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Forum topic by jtrz posted 02-18-2018 12:31 AM 675 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jtrz

163 posts in 1379 days


02-18-2018 12:31 AM

I’ve been playing around with shellac for the first time and need a few pointers. First off, I’m using Zinsser Clear Shellac so keep that in mind. I put 3 or 4 coats on some poplar and was planning to top it off with some poly for added protection (these are the bases of my arkansas stones and I’m trying to keep the oily mess down and also experiment with finishes at the same time) but I realized after 2 coats that you aren’t supposed to put poly on top of shellac that has wax. Is there anything that offers a little protection that I can put on top of it? Can I get away with some poly considering that if it does fail at some point it doesn’t matter because it’s just the bases of my stones and won’t affect how they work.

I also have two plane totes I am about to shellac, one is rosewood and one is some kind of light wood that I’m guessing is beech. I’ve read that a lot of people just throw a coat of wax on it after the shellac, which is fine with me, but I’m curious what the best wax to use is? I’ve got a few varieties of beeswax and some paste wax so i’m hoping one of those will work.

I know that if you are going to put some poly or other varnish on top it’s really important to let it cure fully but if I am just putting some wax on it do I still need to wait for it to cure fully? If I do need it to cure I was going to give it 2 or 3 days. Is there any way to tell if it has cured or is it more just wait a while to be on the safe side?

And finally, I tried brushing and I tried wiping on the shellac and I wasn’t expecting it to get tacky so quick so my coats haven’t been anywhere near pristine. I was thinking I would just hit it with some steel wool to get it smooth on the last coat but definitely open to suggestions.

Thanks everyone.

-- Jeff | Louisville, Ky


22 replies so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

2872 posts in 788 days


#1 posted 02-18-2018 01:20 AM

A coat or two of dewaxed shellac will let you put poly on top of that. Old school varnish can go on pretty quickly, but with poly, you should give it at least overnight to cure unless you really slathered on the shellac. Nice thin coats of shellac should be gnat dry within 15 minutes.

For the plane tote, I’d go with a paste wax, but I’ve used beeswax, “soft wax” (a blend of wax and turpentine), and even canning paraffin wax.

I wax shellac after a couple hours. Again, thin coats of both shellac and wax.

Zinsser is a two-pound cut of shellac. I use a 2# cut when building a finish. I use a 1# cut for the first coat or two (so it soaks in more) and for the last coat. Thin a little of the zinsser with an equal amount of denatured alcohol, and use that as a thin top coat. It won’t build much, but it’ll soften and smooth out the coats you’re putting it on top of. It should be easier to get a good coat that way. I prefer wiping to brushing, but either will work. Light touch, thin coat.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

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Aj2

1886 posts in 2004 days


#2 posted 02-18-2018 01:53 AM

Try some real shellac. That stuff in the can is a poor example of how your work can benefit from shellac. I’ve used can shellac in areas that cannot be seen. like the back or inside of a cabinet that needs something. For areas that can be seen many many thinn coats that are barely noticeable.You want to see the wood not a finish.
This is the place I buy my shellac from http://www.shellacshack.com/

-- Aj

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jtrz

163 posts in 1379 days


#3 posted 02-18-2018 02:25 AM

I know the real stuff is better but for now I’ve got the zinsser so I am going to work with it until I have my shop more put together. Once I start producing some larger pieces I’m going to order some. I’m just using the zinsser on little things to get a feel for it. Out of the three arkansas stone bases the one I put the zinsser on looks the best. It will work for now

-- Jeff | Louisville, Ky

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1240 posts in 2201 days


#4 posted 02-18-2018 02:58 AM

Zinsser is just fine. Don’t worry about it. Another trick is that you can get a rag wet with featured alcohol and rub out your bumps and drips. No sanding necessary. You may choose to sand after to get the smoothness you want, but unlike poly and varnish shellac can be repaired any time with alcohol.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8166 posts in 3004 days


#5 posted 02-18-2018 03:05 AM

Check out Taklon brushes. Good ones aren’t cheap but they lay shellac on so smoothly that you won’t believe it.

