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Finish for Bathroom Shelving

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Forum topic by jdthomas posted 03-17-2018 05:38 PM 401 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jdthomas

4 posts in 127 days


03-17-2018 05:38 PM

I need to finish some shelving for a bathroom. I’ve already put a few coats of Zinsser SealCoat on, and was thinking to possibly just put several more coats, then wax, and be done. But I know shellac isn’t the hardest stuff, and wondering if the humidity will be a problem. They’ll just have things like a box of tissues, little flower vase, perfume/shampoo bottles, etc. sitting on them, so don’t need to be super durable, but would putting a couple coats of poly over the SealCoat be a wiser choice here?


16 replies so far

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1739 posts in 2046 days


#1 posted 03-17-2018 07:03 PM

Yes. Depending on the bathroom and amount of moisture shellac may be fine. Poly will be better, and poly without shellac under it even better.

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Bill White

4983 posts in 4017 days


#2 posted 03-17-2018 09:44 PM

Seal Coat and poly will work just fine.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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Rick

9920 posts in 3089 days


#3 posted 03-17-2018 10:32 PM



Yes. Depending on the bathroom and amount of moisture shellac may be fine. Poly will be better, and poly without shellac under it even better.

- OSU55

Agree! “Poly will be better, and poly without shellac under it even better.”

-- Your Assertiveness Training Is Beginning To Interfere With My Anger Management!

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jdthomas

4 posts in 127 days


#4 posted 03-19-2018 05:23 AM

OK, thanks everybody. The thing is, I don’t really want to use poly if I don’t need to. I’m not a fan of the plastic-y look it has. I should have said that up front, sorry. If the SealCoat with a coat of wax will be enough protection, that’s what I’d prefer. Is it silly to have shellacked wood in a bathroom? Will things sitting on the shelf stick and kind of embed into the shellac?

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Rich

3207 posts in 646 days


#5 posted 03-19-2018 05:35 AM


OK, thanks everybody. The thing is, I don t really want to use poly if I don t need to. I m not a fan of the plastic-y look it has. I should have said that up front, sorry. If the SealCoat with a coat of wax will be enough protection, that s what I d prefer. Is it silly to have shellacked wood in a bathroom? Will things sitting on the shelf stick and kind of embed into the shellac?

- jdthomas

I haven’t done any tests, but my gut tells me the shellac finish you used will be just fine. From what you said, items will be simply placed on the shelf, so there’s no abrasion, and no, it won’t soften due to humidity and have things stick to it.

Shellac is mostly weak when it comes to heat and alcohol, not the level of humidity in a bathroom.

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

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OSU55

1739 posts in 2046 days


#6 posted 03-19-2018 12:04 PM

The sealcoat should be fine. The wax doesnt provide protection, just adds slickness.

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BFamous

143 posts in 177 days


#7 posted 03-19-2018 01:48 PM

What type of poly, and how much of it, are you using that adds a platic-y look? I just did floating barn wood shelves in our half bath, with three coats of polyacrylic (same as I used for the floating counter for the sink).
I can send more close ups of the wood itself if you want, but here are some pics of the build and finished product:
http://famousartisan.com/floating-barn-wood-shelves/

The counter has been in place for about 6 months with no ill effects – even with kids splashing water all over it.

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC :: http://www.FamousArtisan.com

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ChefHDAN

1070 posts in 2906 days


#8 posted 03-19-2018 02:11 PM

If you add kids to the equation, you’ll be MUCH happier working with a WB poly for the endurance, or even Arm-R-Seal. I can’t count the number of spilled nail polish hair care etc. mishaps that have just been wiped off or even scrubbed off with a scotch brite.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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jdthomas

4 posts in 127 days


#9 posted 03-19-2018 11:09 PM

Thanks again, everybody. My first time posting here, and you’ve been very kind and helpful with your comments and advice.

