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View Madrona's profile

Shellac - I think I love it!

by Madrona
posted 12-26-2017 11:22 PM


17 replies so far

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8467 posts in 3435 days


#1 posted 12-26-2017 11:27 PM

French polish is my go to finish so …. I like it.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10859 posts in 2123 days


#2 posted 12-27-2017 01:04 AM

Nicely done.

Shellac is my go to. Very easy to apply and forgiving. I like French polishing a lot myself.

I like mixing my own though. Blonde and garnet.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View SouthpawCA's profile

SouthpawCA

273 posts in 3870 days


#3 posted 12-27-2017 01:13 AM

Now you should try mixing your own shellac using flakes and denatured alcohol. You get a lot more shellac color options. Shellac has become my only finish … you can get everything from a high gloss piano finish to a satin finish. And the best thing … if you don’t like the high gloss you can buff it down … or up..

-- Don

View sawdustdad's profile

sawdustdad

379 posts in 1522 days


#4 posted 12-27-2017 01:26 AM

I love shellac, too. It smells so much better than other solvent based finishes and doesn’t require a respirator! I still use wipe-on poly a lot, and polyurethane varnish for table tops, but most decorative articles get shellacked!

Remember, over time (approaching a century) shellac finishes will darken to the point the wood figure will be obscured, but probably not an issue in our lifetimes. Many of the antiques I’ve worked on that are 150 or more years old, have this issue.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

609 posts in 2106 days


#5 posted 12-27-2017 02:51 AM



I love shellac, too. It smells so much better than other solvent based finishes and doesn t require a respirator! I still use wipe-on poly a lot, and polyurethane varnish for table tops, but most decorative articles get shellacked!

Remember, over time (approaching a century) shellac finishes will darken to the point the wood figure will be obscured, but probably not an issue in our lifetimes. Many of the antiques I ve worked on that are 150 or more years old, have this issue.

- sawdustdad

People spend an incredible amount of time and energy trying to replicate that aged finish, so I don’t see it as a flaw of shellac. An heirloom furniture item evolves over time as it gains character and as it’s materials age.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View Gadabout55's profile

Gadabout55

27 posts in 2547 days


#6 posted 12-27-2017 03:26 AM

I’m also a new convert to shellac. What took me so long?

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10859 posts in 2123 days


#7 posted 12-27-2017 03:29 AM

I use garnet for that aged look.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Rich's profile

Rich

5238 posts in 1226 days


#8 posted 12-27-2017 05:08 AM

Be careful with heat. About 20 years ago I built a sofa table from quarter sawn cherry and French polished it with countless layers of shellac. It was the most beautiful table I’d done at the time. My ex-wife lit a couple of votive candles in little glass cups and set them on it. When they burned down, the glass got so hot, it melted into the surface. All I could do was break them free, leaving a deep divot with raw wood at the bottom. I repaired it, but it was never the same.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2690 posts in 2435 days


#9 posted 12-27-2017 06:46 AM

Madrona you should try using real flakes.The stuff in the can isn’t real shellac .
It’s like comparing real cheese to cheese wiz.
The best shellac finish are many many thin coats barely noticeable. I think many woodworkers are missing out not using shellac. I found it to be very durable for many things I make.
I buy my flake from malcome at the http://www.shellacshack.com/.

-- Aj

View Andre's profile

Andre

3079 posts in 2443 days


#10 posted 12-27-2017 07:31 AM

Pretty well stuck on the French Polish from Lee Valley. Then a little paste wax, let dry and polish. Unless it is for the Grankids, then Varathane!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View LeeMills's profile

LeeMills

699 posts in 1938 days


#11 posted 12-27-2017 02:18 PM

I use shellac for most everything. My items are functional so I do not want a high gloss. Yes I did french polish boxes back in the 80’s. Usually I thin the shellac (1 pt to 2-3 pts DNA) and coat the item. I then start burnishing with 0000 steel wool while wet and keep doing that until I a pleased with the luster. Usually I will then burnish with dry shavings if I want to bring the luster up a little.
For some small items I do like a high shine and use Mylands friction polish (yes shellac) to bring up a piano finish.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

3290 posts in 1859 days


#12 posted 12-27-2017 03:25 PM

The only fault I found with shellac is its durability, especially if it may come into contact with solvents (namely alcohol). Beyond that, it is a very friendly finish to work with. Too bad it has become so freaking expensive!

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

609 posts in 2106 days


#13 posted 12-27-2017 04:46 PM



The only fault I found with shellac is its durability, especially if it may come into contact with solvents (namely alcohol). Beyond that, it is a very friendly finish to work with. Too bad it has become so freaking expensive!

- splintergroup

The expense is probably why it’s not used as much. I was pretty ecstatic to find a pound of ruby shellac flakes (Woodcraft brand) in an unopened container at a thrift store for $1. Sometimes I’ll find quart cans of “expired” premixed shellac (Bullseye brand) at the local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store (secondhand building materials supply store). I always test these cans out, if a thin coat is dry and hard to the touch within an hour, I consider it usable.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5981 posts in 3130 days


#14 posted 12-27-2017 05:38 PM



The only fault I found with shellac is its durability, especially if it may come into contact with solvents (namely alcohol). Beyond that, it is a very friendly finish to work with. Too bad it has become so freaking expensive!

- splintergroup

That’s pretty much where I’m at. I use shellac a lot, but not if durability is needed, like on table tops and such.

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

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

3346 posts in 3414 days


#15 posted 12-27-2017 08:29 PM

I enjoy French polishing – but I use several other finishes as well.

-- David in Palm Bay, FL

View ArtMann's profile (online now)

ArtMann

1467 posts in 1453 days


#16 posted 12-28-2017 01:01 AM

Shellac is not a very durable finish. I don’t think it is suitable for a dining table or desk or anywhere that might encounter abrasion or any of several chemicals and cleaners that will remove or cloud the finish.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2690 posts in 2435 days


#17 posted 12-28-2017 02:54 AM

I don’t know what you guys are talking about shellac is very durable finish. I’ve even heard from my friend who is a excellent floor guy that it was used for floors. I spilled a good cup of button lac outside my shop and the blob stayed there for years through sun rain and me power washing.
Now the stuff that’s sold in cans is not the same as flakes or buttons. Dewaxed shellac is not as hard as the stuff with its wax. At least that’s been my observation.

-- Aj

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