish. The wood being dry is a good thing when it comes to getting a good finish.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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Aquariophile

8 posts in 141 days


#11 posted 01-31-2018 08:34 PM

Okay :) So, I will probably go with JUST the Danish oil, and I will wet-sand using it. The actual reason is that I am just not sure how well-sanded it is. My daughter did the sanding, and she finished it off with 220 grit sandpaper. I do have 0000 steel wool on hand and wanted to simply make sure the finish is super smooth ;) At any rate, I can wet-sand with the danish oil and steel wool, so that should be fine. She did do a remarkable job, it took a lot of elbow and she worked hard, so don’t tell her I’m backing up her work ;)

The only trick now is to find a way to decoupage onto the danish oil. It is not crucial to the end result, I am just playing with ideas at this point. But at least now I’m narrowing things down to where it is not such an overwhelming project.

Thank you all!!

-- Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.

View Lazyman's profile (online now)

Lazyman

2051 posts in 1413 days


#12 posted 02-01-2018 03:56 AM

You didn’t say what kind of wood it is. If it isn’t a deep grained or pored wood like walnut or mahogany, wet sanding probably provides no real benefit. Just make sure it has a consistently smooth surface with 220 grit before applying any finish.

I’ve never done decoupage so make sure read up on the process. This link has some Q&A about different finishes but you should look at other guides as well.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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Aquariophile

8 posts in 141 days


#13 posted 02-01-2018 10:49 PM

Hey, so I took some photos to show you. This is the desktop with the map. The map is a small reproduction of an original map of Montreal, dating from 1764.

And this is a close up of the grain.

Here is the front, I have painted the drawer fronts to match a dining room table done with the same faux fini paint process.

And a final look:

I am not sure what the wood is, but I was told it was wild cherry (merisier). Thank you for the link, I will read it and let you know what my plan will be for the decoupage part.

:)

-- Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2630 posts in 2908 days


#14 posted 02-01-2018 11:28 PM

Most of my projects are finished with some variant of Danish oil, which is a fancy term for any finish that is a mixture of an oil (usually boiled linseed and/or tung oil) and a varnish, eg. polyurethane.

You don’t need to overthink this. Application is simple; sand to 180 or 220. Wipe a thick coat on, wait 10 min (I find it easier to wipe off after 10 than after 30). Wait 24h. The surface will feel slightly rough once dry. At this point, lightly sand with 220, vacuum off the dust and re-apply the finish. When dry, lightly sand with 400. Repeat. Lightly sand with 400 again or 600. Repeat. At this point you’ll have 4 coats which is sufficient for light protection on a desk and a finish that is super smooth and with a hint of shine (depending what brand of DO you used). Wipe and buff a light coat of paste wax and you’re done. No need for shellac; it won’t add anything to the protection or durability of the finish.

For the decoupage; paste the pic on with any white glue after you’ve done the coats of Danish oil. Wipe a few very light of wipe-on-polyurethane and sand lightly in between with 600 or 800 g sandpaper.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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Aquariophile

8 posts in 141 days


#15 posted 02-01-2018 11:50 PM

I am planning on using Watco Danish oil. Container says to wait 30 minutes (I’ll do 10 as you prescribed) and then wipe off, sand lightly and re-apply. Chances are good that I will be waiting longer before re-application, in fact, possibly up to two or even three days before I will have time to do the next coats. I hope waiting that long will not be a problem.

I will use poly for the top-coat over the decoupage. I’ll stop messing around with thoughts of shellac (already decided against that) and go straight to the poly. It will save me much time, since that is the product I needed to use originally to age the map.

I did not want to over-think any of this, I guess I just got intimidated by the whole oil and shellac thing ;)

Thanks!!

-- Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.

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