The poly I have on hand is actually spar urethane. Maybe the few times I’ve used it in the past, I’ve gone way too heavy, I don’t know. I did find a small can of polycrylic I forgot I had, so maybe that would look ok. But I’m hesitant to put anything at all over the shellac, honestly. We found a beautiful plank of bocote at a Woodcraft store that was the exact width we needed, so bought it, even though I’d never heard of bocote before. I’ve since learned that it’s mostly used for turning things like knife handle inlays and pens. It’s probably quite odd to make shelves out of it, but I just cut to size, sanded smooth all around, wiped down with acetone, and then started with the SealCoat, and I’m pretty happy with how they look so far. I’ll do a final rub down/burnish with brown paper bag and then wax them. If it turns out the shellac isn’t durable enough or gets ruined, I can always fix it and put some poly over it later, so I think I’ll try them with without poly first. Here’s how they look now.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1739 posts in 2046 days


#10 posted 03-20-2018 12:24 AM

Typically poly and polyacrylic are not use interchangeably or connected in any way other than being top coats. Poly usually refers to oil based polyurethanes, and water based poly referred to as wb poly, as they have very different characteristics, and polyacrylic is related to wb poly by being wb and having acrylic, but is inferior to a wb poly. (Personally I wont use MW polyacrylic on anything, too soft). This may not have clarified anything…

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Rich

3207 posts in 646 days


#11 posted 03-20-2018 12:46 AM

Bocote is beautiful. Your shelves look great.

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

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Woodknack

12087 posts in 2436 days


#12 posted 03-20-2018 01:37 AM

The shellac will be just fine

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

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AlaskaGuy

4255 posts in 2365 days


#13 posted 03-20-2018 02:23 AM



Bocote is beautiful. Your shelves look great.

- Rich

What he said.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

540 posts in 797 days


#14 posted 03-20-2018 12:08 PM



If you add kids to the equation, you ll be MUCH happier working with a WB poly for the endurance, or even Arm-R-Seal. I can t count the number of spilled nail polish hair care etc. mishaps that have just been wiped off or even scrubbed off with a scotch brite.

- ChefHDAN

ChefHDAN,

I don’t have a tone of knowledge regarding oil-based vs wb poly. Are you saying that the chemicals/solvents in nail polish/remover (I’m thinking the acetone) can damage oil-based buy not wb? If so, it definitely affects what I’ll be using for future finishes, depending upon the pieces location.

And JD, really nice looking shelves!

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

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ChefHDAN

1070 posts in 2906 days


#15 posted 03-20-2018 04:15 PM

JD, the shelves look great, Welcome to LJ’s

Dustin, I cannot claim any knowledge beyond my experience the past 20 years as a hobbyist woodworker that uses woodworking as therapy to keep me from killing stupid people who watch the food network and want to tell me how to cook.
Except for the end-grain cutting board in my projects all of them (yes the painted ones too) have been finished with a final poly coat. My very early stuff I used the MW oil based poly and always had issues with final finish bugs etc getting into it during the slower dry time. Along came the WB and it was much easier to work with and YEA! simple soap & water clean up. About 10 years ago I got a HVLP gun and started shooting my final poly coats with very happy results.
I’m not a pro, and I don’t have any great experience with pre or post cat lacquers or even any real shellac experience, with all three kids either in or soon to be in college I may try some of them to play with but I KNOW there is zero “no-coaster” damage risk with any of the pieces I’ve made or refinished which is kind of nice.
I’ve tried a few other WB polys, Moser, the Arm-R-Seal etc., and have found that the MW WB polycrylic is very easy to work with and get a good finish with my “shoot outside when the wind isn’t blowing too hard” technique. I use the satin and depending on the the final end use of the piece will spray 2 to 5 coats that dry in 10 minutes, with slight scuff with 400 grit paper between every two coats or so. After the final spray, I generally will rub out with 0000 steel wool and apply a final coat of paste wax, which I really don’t feel or believe ends with a “plastic-y” feel to the projects.
I can’t say if oil or WB is different in it’s endurance, since oil poly is the choice for floor refinishing I “think” it is a more enduring product. I re-finished a circa 1918 QS oak 48” split pedestal table for our kitchen dining area that has been the center of homework and countless projects for my three kids, including the two girls and their nail polish, (most polish remover is now acetone free), plus glitter glue, hot glue and on and on. The table has taken some hits but everything has always cleaned off of it.
This Table in my projects is in a working area of the school office where some kids are given detention periods. About 2 weeks after I finished it one of the kids was given a project to complete with Sharpie markers and they missed the paper MANY times, Sharpie came off with soap & water and a green scotchbrite, and table looks as good as new.

As for your future finishes, find what works for you and makes you happy, finishing terrifies me at times when I worry about screwing the whole thing up with the stain, guess that’s why I like cherry & BLO with a final poly coat, it’s a low risk finish for me that works and makes me happy because it just brings the beauty of the grain through and protects it.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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