Shellac

You’ve discovered a great piece of furniture, but the once-shiny finish has seen better days. This dissolved form of shellac is sold as French polish under trade names such as ‘special pale polish’ or ‘button polish’ depending on the exact preparation. These brushes have extremely soft, fine bristles that act as a reservoir for the polish and give an almost perfect finish to the work. Shellac works perfect for blocking bleed through on any piece your going to paint. They soak into the wood and provide a thin, natural-looking finish that’s easy to apply. Eventually the shellac breaks down with exposure to the elements and washes away.

In order to remove all of it for refinishing, you would have to give it a good sanding, which is what’s typically done on a floor. A test for suspected old shellac is easy – simply dissolve the flakes in alcohol. To apply a wax stick, simply draw it on by pressing it into the defect with the tip of the wax stick, a putty knife, or your finger and then remove the excess with a putty knife or piece of plastic. Its bristles should be dipped about 3/4 of the way into the shellac and gently cleared of excess shellac against the rim of the container. For example, if the wrong solvent or procedure is used to clean a surface, the existing finish may be destroyed.

If you miss a spot when applying the shellac, avoid going back to touch it up. Because shellac dries very quickly, the partially dried shellac that is already applied will not blend smoothly into the fresh application. The table is made of white pine so what I did was color it with some old English dark Furniture oil. The best advice I can give you on the subject of finishing wood is to experiment.

You emailed me some advice last year on refinishing our 1905 foursquare wood work and we followed it, I meant to get back with you and say we were successful and thank you!!! Buff out the wax with a clean rag when you’re done, and then admire the beautiful finish you’ve put on your project. The first use of shellac as a protective coating appears as early as 1590 in a work by an English writer while visiting India and documenting local cultures, an extract from his text provides one of the earliest known observations of shellac application.

If there are carving or small details in your work, I suggest you use a French Polisher’s Mop to apply the initial coats of shellac, once you build a body of material you can then work the surface with your rubber. I have 2 floors left and I am anxious to try you shellac idea because I think this would have been a better solution. I switched up my finishing system 5 years ago to a shellac base and poly top coat. Apply shellac as you would if the area was new, until you match the original finish. Shellac is used as a dye, previously in fabric, and to this day in oriental carpets.

True oils are liquids, the stuff that drips out of your car onto your driveway – the last thing you want around fine wood. You will see the spray in a few seconds will disappear and this ensures you that you cleaned out the nozzle and won’t have a clogged can next time you need to use it. Always do this before placing your spray paint or spray shellac away and you will never have a plugged nozzle! This lightens the color of the amber shellac considerably and will make it much easier to brush out. Look up a furniture stripper or two in the phone book, or ask your paint dealer for a recommendation.

The shellac will seal the wood just enough to keep the stain from penetrating deeply. If you haven’t used shellac before – then don’t use a brush to put it on. Rather take a look at the small description here on how to polish an existing surface. It’s tricky to apply and isn’t recommended for DIY — it dries very fast, so speed and a deft touch are needed to avoid lap marks.

If you don’t want to darken your wood (which wax tends to do), first apply a base coat of shellac or sanding sealer that penetrates and seals the wood. But shellac was also very popular as a wood sealant and coating and was used at any level when it was available. However, by the middle of the 20th century, most contractors and building owners had switched from shellac finishes to cheap petroleum-based wood varnishes, lacquers and urethanes. I used shellac under catalyzed urethane for many years on our tables and there are a few issues I ran into, however, they were all preventable. After coating the surface completely, tip off the shellac along the grain of the wood.

So my question is how likely is my assumption about this orange tone since no modern stain comes close, at least none I can findThe natural wood underneath when planed seems redder then walnut but may be from deep saturation of whatever stain or shellac was used. After cutting back to remove any ridges, the application process is repeated until the desired level of finish is achieved. The chart above provides a reference for what to keep away from shellac finishes, particularly alcohol, ammonia, strong soaps and heat. In 1981, I opened my own Santa Rosa studio and built one-of-a-kind furniture throughout the 1980s.

Unless you thin shellac a good deal, it has a tendency to ridge at the edge of brush strokes and orange peel when sprayed. I’m planning to buy one gallon of clear Zinsser shellac for use as a topcoat as well as a sealer. So-called long oil has the richest mix of oil, so its strength is water­proofing, making it perfect for the boatyard; medium oil is very dura­ble, so it’s the right candidate for floor finishes Short oil leaves a hard and brittle finish, suitable for furniture.