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Shellac/"Pseudo French Polish"

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Forum topic by gfadvm posted 05-18-2015 03:14 PM 1058 views 4 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2155 days


05-18-2015 03:14 PM

Shellac has become my favorite finish. I’m using the technique posted by Black Cherry in his blog posted some time back BUT I have some questions for the brain trust. How do you know when to add more shellac to your pad? How do you know when to add alcohol to your pad? How do you know when to quit polishing/rubbing and call it done?

I am very pleased with my finish but these questions have been bugging me.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm


13 replies so far

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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2155 days


#1 posted 05-18-2015 03:19 PM

http://lumberjocks.com/blackcherry/blog/34190

Here is the link to the blog I referenced.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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OSU55

1059 posts in 1454 days


#2 posted 05-18-2015 03:38 PM

Here is an excellent article on shellac by Jeff Jewitt. I typically spray first to get some film build, then French polish to fill in and smooth the finish. The shellac can also be brushed on initially. Brushing or spraying initially will speed up the process, especially for a fully filled finish. The article has some info to answer your questions. 2-3 pieces of wood to practice on will probably answer them the best. You know you are done when you are satisfied with the finish, which can be anywhere from 1 coat or never…...............

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Monte Pittman

22023 posts in 1803 days


#3 posted 05-18-2015 03:39 PM

I am really clueless on french polish. I will watch and learn.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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shipwright

7173 posts in 2263 days


#4 posted 05-18-2015 03:48 PM

There as many FP techniques as there are practitioners I guess and lots of them are right.
For me, and I’m no pro the answers would be:
1) I add shellac (a few drops) when the pad, tapped on my other hand feels like it isn’t as sticky as it should be.
( sorry, not a lot of help) Too little is better than too much. I try to err on that side.
2) Any time it seems to be getting dry and not sliding as smoothly as it should, but before it starts to catch and drag.
If you must err, (a little) too much is better than too little. Way too much is really bad. Add a little at a time often rather than a lot ever. Always add shellac and alcohol to the inside of the pad, never the surface.
3) With each bodying session the finish becomes deeper and more brilliant. When that stops being the case, before it starts to seem to be getting cloudy, you are done.

I’ve had decent results with these guidelines but there are many ways to do it. I would suggest that you practice on some scrap and overdo and underdo each operation and observe the results.
The only way to learn how far you can pop the bike up on a wheelie is to go over the top once. Then just don’t go quite that far again. :-) ......... same theory.

Here’s Patrice’s excellent video on FP. http://lumberjocks.com/projects/91068

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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DocSavage45

7705 posts in 2307 days


#5 posted 05-18-2015 05:11 PM

Andy,

Sounds like you’re expanding your skills. Don’t know if I would have the patience for this type of finish work. People make a living restoring antiques with this finish.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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doubleDD

5237 posts in 1508 days


#6 posted 05-18-2015 05:13 PM

I will watch and learn as I like working with shellac from time to time.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

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Roger

19878 posts in 2269 days


#7 posted 05-18-2015 09:37 PM

I agree w/doubleDD. I will only add this Andy: I think when you feel you are done, you are done. :) Oh, and, thnx for the links all.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. Kentuk55@yahoo.com

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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2155 days


#8 posted 05-19-2015 12:23 AM

Thanks for the links and advice all.

Paul, That’s pretty much what I have been doing with an occasional drop of mineral oil. I’ve never gotten to the cloudy stage so I will carry on. I do add my drops of shellac/alcohol to the surface of the pad (disappears almost instantly). Why is this not a good plan?

Doc, This technique requires little patience. I can finish a project very quickly as there is no waiting between coats. It’s fast and idiot proof.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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shipwright

7173 posts in 2263 days


#9 posted 05-19-2015 12:31 AM

Andy, you want the shellac and alcohol to mix inside the pad and reach the outer surface in a uniform mix. This can’t happen if you add the shellac to the outside of the pad. Of course oil is part of the procedure but I didn’t mention it as I was only answering your questions.
Again, I will defer to Patrice’s video as the best reference I have.
I will say that having someone like him show you the process is far better than trying to learn by reading words. It is about feel and that’s hard to communicate verbally. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn from Patrice and for that I am grateful.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2155 days


#10 posted 05-19-2015 12:33 AM

Thanks Paul.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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walnutnut

19 posts in 1364 days


#11 posted 05-19-2015 12:53 AM

This is the best instructional video I have seen on French Polish – you will have to listen carefully https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=web_pJt0SR8 I have been French polishing for years – what I have found is to make my own shellac from flakes. This way I can control the ‘cut’ much better. I will not use over the counter shellac any more. It is real easy to make from flakes, no PHD required. Once you get the method down, nothing brings out the color and vibrancy of the wood.

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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2155 days


#12 posted 05-19-2015 01:30 AM

That is the same video that Paul linked. I’m sure it is excellent but I couldn’t get the sound up high enough to hear the important stuff :(

EDIT: I just realized this got posted in the Safety forum. I promise I really did post it in the finishing forum!!!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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rance

4245 posts in 2625 days


#13 posted 05-20-2015 05:28 AM

Andy, you might be able to go back to the original post at the top and Edit the forum.

Looks like a LOT of good information. I will study the videos more closely when I get closer to needing to use them. I’ve favorited this though. Andy, thanks for asking these questions and generating such a good reference. You are so far ahead of me on finishes. Thanks for teaching us all.

Rance

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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