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

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1161 posts in 1022 days


#6 posted 02-18-2018 03:21 AM

The only wax I have ever used is Johnson’s Paste Wax. I never tried anything else because it always does just what I want it to. Like all waxes I know of, it provides very little protection against moisture and none against abrasion but it leaves the wood with a rich luster and it feels silky smooth. I have often used it over the top of well dried Watco Danish Oil. Neither shellac nor Danish oil provide much protection for the wood but I think the oil finish enhances the grain more effectively than shellac. The Waco brand has some varnish in it.

View jtrz's profile

jtrz

163 posts in 1379 days


#7 posted 02-18-2018 03:35 AM

I know wax isn’t going to protect anything just seems like a lot of people like a little for their plane totes.

As far the arkansas stone block made of poplar it was really just an opportunity to play with some shellac. Not being able to put poly over it was an oversight by me. The other two arkansas stones have some poly. On one I tried out some danish oil and put poly on top. The shellac stone looks the best and the one I put danish oil on I like the least but that is more the fault of that piece of poplar which has these super dark grain areas. The danish oil I think brought out the grain color more which is usually a good thing but not in this case. The shellac is great because it really evened out the different colors.

Alright, well I’m going to through some shellac on this rosewood tote. We will see how it turns out

Thanks

-- Jeff | Louisville, Ky

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10767 posts in 1692 days


#8 posted 02-18-2018 06:37 AM

JPW is more about rust prevention. Paraffin or candle wax is usually used on plane soles.

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

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12431 posts in 2586 days


#9 posted 02-18-2018 06:42 AM

Pick one or the other, shellac or poly, there is no need for both.

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

View Sunstealer73's profile

Sunstealer73

170 posts in 2298 days


#10 posted 02-18-2018 03:41 PM

I do poly over shellac all the time. There’s no “need” for it, but the look is definitely enhanced by using both.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5098 posts in 2557 days


#11 posted 02-18-2018 04:13 PM

I realized after 2 coats that you aren’t supposed to put poly on top of shellac that has wax. Is there anything that offers a little protection that I can put on top of it?

Put a layer of Zinsser sealcoat over the shellac, It is dewaxed, then you can put poly over it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5180 posts in 2699 days


#12 posted 02-18-2018 05:18 PM

The truth is that many times you won’t realize an adhesion problem with a urethane finish over waxy shellac. Most of us do not want to risk it so use dewaxed. It kinda sounds like you wouldn’t be too distressed if it does fail, so go ahead and try. The adhesion problem is related to the urethane resins, so you could use a non-poly varnish (like SW Fast Dry Oil Varnish which uses alkyd resins) and not worry at all.

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

View jtrz's profile

jtrz

163 posts in 1379 days


#13 posted 02-18-2018 05:23 PM


I do poly over shellac all the time. There s no “need” for it, but the look is definitely enhanced by using both.

- Sunstealer73


Pick one or the other, shellac or poly, there is no need for both.

- RickM

The poly would be to give the finish more protection than shellac alone, or am I wrong?


I realized after 2 coats that you aren’t supposed to put poly on top of shellac that has wax. Is there anything that offers a little protection that I can put on top of it? _

Put a layer of Zinsser sealcoat over the shellac, It is dewaxed, then you can put poly over it.

- bondogaposis

I wish i had picked up the sealcoat but I wasn’t familiar with it and thought it was just another sanding sealer or something. I didn’t realize it was dewaxed Shellac until later. The odd thing is that sealcoat isn’t available in either home depot or lowes anywhere near me. I think Menards carries it though.

-- Jeff | Louisville, Ky

View Sunstealer73's profile

Sunstealer73

170 posts in 2298 days


#14 posted 02-18-2018 05:29 PM

Yes, the poly gives you protection that you don’t get with Shellac alone. I will sometimes do Amber Shellac to give the wood some color, then dewaxed Sealcoat, then poly.

View jtrz's profile

jtrz

163 posts in 1379 days


#15 posted 02-18-2018 06:06 PM

That might be the thing to do.

-- Jeff | Louisville, Ky

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