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Finishing - Shellac/paint, etc. Question

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Forum topic by Dinger posted 04-01-2015 01:40 PM 937 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Dinger

145 posts in 1722 days


04-01-2015 01:40 PM

Fellow LJ’s

I’m working on a dresser and crib combination for our first child, a boy, due in late June/early July (working on a deadline is less fun!) I also volunteered to make a crib for my cousin and his wife, with whom we are quite close, and they are due about 3 weeks after we are.

Many of you I’m sure struggle with the same things I do when building projects for other, including our own spouses, in that they want the wood to be a certain color, instead of letting the beauty of the wood shine on it’s own. I’m build these projects out of some beautiful figured maple (it was a great deal – $1/bf!) But my wife wants me to stain it “dark” and my cousin’s wife wants to paint their crib antique white for their little girl.

Here’s my question: I’m using a combination of dyes and stain for our crib/dresser and paint on theirs. If I seal the wood with shellac, what effect would that have on the two projects? Would our crib take the dyes to bring out the figure just as well as not using shellac? With their crib, I’m hoping that the shellac would create enough of a barrier so that some day (when they regret the decision to paint it) the paint is easily removable. Any thoughts on this? I’ve never used shellac so I don’t fully understand it’s uses and limitations. Thanks!

-- "Begin every endeaver with the end ever in mind."


15 replies so far

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Fred Hargis

3927 posts in 1953 days


#1 posted 04-01-2015 01:50 PM

Using shellac as a sealer does just that: seals. Dyes work by penetrating the wood (slightly) to color it. You can put dye on top of shells, but it doesn’t have binders to hold it to the shellac, so will need to be spray top coated (to prevent smears). So my opinion of the first question is the dyes will not color as well as they will in bare wood. For the second one, one of shellac’s great strengths is it’s ability to adhere to everything, so I don’t think putting it on will make paint easier to remove. On the other hand, shellac can be removed handily with a scraper, and if it had paint on it that would come off as well…so maybe it will do as you think. Personally I wouldn’t do that. If your cousin wants his crib painted, use some regular maple and paint it. Using the shellac still wouldn’t be a bad idea since you would probably want to prime it first anyway. Let the shellac do that. One last thing: applying dyes to bare wood usually gets some grain raising, just put a coat of shellac on the raised grain, let it dry, and sand it smooth. After the grain is locked in place and your problem is solved.

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

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a1Jim

115201 posts in 3037 days


#2 posted 04-01-2015 02:23 PM

I don’t understand why you need to use dye and stain,dye’s do a great job on their own and yes you can use it over shellac. When using maple there’s a strong possibility of blotching so you will want to consider a wood conditioner to help control blotch such as Charles Neils blotch control or as a second choice a 1lb cut of dewaxed shellac. You can use a thinned down coat of dye to make the grain pop before you shellac and then sand it back enough just to fill the soft grain,and then dye it for complete coverage. If you make projects that you want to paint using poplar is a better choice rather than painting figured maple.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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WoodNSawdust

1417 posts in 636 days


#3 posted 04-01-2015 02:33 PM

I am with Jim, don’t waste the figured maple for a job that will be painted. Share this with them before building and if they still want it painted then they can deal with a less attractive wood if the strip the paint off.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

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OSU55

1056 posts in 1450 days


#4 posted 04-01-2015 03:12 PM

Don’t waste nice figured wood under paint or really dark dye or stain. Find some bland maple, poplar, or something for the painted piece. As for your wife wanting a dark color, there are methods to really bring out the figure of maple, and if your wife were to see it she might change her mind. Here is a thread with several pictures you could show her http://lumberjocks.com/topics/83650. I use transtint dyes and all the wood gets at least some color – it enhances “the natural beauty of the wood”. If your wife insists on a dark color, porous woods like oak at least transmit the grain structure through, and walnut would be an excellent choice. Dark dyes are much better than pigment stains. Here is piece I did for my daughter who insisted on dark http://lumberjocks.com/projects/95300 pics were taken with a lot of light. With normal indoor lighting this is pretty dark. The key to getting a dark finish with dye is using tinted toner coats (I use sprayed shellac) to even out the color and deepen as necessary.

However, your question about the shellac – yes, sealing the wood with shellac prior to painting would prevent the paint from getting into the wood grain and be much easier to strip in the future, and the paint will stick just fine to the shellac.

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johnstoneb

2143 posts in 1633 days


#5 posted 04-01-2015 03:15 PM

Dyes will let the grain show through one of the benefits they have over stain. And can be used to pop the grain with figured wood. If you painting Jim hasw the right idea.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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bonesbr549

1176 posts in 2527 days


#6 posted 04-01-2015 03:15 PM

Well, the only thing I would say thats one heck of a price on maple! For finishing, shellac will seal anything. However, on a crib, and it’s issues to liquid that might be a challenge, but its easy to fix alcohol its off and redo. I’f you want color dyes are the way to go, and if I’m painting then poplar would be a good choice, but I don’t know if that would be cheaper that what you paid for the maple, but I’d hate to see paint go over it.

Good luck.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1830 days


#7 posted 04-01-2015 03:32 PM

Regarding the use of maple versus some other wood…the OP has his first kid coming this summer. Budget may very well be a determining factor. When it came time to build my two year old daughter’s bed, cost was a huge factor (two kids, day care, diapers, formula, etc). I picked up a load of cherry off Craigslist for .80/bdft. It would have cost me 3 times as much to build that bed using poplar, pine, or some other “secondary” wood at boardroom/BORG prices. My wife wanted it painted white, so I did. When the time comes when niether kid needs that bed, I’ll probably send it through the planer and recover my cherry.

