LumberJocks

using shellac

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by jimmac posted 938 days ago 2399 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jimmac's profile

jimmac

9 posts in 956 days


938 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: finishing shellac techniques

Anyone ever use a rub on (with a pad) method of applying shellac? What is the best technique to use? Any pitfalls to avoid?
I am in the final stage of a floor clock made of solid 3/4” red oak. It has been grain filled with Behlans oil grain filler (neutral). I plan to use Varathane hickory oil stain with shellac as a sealer and a satin lacquer final coat.
I have tried brushing shellac before and have had poor results with runs and brush marks. I’m just not good at brushing. I could spray it on but it seems to dry too fast or maybe I move too slowly.

jimmac

-- James Mack


17 replies so far

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3659 posts in 2268 days


#1 posted 938 days ago

Jimmac—Yup … I wipe shellac (1 pound cut) on with a lint-free rag all of the time. Thin coats, one or two quick passes per coat, and scuff with 400-grit or steel wool between coats.

Avoid the temptation to flood it on and keep moving. Remember that subsequent coats of shellac dissolve the earlier coats, so if you over-do it with the cloth or put too much on, you can wind up with a mess.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

2368 posts in 2347 days


#2 posted 938 days ago

I sounds like you are using the shellac just to lock your stain and grain filler in place before you topcoat -

If you are worried about getting a smeary mess I would spray the shellac – especially if there are a lot of corners and fluted columns to get into. To Jims point – you also can fix shellac if you get a sag or problem using a clean rag with alcohol – you can relevel the surface

Do you brush or spray your lacquer?
I use a conversion gun from Harbor Freight with DEFT Brushing lacquer


I like it because it has a lot of retarder in it to slow it’s drying and is a lot higher viscocity, so it rarely runs
Great stuff.
I first sprayed when I had the football team’s senior project boxes to do – 28 boxes and used this system and never looked back to hand applying a clear finish

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7276 posts in 2253 days


#3 posted 938 days ago

I use a rubber with shellac usually. I rarely brush it. You still
have to work fast with a rubber. Wear gloves and watch some
demo videos on Youtube. Padding shellac on is not especially
difficult to learn, but making a real french polish is a subtle
thing.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View jimmac's profile

jimmac

9 posts in 956 days


#4 posted 938 days ago

Loren:
What do you mean “you use a rubber”? I am not familier wih that method.

Jim

-- James Mack

View jimmac's profile

jimmac

9 posts in 956 days


#5 posted 938 days ago

DrDirt:
It looks like you use an HVLP spray gun. I just have the conventional type, but it would work okay I guess.
I am looking for the answer to my what is a rubber applicator, before I decide.
I have not used Deft as a final coat but I have seen some good results with it.
I have to admit that when it comes to finishing, I just cannot get the hang of it.

Jim

-- James Mack

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3353 posts in 2565 days


#6 posted 938 days ago

You have really touched a bright spot in my finishing process ‘cause I really like using shellac. There is a wealth of info available if you’re willing to search. Wiping shellac uses a pad of soft, lint-free cotton filled with a ball of cheese cloth (or other absorbent material), called a rubber, and lubed with mineral oil. Look up wiping finishes-shellac for an extensive source.
The easy approach is to start with the Zinsser Seal Coat product. It is dewaxed, and can be used as a primer as well as a finish coating. Go from there as Zinsser offers a bunch of other shellac products.
I have no association with Zinsser.
You can spend a bunch of time on this subject, and it is worth it.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View rance's profile

rance

4126 posts in 1765 days


#7 posted 938 days ago

Kinda curious about that myself too Jim.

Edit: Oh, I see Bill has answered the question. Sounds a LOT like a french polish.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

2368 posts in 2347 days


#8 posted 938 days ago

Jim -
I think by Rubber – he means the pad of cloth and not that it be MADE from rubber but that you rub with it.

When I french polished (twice ever) we had a cheese cloth surface around a wad of wool – a piece of a boot liner (Sorel for all the folks in northern climates)
The wool holds the shellac mix for polishing while the cheesecloth keeps the lint off the surface

Making a Polishing Rubber
Products required:

Polishing Cotton 100% (lint free)
Cotton Wadding or Cotton Wool
French Polish (any type)
Linseed Oil or Mineral Oil (optional)
Process:

Tear off a 6-9 inch square of cotton wadding and fold it in half, fold the corners of the rectangle to form a triangle
Fold the outer corners of the triangle to make a pointed pad with a smooth sole
Cut out a 9-12 square inch piece of Polishing Cotton and diagonally place the pad of wadding across the centre of the cotton square
Proceed by wrapping, in turn, all the triangular corners of the cloth over the centre
Gripping the wrapped pad in one hand, twist the loose fabric together to make a firm rubber
Fold the twisted ends of the cloth over the pad to fashion a handgrip, leaving a smooth, crease-free sole.
The polish is applied by opening the pad and charging the cotton wadding with approximately 4 tablespoons of polish. Ensure that you avoid dipping the rubber directly into the polish and do not pour it onto the sole of the pad. Close the rubber and squeeze out any surplus. Putting pressure onto the rubber allows the polish to seep through onto the surface. Raw linseed oil can be smeared onto the sole of the pad so that the rubber runs smoothly.

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1779 days


#9 posted 938 days ago

Next time I do the shellac thing, I promised myself to (keep using the seal-coat stuff, and) buy good flakes, and mix them with denatured alcohol, for the project, rather than buy the pre-mix stuff.

Rumor has it, the result is much longer shelf life, and a better quality product, where you pick the “cut” of the mix.

Good source, so I’m told: http://shellac.net/

[forgive them their website. We’re not all IT geniuses !]

-- -- Neil

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3353 posts in 2565 days


#10 posted 938 days ago

Not exactly into the “french polishing” process, though it would be a next step. Just an easy wipe on finish.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

2368 posts in 2347 days


#11 posted 938 days ago

The French polishing is a bit fussy to get going as you use rottenstone and some mineral oil –
The mineral oil helps keep the pad from sticking – but too much i is a greasey mess too little it is hard to get a good build and fill pores.

I found it frustrating and that was just doing panels flat on the workbench – never mind trying to do the side of a highboy, or a surface with a lot of contour.

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6123 posts in 1405 days


#12 posted 938 days ago

I usually collect up a bunch of lac bugs, flip ‘em over and pick out the females and then squeeze the stuff right out of their butts onto my project. I love that fresh shellac smell…

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View Cato's profile

Cato

641 posts in 1917 days


#13 posted 938 days ago

I love using shellac and have always put it on with a lint free cloth.

I mix mine with flakes, and learned a lot from a Fine Woodworking magazine on Finishing last year.

View Tennwood's profile

Tennwood

100 posts in 1786 days


#14 posted 936 days ago

One extra step I was taught was to use a squeeze bottle to apply the shellac to the pad. Every few passes apply a little more. This helps control the amount going on the wood. Also, as the pad starts to stick, squirt some denatured alcohol from another squeeze bottle on the pad as a lubricant. It does not take much of either. Between coats wipe the wood down with mineral spirits and sand with a 600 grit wet/dry sand paper.

The one place I still have a lot of problems is getting in the corners. The pad won’t reach, and if you brush it in, it gets thick or runs. Any tips on this?

-- Jim, SE Tennessee, "Don't spare the kindling Dear, we have plenty"

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3353 posts in 2565 days


#15 posted 936 days ago

http://www.homesteadfinishingproducts.com/htdocs/padshellac2.htm
Look at this site. A “must read” for shellac users.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase