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Just discovered shellac...

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Forum topic by DustyCellist posted 05-04-2014 04:44 AM 1482 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DustyCellist

71 posts in 992 days


05-04-2014 04:44 AM

Topic tags/keywords: pine finishing shellac

Heading down the turnin path, got a lathe and decided it needs it’s own stand. Went to the Borg for some 2×4s and everything was awful. The straight grained ones were bent or cracked, everything was damp, so I got the straightest driest ones I could find. They’re all knotty and grainy. Oh well.

I’m severely allergic to pine, though, so I read up on how to seal wood so stuff stays IN (while most people want stuff to stay OUT of the wood…) and bought a quart of Amber shellac for $13.

The stupid pine studs with the knots and curled grain, with one coat of shellac done in my foyer, now look like highly figured appearance wood!

Anyone ever make make anything out of knotted ugly pine like this? My lathe stand will be the most beautiful piece of furniture in the house!! Also, no-odor finish I can do inside without a respirator? Why should I ever use anything else?? (I don’t think I will!)


12 replies so far

View dawsonbob's profile

dawsonbob

1915 posts in 1219 days


#1 posted 05-04-2014 04:55 AM

Shellac is wonderful stuff…for the things shellac is wonderful for. Just keep in mind that its not the toughest finish, and it’s susceptible to water and alcohol. For an indoor finish though, it’s a good, easy finish.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

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Loren

8303 posts in 3111 days


#2 posted 05-04-2014 04:59 AM

Well shellac is pretty easy to work with and looks nice. If you
finish furniture with shellac be aware that floor cleaning chemicals
can cause discoloration of furniture feet. Also, it’s not so great
for table tops you use for food or drink. Coasters are a good
thing to have around no matter what table finish anyway.

I pad on shellac usually, a sort of half-way approach to french
polishing. I’ve recently discovered that oil-modified waterborne
polyurethane can be padded on as well. I think I’ll be using
shellac as a seal-coat for a little color in the future and doing
the poly on top. It’s really just about as easy to work with
as shellac in this context and easier to clean up.

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DustyCellist

71 posts in 992 days


#3 posted 05-04-2014 06:59 AM

I guess my surprise mostly came after the big guy in the paint department in the orange apron explained to me that I should buy polyurethane because nobody uses shellac. I mentioned french polishing for luthiers and he conceded that it’s ONLY for violins.

My wife now has instructions to wash and save all glass jars so I can mix shellac cuts and colors.

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Loren

8303 posts in 3111 days


#4 posted 05-04-2014 07:05 AM

Well, it doesn’t keep that long so don’t mix up more
than you’re going to use in a few months.

The guy is ignorant. Viols are usually varnished. Fine concert
guitars are sometimes french polished. It’s a superior finish
for nylon string guitars but the care requirements to keep it
looking perfect are fussy compared with other finishes.

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DustyCellist

71 posts in 992 days


#5 posted 05-04-2014 08:37 AM

My last cello was French Polished, varnish is much heavier – I read somewhere that Stradivarius put orange dye in shellac for some finishing, but I don’t think “French Polish” had been invented yet (I could be wrong…).

It should keep for at least a few months, right? I plan to use small jars, 8oz or less for colors.

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Blackie_

4531 posts in 1976 days


#6 posted 05-04-2014 10:58 AM

An interesting topic, what introduced me to shellac were tiny salt looking crystals forming on the walls of my red cedar bandsaw boxes inside the drawer cavities, Charles Neil came to my rescue here on LJs and told me to seal it with shellac and it solved the problem, I now use shellac only for a end grain wood sealer for my finish top coats and to keep it from soaking into the wood and mostly used on the end grain.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

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TheWoodenOyster

1275 posts in 1398 days


#7 posted 05-04-2014 12:59 PM

Shellac is definitely an interesting option. It has its limits, but it also has huge upsides, like no odor and quick drying. Glad you’ve found a finish to add to your arsenal.

P.S. I wouldn’t trust a home depot “finishing expert” any farther than I could throw him

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3938 posts in 1957 days


#8 posted 05-04-2014 02:36 PM

>>>>“I guess my surprise mostly came after the big guy in the paint department in the orange apron explained to me that I should buy polyurethane because nobody uses shellac. I mentioned french polishing for luthiers and he conceded that it’s ONLY for violins.”

That’s why it’s never a good idea to solicit advice from Skippy Stockboy…...........

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

View Ted's profile

Ted

2785 posts in 1674 days


#9 posted 05-04-2014 02:50 PM

Dusty, shellac is my #2 go-to finish second only to wipe-on polyurethane. I use it on everything from toolboxes to toyboxes, and I also use it as a stain blocker when painting. I wouldn’t call it odorless by any means, but the alcohol fumes smell so much nicer than that of other finishes. Actually, the alcohol fumes remind me of my brother.

As for the pine, I’m sure you’ve heard of “Knotty Pine”. It’s a beautiful wood… the more knots, the better. I’m surprised that you discovered all this by accident, as shellac and knotty pine are both very popular items to most woodworkers. Now you have to get some more of that knotty pine and build some more stuff. Need a work bench? :)

-- The first cordless tool was a stick. The first power tool was a rock.

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DustyCellist

71 posts in 992 days


#10 posted 05-04-2014 03:16 PM

So “knotty pine” is just SPF with too many knots??

Maybe when my respirator comes I’ll reconsider generally working with pine, as this is beautiful and the shellac should protect me from the finished product. Heck, if I had a bandsaw, I could resaw 2×4s and use them for paneling to finish my attic! (And then post a write up on lifehacker about all the $$ I saved…)

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Ted

2785 posts in 1674 days


#11 posted 05-04-2014 03:28 PM

No need to resaw…. just get 1×4s. In fact you could spend 2 or 3 times as much and buy beaded knotty pine boards made for paneling…

Or save a bunch of money by buying the router bits needed and making your own :)

-- The first cordless tool was a stick. The first power tool was a rock.

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DustyCellist

71 posts in 992 days


#12 posted 05-04-2014 04:51 PM

But a 2×4 is $3. I think a 1×4x8 might be more, because they’re “appearance boards”. I could do the end of my attic for $20 in 2×4 and $15 in shellac. I think one panel would be $30 so I wouldn’t save that much, maybe 1/3 of the cost. But it would be fun and give me an excuse to get a band saw…

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