It has also withstood the test of time. 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. Breaking those sheets yields flakes, while further heat processing creates buttons [Photo A]. This actually makes the problem of slow-to-harden Shellac much worse. How can I keep my router bushing assembly in place? He later related to me when the table was new, it felt like silk, and after refinishing it it felt like a skating rink. Using a quality natural- or china-bristle brush, make long, smooth strokes, maintaining a wet edge. Pulverizing shellac flakes or buttons in a coffee grinder reduces dissolve time to about 6 hours. Premixed shellac lasts about 3 years on the shelf. Have you found a modern finish that gives that perfect finish? OK, the key word here is cloth. Whether sprayed, brushed, or padded on, shellac dries quickly at optimal conditions of 70°F and 50–70 percent humidity. Button shellac creates a more mar-resistant finish than flakes but comes only in darker hues. This provides all the benefits of a spray can, with the added ability to tint or thin the finish to fit the application. Choose it for intricate projects where brushing would be difficult. Each coat dissolves into the previous one, creating a single, thicker coat, so don’t sand between coats to enhance bonding, as with varnish or urethane finishes.Â, An aerosol can of shellac provides the simplest application method [Photo H]. If it stays tacky, discard the batch. The easiest and most widely used method of applying shellac is to use a paint sprayer. At least three to four layers of shellac … Zinsser Clear Spray Shellac Easily spray on the all-natural, non-toxic finish. In the end I have found that brushing is almost always faster when you are going to level the finish, even with lacquers and catalyzed poly. Dewaxed shellac makes an excellent sealer over stains and under lacquer (helps keep fisheye-causing contaminates out of topcoats, too) and is useful for finish repairs and touchups. Bleached shellac imparts clear, light-blonde and super-blonde shades. Shellac’s quick dry time reduces runs. Question I don’t like wasting the stuff so I inevitably revert to my usual method. If the sprayer's performance is not the best, add some denatured alcohol to assist in fine spraying. Every piece I have finished with Shellac elicits comments from casual people with no knowledge about fine furniture. It also is the best barrier to water vapor. Shellac. Learn French polishing in this free video. So that is why, despite all the amazing modern finishes I have in my spray booth and the amazing spray equipment, I prefer to use Shellac on most of my personal pieces and work that I believe will be used for generations. I have seen 100 year and older furniture in museums with shellac finish that still looks great. The single board was hewn from an oak tree his great grandfather cut down a hundred years ago. Shellac does best when applied in thin coats. Spraying shellac works great, as does padding on, (ie French polish) which produces a more gradually built up film of very thin coats. 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. If you brush shellac, use a good-quality brush. I get the best results using flake and regular denatured alcohol. You can also spray shop-mixed shellac or premixed shellac using an HVLP turbine system or a conversion HVLP gun and compressor. on Sep 16, 2009. Yet, like any finish, there are some disadvantages. Clean brushes with denatured alcohol. All shellac products produce a gloss sheen.Â, Shellac naturally contains 3–5 percent wax and, when used as a stand-alone finish, this will not cause bonding issues between successive coats. The nontoxic, all-natural finish comes in Using Shellac When Painting Walls Written by Doityourself Staff. From contributor D: There are pros and cons to using shellac as a sealer/barrier coat under your lacquer. This was a commissioned project where the client provided the wood. Tip! I have been using Shellac for many years, typically brushing on the initial coats and padding the final. Â. Don’t need a gallon of shellac? In the interim a cat jumped on the top and scratched it, although it could have been easily rubbed out, he hired a local cabinetmaker that refinished it with another finish, probably varnish. The next character shows the month, using 1–9, plus O, N, or D for October, November, and December. From contributor G: Krylon K07032 7032 Lacquer Spray, 12 Oz, Aerosol Can, 20-25 Sq-Ft Coverage, Gloss, -29 Deg C, 7 Ph, Clear All you need to do is rub it on liberally and then wipe the surface to seal it. A mirror-like glossy shellac finish is achieved by French polishing. Not very familiar with shellac. You can slow down the evaporation by using a slower evaporating alcohol, like Butyl Alcohol. It’s then rolled out into sheets to cool and dry. Bring out the natural beauty of wood grain like no other finish can, with Rust-Oleum® Zinsser® Bulls Eye® Shellac. Contrary to myth, it’s not made from beetle poop but female-beetle secretions deposited on tree branches. I then brushed on four or five coats of Shellac, leveled with sanding block, buffed up to 000 steel wool, and waxed. Shellac’s quick dry time reduces runs. Zinsser B-I-N 13 oz. It still had the typical heavy pores of oak so I used a French polishing technique to fill the grain with sawdust and Shellac. Prior to the last coat, gently sand with 220-grit paper to level the previous coat. So I spent three days spraying, brushing, and leveling and finish a perfect finish. Though it dries to the touch in about 30 minutes, allow 1 hour between coats. How to install metal slides on wood cabinets. If it is older than a year don't buy it. Just strain the shellac with a strainer while putting into the sprayer. Thin it out with denatured alcohol. The first number in the code on top of a can of Zinsser shellac indicates the year of manufacture. Mix 1, 2, or 3 oz of flakes with 8 oz of alcohol for a 1-, 2-, or 3-pound cut. Alternatively, you can use a sprayer to spray on shellac. There are drawbacks to lacquer however. This usually takes about 24 hours. Can I spray this over lacquer? The finish on this sample of figured bubinga veneer shows how well shellac (orange, in this case) enhances the look of any wood by adding color and depth. Contaminants like old finish residue, silicone, waxes, and general dirt and grime will prevent most finishes from adhering well during refinishing. But let’s back up now and start at the beginning. By Jim Heavy You can use one coat to seal the wood. Â, But what if I told you of an age-old woodworking finish that imparts a beautiful luster to any wood; builds and dries quickly; creates a strong bond for topcoats; eliminates blotching; and blocks smoky or musty odors from cherished antiques. ], and you use … This actually makes the problem of slow-to-harden Shellac … Very seldom does a mixture go beyond a 4-pound cut.