Shellac for cabinet drawer boxes?

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Forum topic by tkeenan posted 04-02-2020 03:57 AM 292 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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38 posts in 1240 days

04-02-2020 03:57 AM

I was thinking of using Zinsser clear shellac for the finish of some hard maple kitchen cabinet drawer boxes. Any issues with using shellac for this? I’d rather use something other than water based poly (Polycrylic).

5 replies so far

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3041 posts in 2234 days

#1 posted 04-02-2020 07:03 AM

I like shellac for drawer boxes. But I don’t like shellac in kitchen drawers.
Kitchen drawers get all kinds of stuff spilled inside: worst kinds of things like ketchup and soy sauce packets. Alcohol, or anything acidic is going to make the shellac tacky, and then everything sticks to bottom.
Makes a mess. DAMHIK
Would leave box unfinished, before I would use shellac in kitchen?

Also not a fan of WB polycrylic for drawers either. It’s more durable than shellac, but not much.
Suggest a commercial grade of pre-cat lacquer, or WB Polyurethane.
If limiting your choices to retail finishes, try Varathane poly from BORG. Sprayed a set of shop drawers with Varathane WB Poly and floor version WB poly as test. Both worked great. The floor version was slight bit harder, and lower solids for thinner film. Either is much better than polycrylic. Would not hesitate to use them again for non-critical surface finish like drawer box.


-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6191 posts in 3233 days

#2 posted 04-02-2020 10:40 AM

Shellac may not be as durable as you want for kitchen drawers, but should you decide to use it it will be easily repairable. Generally I prefer (for kitchen/bath drawers) on of the waterborne finishes, I normally use a GF product but most of them would be good.

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

View tkeenan's profile


38 posts in 1240 days

#3 posted 04-02-2020 01:58 PM

Thank you both for the suggestions. Some very sound advice. I have a Woodcraft near me, so I may check out the General Finishes stuff they have.

View Axis39's profile


204 posts in 337 days

#4 posted 04-02-2020 09:44 PM

My concerns with shellac in the kitchen are heat and alcohol. Both will turn the shellac gummy.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

View cracknpop's profile


413 posts in 3088 days

#5 posted 04-03-2020 02:02 AM

If you have the ability to spray, I like to use pre-cat lacquer. Quick to dry. Fairly durable. Easy to repair. Not as quick to off gas smell as shellac, but still fairly quick. My current source is Sherwin Williams.

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

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