mixing finishes question

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Forum topic by Jay Nolet posted 11-17-2012 07:06 PM 991 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jay Nolet

75 posts in 2239 days

11-17-2012 07:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question finish

Hello all! I had a problem with getting a smooth finish from shellac, so after three coats I sanded smoothed and put acouple of coats of oil based poly. Looks like it came out fine. Is there anything I need to know about?

-- I think, therefore I think I am.

6 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5174 posts in 2693 days

#1 posted 11-17-2012 07:41 PM

It pays to use dewaxed shellac under anything polyurethane. You may not have a problem if it was waxy shellac, but no sense in taking any risks. Polyurethane varnish doesn’t adhere as well as non-poly formulas, and things like the wax in shellac has been known to cause problems. If your shellac was waxy, nothing to do now but watch. But there’s also a chance you won’t see any issues.

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

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5124 posts in 4160 days

#2 posted 11-17-2012 07:42 PM

I just hope ya used dewaxed shellac. If not, the poly will not adhere.


View Jay Nolet's profile

Jay Nolet

75 posts in 2239 days

#3 posted 11-17-2012 11:27 PM

The poly is dry and hard. Might there be pealing at a later date?

-- I think, therefore I think I am.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3358 days

#4 posted 11-18-2012 12:17 AM

Could be. It’s been tested both ways, some having issues with waxed shellac and others not. I have not. But over time, I might.

If you used something like the Zinsser Shellac from the can, that would be a 3# cut, meaning that there are 3 lbs. of shellac per gallon of denatured alcohol…a little thick to brush on. I’d dilute by 1/2 alcohol. That’ll give you a 2# cut which brushes on smooth and level.

Ideally, you’d use dewaxed shellac, like the Zinsser Sealcoat which is a 2# cut out of the can. Or, you can dewax it yourself by skimming the top off a can of shellac that’s been sitting still for a week or so…the wax usually settles at the bottom. The full shellac is more for when you want to use only shellac for the finish.

-- jay,

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Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2561 days

#5 posted 11-18-2012 12:39 AM

Don’t worry about it. It’s either OK or not; if it’s not, you’ll find out soon enough.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Jay Nolet's profile

Jay Nolet

75 posts in 2239 days

#6 posted 11-18-2012 03:18 AM

Thanks for the info. I found that I had an oily wood and it would’nt take poly. Being new to the hobby, I did know that I could use shellac on an oily wood, but I didn’t know about thinning. Now I know that I can thin, dewax or get it drunk on alcohol. I love this site.

-- I think, therefore I think I am.

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