Poly over BLO?

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Forum topic by Hawgnutz posted 06-13-2007 07:04 AM 3189 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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526 posts in 4274 days

06-13-2007 07:04 AM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing blo

I lkke to use Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) as a finish, but I am concerned about its durability—or should I say lack of? I predominately use pine or poplar when I stray away from barnwood and reclaimed wood.

I am making domino holders out of old pallets, which vary from pine to oak to cedar to unknown hardwood (maybe cherry?)

Seems I have read that if you let it BLO “set” for a week or two, you can seal it with shellac and then polyurethane. Am I recalling that correctly?

I love building, but am somewhat clueless on finishing finess.

Thanks all for the help. I will be showcasing my results on some boxes, soon.

Too Blessed to Stress,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

10 replies so far

View thumbs's profile


22 posts in 4273 days

#1 posted 06-13-2007 07:21 AM

I have had success with BLO, and varnish on walnut. I put BLO, let it sit for twenty minutes , keeping it wet, and wiped it well a couple of times, then after a couple of days diluted Pratt and Lambert #38 varnish half and half w/ mineral spirits and wiped it on w/soft cloth. I put four coats on, one hour apart w/out sanding and then waited 2-3 days for varnish to cure. Then light sanding and same procedure for three coats. Have done this with poly also and on oak w/good results. Sounds complicated but it’s not. Just wipe a coat on and do something else for an hour etc.

-- Mitakuya Oyasin

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4274 days

#2 posted 06-13-2007 07:31 AM

Thanks for the concise reply, Thumbs! It does not sound too complicated, and it should keep the dominoes from sticking to the finish.

God Bless,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4288 days

#3 posted 06-13-2007 07:49 AM


You should use a dewaxed shellac over oil based products before Poly. The Zinzer sanding sealer is fine. Cut it down with more denatured alchohol. This dries quickly.(45 min to next layer)... Scuff sand with worn sand paper (320?)... then you can use Poly. Don’t use over regular (non de-waxed) shellac.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4274 days

#4 posted 06-13-2007 08:10 AM

Excuse my ignorance—but ignorance can only be cured by asking questions—is the shellac flakes that you add to alcohol “dewaxed?” Or are there “waxed” and “dewaxed” flakes?


-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4404 days

#5 posted 06-13-2007 11:56 AM

Hi Hawg;
—-excuse me for jumping in here, but yes….there are both, waxed and de-waxed shellac flakes.


-- --frank, NH,

View mot's profile


4922 posts in 4234 days

#6 posted 06-13-2007 02:56 PM

Yeah, Hawg…if you want dewaxed flakes, you have to buy dewaxed flakes. You can get a premixed product from Zinser that is dewaxed shellac in a can. I’m not sure of it’s shelf life. There are so many variations of shellac flakes that unless they say, “Dewaxed,” assume they are not.


-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4284 days

#7 posted 06-13-2007 03:02 PM

I’m with you Hawg…finishing is like some cross between magic and science that I know nothing about.

Do the de-waxed flakes get soggy in milk? I hate soggy flakes.

Seriously though…any of the finish savvy here interested in doing a blog on finishes. Maybe some kind of idea of what works with what, what to avoid…etc.? Or at least point us in the direction of some good online resources.

-- Bob

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4274 days

#8 posted 06-13-2007 04:39 PM

Well, Bob, from what I gather, here, Dewaxed flakes ONLY get soggy in alcohol— denatured at that….....LOL

Thanks for all the illumination that this has received!

And, YES! I think we should have forum dedicated to the uncertainties that some, if not most, of us have concerning finishing.

Thanks, Frank, for your answer. I thought that was so, but you confirmed my thoughts. I needed to be sure. THANKS!

One more cup of coffee, then off to make some more sawdust! I love power tools!! LOL!

God Bless,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4404 days

#9 posted 06-13-2007 05:26 PM

—-hi Bob;
—-don’t know if I’m hijacking a blog here or what….but I have found that after all the readings done, it’s usually best to go and make samples of finishes you want to do and then store and label them as the years go by. I have found and participated in much talk over the years about using de-waxed and waxed shellac under poly, and I have used them all….

Never had a problem with the poly separating, but then I have found, the finish is all in the preparation. A good scruffing of the previous coat will do wonders for insuring a bonding of a topcoat. I even scruff the surface when using de-waxed shellac and then there are those who say you do not need to do this and will call this ‘hotcoating’.

I guess that what I am saying is that after I have talked to others and read up on the so much information available….I then go and test the finishes for my own sense of making a decision.

This is taken from a previous entry that I made on Shellac in the comments section,

“Well first of all you must understand that all that I do for finish on my ‘wood art’ is mostly done by hand, hand brushing and hand rubbing. I do not use the water base finishes as of yet, unless that is what the customer ask for and then I reserve the right to say no. In NH we still are able to use the oils and when that time comes of a different set of rules here, then I’ll probably make my own.

I can spray, but still I prefer to hand apply, when I do spray this is usually done to test finishes on pieces that I am doing and for small pieces of ‘wood art’ where I want to seal fast with lacquer.

That said, I like the use of shellac on wood, since it adds color=richness and shellac is so easy to touch up, should that need arise in the pieces future and then also, shellac dries so fast that you can do many coats in one day. I use varnish on top of shellac to give the surface of the wood added protection and durability. I know that there are places where you can buy shellac with hardners already added in, but that route is one that I have chosen to not take. Shellac by itself needs to be cut with denatured alcohol and then when the alcohol is evaporated what is left is pure shellac=natures best. I use shellac by choice since this fits in with the nature, character and age period of the ‘wood art’ I produce.”


“I have used most often, orange//amber and then there are the blondes and garnet, also I like especially color tinting and shading to my own wants.

One can use the flakes, however over the years I have found it just as easy to use premixed such as Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac and then cut to a 1-1/2 lb.cut. These can be done in multiple coats and many over the course of a day. Then allow to dry fully. One can then apply one or two coats of Zinsser Bulls Eye Seal Coat Universal Sanding Sealer. The Seal Coat is already premixed at a 2 lb. cut and is also 100% wax free.

Over the years, (20 or so) I and others in finishing have talked and debated about waxed and de-waxed, mixing flakes, using premixed and not stirring so the wax settles and then decanting or pouring off the top and topcoating with varnish and polys and in all the talking I have learned that proper preparation is the best course of action. This is one of the reasons I do so many test pieces, I have test pieces of wood all over that are labled with what went on them and then I am always playing with new scenarios on them and in all this I am still learning. I have used waxed shellac under varnish and polys and I have never seen a bonding failure, but then I always practice ‘preparation’ which means proper scuffing of all the previous surface finish and I believe that ‘preparation’ is the key.

Having said all this, it still remains that even with the use of de-waxed shellac under varnish and not understanding and practicing ‘proper preparation’, you will still run the risk of bonding failure. The lack of preparation of any wood surface before first application of finish and the lack of ‘proper preparation’ in between coats has to my estimation probably caused more bonding failures then all the time spent in trying to save some time by cutting ‘preparation corners’.

Now again having said that, I have found that by applying Zinsser Bulls Eye Seal Coat Universal Sanding Sealer, as a pre-finish bond coat, over the pre-mixed waxed is a sure fine way to go. And then again you can always use the flakes and go with de-waxed.

If I am not using a topcoat of varnish then I always go with the waxed shellac.”

Again, excuse me for taking over your space here Hawg….just trying to give some feedback!

-- --frank, NH,

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4033 posts in 4262 days

#10 posted 06-18-2007 11:20 AM

I started to reply and the ramble became so great and unwieldy that I decided to start a separate entry.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

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