LumberJocks

The Shellac hoax

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by Clint Searl posted 661 days ago 3433 views 0 times favorited 103 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1396 posts in 965 days


661 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: finishing shellac

Conventional wisdom has it that new wood should be “sealed” with shellac to start the finishing process. That’s pure baloney promoted by Zinsser to sell their products. Any kind of resin finish will “seal” itself. For an expose of the shellac hoax, check out Bob Flexner’s article in the September issue of Woodshop News.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate


103 replies so far

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2709 posts in 1181 days


#1 posted 661 days ago

It’s not a hoax when using waterborne finishes.

I’ve done plenty of finishing with zinsser sealcoat and without it before applying my choice finish, crystalac super premium. Much less, if any grain raising with the sealcoat. I realize I could use any number of oil based finishes first, but they take too long to dry for my preference, plus I can tint the sealcoat if necessary with transtint, which I’ve done before as well. Sealcoat dries in less than 30 minutes.

Even Marc (the wood whisperer) did a recent project (stepping stool) where he sealed the stool first with a coat of sealcoat and then went on to use minwax poly wiped on. He did this because he’d have to put more coats of the poly if he didin’t seal the wood first.

I like flexner’s book for the most part but I really don’t agree with some of his beliefs.

If sealcoat is baloney, why does it work so good?

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1526 posts in 1079 days


#2 posted 661 days ago

Nor is it a hoax if you are going to stain. Then again any sealer would do, not just shellac.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View bhog's profile

bhog

1987 posts in 1294 days


#3 posted 661 days ago

The only hoax I know of that involves shellac is that its not durable,etc.

-- I don't drive a Prius.

View CessnaPilotBarry's profile

CessnaPilotBarry

882 posts in 714 days


#4 posted 661 days ago

The huge beauty of shellac is that it’s a barrier. This is lost on folks who use typical home center products, as they dry too slowly to be used with the barrier.

As NiteWalker mentioned, it can prevent waterborne finishes from raising grain. It can also prevent oil based brush or wipe-on varnishes from moving oil-based stain pigment around.

Also, shellac can act as an “undo” between professional dyes and pigment stains. Dye the wood, coat with shellac, apply dry brushed pigment stain. Don’t like the pigment? You can wipe it off with mineral spirits without disturbing the dye! ;^)

Shellac is also a wonderful finish in itself. It dries super fast, wiping to a wicked fast, shiny build, and it wet sands nicely using mineral spirits as a lubricant.

-- It's all good, if it's wood...

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1302 posts in 787 days


#5 posted 661 days ago

So you’re saying that a company is promoting the use of its product to accomplish a necessary task? Horrors!

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3793 posts in 984 days


#6 posted 661 days ago

Here is the article:
http://www.woodshopnews.com/columns-blogs/finishing/502292-shellac-as-a-sealer-its-all-just-hype

Basically he makes the wrong argument… that shellac is difficult to use. I don’t find it difficult to use. In fact I find it easier than poly or varnish and more durable than wiping varnish unless you build up a lot of coats. A sealer coat of shellac sanded smooth is much faster and easier than a sealer coat of varnish and much easier to sand. Plus I like the amber tint.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1796 posts in 1795 days


#7 posted 661 days ago

wormill, nice article the guy gave his opinion, good read. I think we all have our own stiles and preferences.
Quite frankly I love zinsser products.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3638 posts in 1972 days


#8 posted 661 days ago

I have used Zinsser shellac and it turns out really beautiful on most any wood because it gives it a warm glow, which is desirable in some cases. I also use the wax free variety as a sealer for lacquer.

I use a larger variety of finishes and try to use a finish that enhances the look of the project instead of having a favorite finish …. or perhaps I am reading too much into the responses posted here?

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3793 posts in 984 days


#9 posted 661 days ago

Recently I found a can of Zinsser shellac that’s probably several years old. ‘It’s no good,’ I thought. Used it on a footstool project anyway and it’s as good as the day I bought… so far, hoping it doesn’t wrinkle.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View Loren's profile

Loren

7270 posts in 2252 days


#10 posted 661 days ago

Woodshop Newsw is worth reading, but the target readership
is shops with higher-volume spray setups and low-dust
spray booth setups. I reckon Flexner is advocating for skipping
the changing of finishes (and solvents) in spray equipment.
That’s fair, because shellac will gum up in the nozzle if you
aren’t spraying it in shorter intervals. If you are spraying
another finish on top you have to have another gun and
keep the flow-through on the shellac gun going too.

Sounds like multi-guy shop activity to me.

I use shellac a lot. I never spray it. It dries fast. It is compressible
and polishes out well. It seals pitchy woods like pine for painting
very well.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2709 posts in 1181 days


#11 posted 661 days ago

@wormil: According to zinsser; their shellac products have a 3 year shelf life.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View bluekingfisher's profile

bluekingfisher

992 posts in 1584 days


#12 posted 661 days ago

Very interesting topic and useful to know the properties of Shellac

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

911 posts in 1294 days


#13 posted 661 days ago

For me, shellac and/or sealcoat, are the easiest to use and get great results from, out of all other finishes. Sprays great right out of the can, brush, roller or rag it on, it’s hard to screw up.
Keep in mind that there are as many different ways to finish as there are finishers. Writing a book about finishing is problemary because once you get past the science, it’s all personal opinion and experience.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "finished"!

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

1157 posts in 901 days


#14 posted 661 days ago

Excellent sealer. As a painter I’ve used BIN and Bulls Eye primer for years on smoke and water damaged ceilings or knotty wood. It’s basically white pigmented shellac. Don’t bother with Zinsser’s latex based stain-blocking ceiling paint – it doesn’t and it isn’t. Need to go to their shellac or oil-based products to cover. Most wood pieces I refinish are done in clear shellac followed by rubbing with 0000 steel wool and clear paste wax. Wood should invite you to touch it – not look like a piece of plastic.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3353 posts in 2564 days


#15 posted 661 days ago

The best part of this discussion is that I don’t have to quit using shellac.
It is kinda like my old C’man King Seely drill press. It still works very well even though its old school.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

showing 1 through 15 of 103 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