LumberJocks

Walnut table top finish problems

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by vhcconstruction1 posted 07-04-2018 06:11 PM 1743 views 0 times favorited 36 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View vhcconstruction1's profile

vhcconstruction1

10 posts in 525 days


07-04-2018 06:11 PM

Hello all,
I just made a walnut table for a client now I am in a nightmare.. for finishing, I did a french polish. Now I have done many of these but this one is not acting as it should. I can’t for sure say how many rubs of the shellac I did, but guessing around 120 to 150, then wet sanded to 12000. Let it cure for a couple days, waxed it and delivered it. Well it is taking on water rings like I have never seen before. One of his coasters even left foot marks into the finish. I don’t know what happened I guess. It seems so soft but then again feels like it always has before. So now I plan to go pick it up to redo it.

He wants poly on it now. I explained that it would not have as nice of a finish, but he wants it indestructible. So should I sand to bare wood, re oil then poly it? Can I just sand of all the marks then poly over the shellac? Or should I sand smooth then epoxy it?


36 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5570 posts in 2913 days


#1 posted 07-04-2018 09:02 PM

There are 2 problems with shellac as a table surface, one is that alcohol will dissolve it, so if an adult beverage gets on there it will eat into the surface. The second problem is heat, that leaves a nice ring if someone sets a hot tea cup or coffee cup on it. Coating it with poly will solve the first problem but it may not solve the second problem as the shellac will still react to the heat underneath the poly. Unfortunately for you, stripping and refinishing with poly is going the safest bet. You sure don’t want it to come back again. I wouldn’t epoxy it, oil base poly is plenty durable enough. I would never French polish a table that was to be sold, just too fragile a surface. Too bad, because it looks like you did an outstanding job.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View vhcconstruction1's profile

vhcconstruction1

10 posts in 525 days


#2 posted 07-04-2018 09:13 PM

Thanks for the reply, Normally I would have used poly but the client wanted the french polish, He had plenty of warnings. Thanks for the finish compliment, I had to have a couple cocktails before I took the alcohol to it. But have it stripped down, re-sanded and oiled with a coat of poly already on.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2565 posts in 2360 days


#3 posted 07-04-2018 09:14 PM

Please tell us you didn’t use shellac from a can.
To remove your finish just soak up some alcohol in a rag and start wiping it will come right off no sanding.
It will also be a nice surface because most likely all the pores will be filled.
Take precautions using that much alcohol it’s not good to breathe or get absorbed in your skin.
It’s a very nice looking table
Good luck

-- Aj

View LesB's profile

LesB

2232 posts in 4005 days


#4 posted 07-04-2018 09:26 PM

I tend to agree with Bondo. But a good quality water base poly will also work. There are some made for floors that are particularly hard.

Poly will work over the Shellac ….If sanding removes the water rings I would do that and then apply 3 to 4 coats of poly sanding lightly with 400 grit between each coat. Each coat should dry for 24 hours. On the final coat (after it has dried for at least 72 hours at 70 degrees or more) I would do a final wax polish using the White 3M pad to apply the wax and then hand buff with a soft cloth. It should look almost as good as the French Polish you worked so hard on.

You didn’t mention what “oil” you used as the first coat but I doubt you need to add more because most oil soaks into the wood and so it should still be there if you don’t sand into the wood surface. If the water marks reached the wood you may need to treat them with some stain to correct the color.
Good luck.

-- Les B, Oregon

View vhcconstruction1's profile

vhcconstruction1

10 posts in 525 days


#5 posted 07-04-2018 09:37 PM

I used boiled linseed oil, I gave it a quick sanding after stripping so oiled it to even everything out, looks great so far.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12945 posts in 2942 days


#6 posted 07-04-2018 09:37 PM

If he was warned, I would charge him for the labor, but not materials.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Rich's profile

Rich

5001 posts in 1151 days


#7 posted 07-04-2018 10:01 PM


If he was warned, I would charge him for the labor, but not materials.

- Woodknack

Dunno. It sounds like the french polish was flawed. It might have the shortcomings people mentioned, but to have a coaster sink into it just isn’t right. Obviously, the shellac wasn’t hardened. Either he used a product that was way out of date, or he built the finish too thick too fast.

View vhcconstruction1's profile

vhcconstruction1

10 posts in 525 days


#8 posted 07-04-2018 10:14 PM

I think I built up the layers of shellac too quick, I did it over a period of 4 days. The shellac was freshly made with a new can of alcohol. When I picked it up I did some testing with cold and hot water, it did take a bit time to get any discoloring. Scratch test was pretty hard. I really think that I also delivered it way too soon, should have let it cure longer. I’ll get the poly looking good though. As far as the customer, he has no problem paying, he has been a loyal customer for at least 15 years.

View vhcconstruction1's profile

vhcconstruction1

10 posts in 525 days


#9 posted 07-04-2018 10:16 PM

I used Liberon to a 1-1/2 cut

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2565 posts in 2360 days


#10 posted 07-04-2018 11:49 PM



I used Liberon to a 1-1/2 cut

Your first mistake was you didn’t take the time for the shellac to harden.I would have taken at least a month maybe more depending on the weather.
Your second mistake was the boiled linseed oil it will take at least a month or more to dry what a shame.:(

-- Aj

View vhcconstruction1's profile

vhcconstruction1

10 posts in 525 days


#11 posted 07-05-2018 03:11 PM

I have been putting shellac over linseed oil for at least 15 years, never have had a problem. I have even sprayed and brushed poly over linseed oil as well.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2565 posts in 2360 days


#12 posted 07-05-2018 05:23 PM

Oh wow that’s interesting. Your knowledge and skills are very high. :)

-- Aj

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

2979 posts in 1502 days


#13 posted 07-05-2018 05:43 PM

The client said “French polish” or wanted a piano like finish? Why didn’t you go with lacquer?

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View vhcconstruction1's profile

vhcconstruction1

10 posts in 525 days


#14 posted 07-05-2018 06:05 PM

Oh wow that’s interesting. Your knowledge and skills are very high. :) ??? what is this Kindergarten? I just stated that I have not had any problems using linseed oil in the past. With your obvious vast knowledge of what I do or do not know, what is your process of using oil? And as far as my knowledge and skills, I will never be a master craftsman, because in every thing we do there might be a different way of doing it that will always come along or come up from the past. If a person believes they are the best and know it all, then they stopped learning, they just resort to ridiculing others for their misgivings. So if you want to talk about using oil in finishing like a adult, I would love to have that conversation with you.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2565 posts in 2360 days


#15 posted 07-05-2018 07:23 PM

Take it easy vh, I don’t use linseed oil I remember it weeping out for weeks plus it just another fire hazard with the rags. My comment was definitely snarky and I apologize. I will try to take this forum more seriously so I don’t step on others that might be joining the community.
You table looks great and we need more work like that here.
Once again I apologize for being a jerk.
I will punish myself by sitting in the hot sun for one hour without water.:}

-- Aj

showing 1 through 15 of 36 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com