When I use the term stripping here, I mean the process of applying and removing a chemical paint remover, not using sandpaper to abrade through the old finish(es) down to the raw wood. In this case- I recommend that you sand back the milk paint or crackle lightly to accelerate any loose paint to come off or to remove the crackled surface. Shellac is primarily sold as flakes, and the woodworker must prepare the quantity required by dissolving the shellac flakes in alcohol. Shellac is the only finish on the market that is all natural and made from a renewable resource. It’s easy to touch up, however, and wear patterns can be blended in with fine steel wool and an application of more shellac. The accumulation of waxes, polishes, smoke and dust, can become so heavy that the the beauty of the finish and the pattern of the wood grain can be completely obscured.
Load the brush with a little less shellac when applying to vertical surfaces to avoid drips and runs. The shellac is injected into the wadding and applied in thin coats by rubbing the rubber over the surface. To obtain maximum freshness and thus maximum hardness and water resistance, use denatured alcohol to dissolve your own shellac from flakes, which are available from many woodworking suppliers. If you are not sure what type of finish is on something and you are unable to strip the piece use shellac. It looks promising as it has a much longer shelf life than traditional French polish.
Normally I use a normal seal-coat with a 1- to 2pound shellac (i dissolve my own shellac flakes), let it dry a couple hours, sand it off with around P200-P300 grit (European grit but at these lower grits the difference to the US grit is negligible). On large surfaces, I brush it on, then, with a loosely balled-up clean cotton rag, wipe it into the wood and wipe if off. Apply shellac to main body of the floor using a lambs’ wool applicator following the grain of the wood.
Laquer is a quick drying finish that is most typical on commercial furniture and cabinets today. Shellac functions as a tough natural primer, sanding sealant, tannin-blocker, odour-blocker, stain, and high-gloss varnish. French polishes are not all the same, though the basic ingredients are usually a mix of shellac and alcohol (sometimes with boiled linseed oil or a few drops of mineral oil in later coats). It’s not compatible with more modern finishes, such as polyurethane, so only refinish shellac with wax or another coating of shellac. If a thicker coating is desired, a slightly higher content of Shellac may be used in the mixture.
The stain that you apply afterwards can still penetrate, but in a more controlled way. This makes a big difference in your comfort (especially your back), particularly when you’re stripping because you tend to work in one spot longer than you would if you were just brushing on a coat of something and then moving on. If your furniture can be moved or turned around easily, it’s better to work horizontally. Shellac was once used in electrical applications as it possesses good insulation qualities and it seals out moisture.
Wood furniture needs to be protected against conditions such as humidity, sunlight and everyday wear and tear such as water marks. By-products obtained during manufacture of shellac include molamma, kiri, passewa, shellac wax and lac dye. You have essentially two opportunities to use a wax stick: before you apply the final finish and afterward. Once you’ve done this, you can wad up your rag, dip it into the shellac and wipe on the finish.
Like most spray paint, polyurethane or shellac – this stuff has some serious smell to it. I always recommend- when possible to use this in an outside area or ventilated garage. But it’s something to be aware of. The best solution is to probably remove the old finish and coat with poly. This resin is dried and then made into a solution in alcohol – this is liquid shellac. Polishes could be used to accomplish an emergency clean and shine, but should not be used for routine maintenance. Use a clean cotton swab dampened with acetone, and apply in an inconspicuous spot.
And it seems like a simpler project year after year once I strip all the windows and apply 7 coats or so! Shellac is available in an amber finish which can be great if you’re working with unfinished wood. It looks as if I carefully sanded the top surface where names are that area would clean up and nothing gouged the wood or even seems like it went through what appears to be a very thick finishing coat or coats. French-polished surfaces have a very distinctive, velvety sheen, and the grain and color of the wood are emphasized.
The toughness and mar resistance of BUTTON Shellac makes it the preferred shellac for finishing floors and interior woodwork. Shellac is not suitable for the in-painting of shellac-bound finishes such as a Japanned or painted finishes because the method of removal for the new shellac would interfere with the original binding. I don’t think that the bond between chalk paint and unfinished wood is as strong as milk paint, but it doesn’t need a primer unless you just want to use primer to reduce the amount of paint you have to use. As obvious from it’s use as food preservative and coloring, shellac is entirely non-toxic and FDA approved.
It’s a great idea to use shellac if you are not going to place the furniture in humid environments or in places where they are exposed to water or alcohol. This seals the wood and prepares a surface to which the paint to follow can bond. To apply shellac, flow it liberally onto the surface, working in long, smooth strokes along the grain of the wood. The value of an antique increases tremendously if it still has its original finish.
The rotating top platens allow the operator to have easy access to all sides of the wood item throughout the various wood finishing processes such as sanding, painting and sealing. Shellac is a natural resin produced by the Coccus lacca (lac beetle), that is harveted from trees in Southeast Asia. Always carry out a test before proceeding and if in doubt, contact our free wood finishing Advice Line on 01246 261664 before starting. Some contractors prefer to dilute the dye solution to a 50/50 ratio and apply it twice, with an hour of dry time between each application.
The eclectic nature of Victorian furniture later in the 19th century and the ease of trade with other parts of the world meant that mahogany, walnut and oak were all used by cabinet-makers. After the last coat of shellac has dried overnight, you could lightly rub it with 0000 steel wool to further smooth and blend everything. A shellac coating provides the ideal surface for the application and subsequent drying of the primarily boiled linseed oil sizing.
Keep furniture off for two weeks, and rugs off for the full 60 days so the fibers don’t stick. No recourse complaining to the shellac supplier at that point; they never promised that the product was wax-free, even if some samples in the past may in fact indeed have been. Flake Shellac has a virtually unlimited shelf life if kept dry, cool and out of direct sunlight, thus making this the most practical way of purchasing the product. It can be thinned and used as a a sanding sealer or a base for applying a wax polish.
Shellac is very inexpensive and can be a life saver depending on the piece you are working on. I have a post on my website noted below you may want to read. More shellac flakes or methylated spirit may be added to adjust strength according to your personal preference. As early as the sixteenth century, references were made to the usefulness of the lac bug secretions as a decorative lacquer for furniture and fine musical instruments. Add 250 g of Button Shellac Flakes to 1 L of methylated spirit and allow the shellac flakes to soak for a minimum of 24 hours or until all the shellac flakes have dissolved. In addition to adding a protective coat, it also can add a warm amber color to wood.
A shellac known as buttonlac, a very dark shellac, imparted a very deep walnut color to inexpensive woodwork that people then found very desirable. Apply the shellac/oil mixture to the prepared wood, spreading it evenly along the grain to cover the entire surface; work with a quick padding stroke, blending your strokes carefully. Use shellac as a base coat, and finish with two or three coats of hand-rubbed wax.
Most commonly used as a sealer, lacquers are favored for their low cost and quick dry time—an undercoat of lacquer seals the wood in just 15 minutes. Glen Huey is a former managing editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine, a period furniture maker and author of numerous woodworking books, videos and magazine articles. Typically, if the shellac is dark this will mean using either garnet or seedlac.