All Replies on Clueless...Deft over shellac? 1920s baseboards

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Clueless...Deft over shellac? 1920s baseboards

by NoCluePleaseHelp
posted 02-13-2017 02:08 PM

6 replies so far

View Rich's profile (online now)


5955 posts in 1468 days

#1 posted 02-13-2017 02:58 PM

It sounds like you’re down to clean, pretty much bare wood. Anything will adhere. By Deft, I assume you’re talking about brushing lacquer. That is one of my favorite top coats. I thin it and spray it, but in an environment like yours brushing makes sense.

Can you offer any more detail about color? What color was it, and what do you wish for a result?

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

View Lazyman's profile


5857 posts in 2266 days

#2 posted 02-13-2017 03:32 PM

Since water contact is likely to happen in the future due to mopping, you need to make sure that you use a finish that will not be a problem with water contact. I don’t have much experience with lacquer but the type of lacquer might determine how water resistant it is (?). Personally, I would probably go with polyurethane top coat but you could apply dewaxed shellac first to restore the natural color and put the poly coat on top of that for more water resistance. Shellac makes a great sanding sealer. Because of the age of the house, you might want to use an amber shellac to bring back the original color.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6496 posts in 3371 days

#3 posted 02-13-2017 03:35 PM

Shellac will allow most stuff to adhere well. Deft (or any NC Lacquer) would not be my choice. For baseboards I would want something that is quite a bit more durable, and maybe a whole lot less odor when being applied. Without considering the color part I would use a good quality varnish, or a good quality waterborne. The waterborne (think General Finishes HP or one of the others they offer) will dry quickly, and since the wood is probably still sealed with the shellac grain raising shouldn’t be a problem. But the color part may be a little tricky. Shellac does impart some color, but it would help to know what you are trying to get, also the wood the baseboards are made from.

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

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2 posts in 1347 days

#4 posted 02-17-2017 02:29 AM

Thank you! The man at my local hardware store helped me match the color. He was glad to help once he knew I didnt bring a 3ft piece of wainscoting in as a weapon. I used a rich mahogany and decided on a polyurethane finish. Wish I could post a picture of how well it turned out, next will be the handrail and stairs.

View Aj2's profile


3408 posts in 2676 days

#5 posted 02-17-2017 04:20 AM

I’ve found shellac to be very durable then most woodworker will admit.My good friend Gary that lays hardwood floors has mentions to me more than once about old hardwood floors with shellac finishes.
I also have a spot outside my shop that still has a good lump of button lac that remains from a small jar I dropped several years ago.
It’s been thru rain and hot sun and it’s still there.It looks kinda gray but it’s holding on.


-- Aj

View Kelly's profile


3152 posts in 3822 days

#6 posted 02-17-2017 06:56 PM

Years back, I had the pleasure of working the oldest Queen Ann in Olympia, Washington. Pretty much the entire house was cedar. Even the floors were cedar. They converted the attic to usable space, which meant adding to the floors.

I didn’t know how to match the new cedar to the old, but the primary contractor had a savy old fart who shared a secret with me – amber shellac. I tried it and it was a perfect match.

I can’t think of anything easier to touch up. No sanding needed, since the alcohol in the new coat melts into the last. That might be why the floors looked as good as they did, eighty years after the house was built.

I’m wondering if you have the same thing. If so, once you have the shellac on, just clear coat it with waterborne poly and you should have as durable as you need for baseboards. Too, you’ll know how to touch it up.

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