To the OP, if that’s why you’re using maple, I say go for it. Check Craigslist for other deals. When I needed wood, there was nothing but that cherry. Now, there’s a ton of maple, poplar, and hemlock listed for just as cheap.

Before we had the kids, I built our TV shelving unit from soft maple, and used a dark water-based dye, applied with a foam brush and wiped off with a rag. Finished with shellac, brushed on. Turned out great. As others have said, you don’t necessarily need a stain on top.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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Dinger

145 posts in 1722 days


#8 posted 04-06-2015 07:48 PM

Thanks for all the input fellas. I was commiserating with my fellow woodworkers at Woodcraft and we came to a conclusion: Very few people except woodworkers care about figured woods. I would argue that most of our spouses only care because we care! Believe me, I hate the idea of painting figured maple as much as anyone. Neither me nor the sawyer knew it was figured when he sold it to me. Ed is correct – I can’t get poplar for as cheap as I got this maple and price is a factor.

Thanks for answering my shellac question OSU55. I think I will put a coat of shellac on to make it easier to remove later. Would this be a job for a Zinzer’s shellac? I can’t say I have any experience with shellac at all. Bonesbr549 – I’m not worried about liquid on the crib – the shellac will be covered in paint.

Jim – I did a test board using General Finish’s Amber and General Finishes Black Cherry Dye Stain. First, what’s a dye stain compared to a dye or a stain? Second, I can’t say I was thrilled with the results of the Black Cherry dye stain – it seemed to “muddy” the figure, and I’m trying to bring it out more. I might try to reverse the applications – BC first, then Amber.

OSU55 – I love the color on that buffet! I think I may PM you about your process because I had trouble following it in your project post.

In the end who among use don’t love to have stripped furniture only to find some lovely figured grain underneath? Maybe it can be a project for me and my god-daughter to take on someday.

-- "Begin every endeaver with the end ever in mind."

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pintodeluxe

4852 posts in 2273 days


#9 posted 04-06-2015 08:33 PM

I hate it when they call a dye a “dye stain”. It is usually just dye.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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bondogaposis

4023 posts in 1811 days


#10 posted 04-06-2015 09:40 PM

Believe me, I hate the idea of painting figured maple as much as anyone. Neither me nor the sawyer knew it was figured when he sold it to me. Ed is correct – I can’t get poplar for as cheap as I got this maple and price is a factor.

That may be but I still would not paint figured maple even if it was free. Somewhere down the road you are going to wish you had that figured maple back. Buy some poplar and save the maple for a special project that will show it off.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1830 days


#11 posted 04-06-2015 10:00 PM



Believe me, I hate the idea of painting figured maple as much as anyone. Neither me nor the sawyer knew it was figured when he sold it to me. Ed is correct – I can’t get poplar for as cheap as I got this maple and price is a factor.

That may be but I still would not paint figured maple even if it was free. Somewhere down the road you are going to wish you had that figured maple back. Buy some poplar and save the maple for a special project that will show it off.

- bondogaposis

You quoted the guy saying price was an issue, and your response is for him to go spend more money on wood? Some of us are in a position to need to focus on budget, not spending more to save wood for heirloom quality furniture.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

303 posts in 1922 days


#12 posted 04-06-2015 11:38 PM



I don t understand why you need to use dye and stain,dye s do a great job on their own and yes you can use it over shellac. When using maple there s a strong possibility of blotching so you will want to consider a wood conditioner to help control blotch such as Charles Neils blotch control or as a second choice a 1lb cut of dewaxed shellac. You can use a thinned down coat of dye to make the grain pop before you shellac and then sand it back enough just to fill the soft grain,and then dye it for complete coverage. If you make projects that you want to paint using poplar is a better choice rather than painting figured maple.

- a1Jim

I’d agree, my only addition is use soft maple to paint over rather than poplar- it’s just more durable.


View Drew's profile

Drew

304 posts in 2560 days


#13 posted 04-07-2015 07:28 PM



I hate it when they call a dye a “dye stain”. It is usually just dye.

- pintodeluxe

Maybe they do that because they are referring to a dye stain, not a dye. They are different

A dye stain uses dye for its color rather than pigments. A dye is a concentrate (like trans tint) that can be used to tint a base.

-- TruCraftFurniture.com

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Drew

304 posts in 2560 days


#14 posted 04-07-2015 07:36 PM

Consider using a wiping stain as a base. Wipe on a dark color, then wipe it off. Then sand!
Now add color on top of that.

You can spray a dye stain. Start light and keep adding till you get the look you want…. then clear.
You can also go back to a wiping stain, just put it on heavy, let it sit and don’t sand… then clear.
Or you can add some dye to your clear….
Or even go with one of those colored polys that no one really likes.

-- TruCraftFurniture.com

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firefighterontheside

13444 posts in 1317 days


#15 posted 04-07-2015 07:46 PM

I didn’t see where anyone answered your question about shellac. Zinssser dewaxed shellac is what you need. It is called seal coat and only says wax free shellac in the small print at the bottom. You need the wax free for other things to be able to adhere. Shellac is nice to work with and you may consider it for the topcoat on your personal crib. I began using shellac about 6 months ago and like it. I sprayed it with my hvlp and that went well.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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