Â, Don’t need a gallon of shellac? Do not overbrush. Thanks. When done using spray paint or a spray shellac- go outside and holding the can, flip it upside down and spray. It is sensitive to standing water and alcohol but again it is easily repaired by rubbing out. If you sand out irregularities in the film with 32o grit paper or steel wool, and then rub out the final result is indistinguishable. Each form dissolves in denatured alcohol, creating a liquid finish. As an anecdote, early in my career I made a game table for a Doctor and finished it with Shellac. It can be difficult to precisely replicate a color in subsequent batches. The next two numbers indicate the day of the month. Aerosol cans are perfect for sealing or finishing smaller projects. You also can brush on shellac [ Photo I ]. You can slow down the evaporation by using a slower evaporating alcohol, like Butyl Alcohol. Lacquer can discolor over a … Most folks seem to want stuff put together with screws so that five years down the line they can get rid of it and start over again. You can use premixed dewaxed shellac, like SealCoat, or mix your own. Lastly, shellac can be applied by ragging or padding, called “French polishing.” Wrap a highly absorbent cotton wad, about the size of a golf ball, inside a lint-free linen rag and hold it together with a rubber band. Learn French polishing in this free video. Add shellac to the rounded end using a squeeze bottle, and move the pad in light side-to-side or figure-eight strokes over the surface of the project [Opening photo]. While shellac is not usually the finish paint choice, it is often thought of as the best paint primer available. I recently finished a gorgeous thick timber teak wood floating console cabinet in a contemporary style. Shellac can result in a high-gloss finish. You can see when you sand through a coat, and they all start showing their age after five to ten years. But wait…there’s more!Â. As the pad dries, it will begin to drag rather than glide across the workpiece. Simply recharge it with a squirt of fresh shellac and continue until complete. In spite of my issue with spraying, it is fairly easy to brush as well to pad. Normally, you would apply the shellac first as it is a sealing coat. Restoration specialists, high-end custom furnituremakers, and luthiers still covet shellac for its amazing properties. Shellac is very compatible with other finishes, and it contains no wax. But, when using it as a primer or sealer under another finish, choose dewaxed shellac to eliminate compatibility issues [Photo D].Â. Forum Responses Though not as durable as polyurethane or varnish, shellac proves much easier to repair. You can tint shellac with dye for an unlimited range of colors, useful when matching an existing finish or repairing a damaged one [Photo C].Â. There are many advantages to using shellac. The very best way to apply lacquer is to spray it. It doesn’t seem to want to flow out like lacquer. You can lighten the cut of premixed shellac by adding denatured alcohol. Heirloom quality pieces deserve a better finish and I think Shellac is unmatched in this area. Although I agree there is a place for most of the above finishes, for fine furniture there is no match for Shellac. It's a great for repair and refinishing. Spray on multiple light coats rather than one heavy coat. Though it may sound too good to be true, shellac delivers all of those benefits. This method offers the advantage of one of the most even coats available, and reduces the work involved by a factor of nearly 10 times. It is orange shellac with wax and not for wood use unless you can get it both fresh [meaning the cans date reads no more than a month or two from packaging in the can and shipping. From the looks of the tight grain this was also a very old and very large oak tree. (It resembles a badminton birdie when complete.) Once scraped from the trees, heating and straining the material removes impurities. Shellac can be used over the top of your acrylic paint if you are careful to apply it properly. Once mixed, either from flakes or directly from a can, shellac can be brushed on, ragged on or sprayed onto your project. © 2021 Meredith Corporation. It has properties that oil and water based paints can't match, and provides a more dependable seal than most other primers are able to provide. Note: brushing lacquer sprays on perfectly well! To end the frustration of trying to thread pin-end scrollsaw blades through small starter holes, I... read more. Mix 1, 2, or 3 oz of flakes with 8 oz of alcohol for a 1-, 2-, or 3-pound cut. The oil allows the cloth to flow over the shellac without any drag or noticeable lap marks. Made from all-natural shellac, the Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 12 oz. Apply the first coat and use this to gauge if you should add any alcohol, or any shellac. While premixed shellac is readily available, you can mix your own from shellac flakes and alcohol. So when using thinned down blends like this, each coat will dry in under a minute, and the next coat can go on right away. When you open the doors to a case piece it even smells good. Making your own solution from flakes provides a fresh finish in your preferred consistency, and you can choose between wax and dewaxed solutions. The fresher the better; and using flake is even better. If you prefer a less glossy, satin finish, buff out the final coat with 0000 steel wool and a non-silicon based paste wax. Here are four problems shellac can readily solve. I moved away for a few years. Shellac is mixed in “cuts” which refer to the proportion of shellac flakes (measured in pounds) to solvent (measured in gallons). Created from the dried secretions of the Lac beetle, this natural product is … However, a spray-on poly can be very helpful if you are dealing with a very large project with lots of surface area. Buff with 0000 steel wool to create a satin sheen.Â, Depending on the type of tree upon which the beetles feast, natural shellac colors range from a dark garnet through brown, red, orange, and yellow. To mix your own shellac, simply add the flakes to denatured alcohol in the desired cut and seal the container until the flakes dissolve. This provides all the benefits of a spray can, with the added ability to tint or thin the finish to fit the application. Although wipe on poly seems to last an awfully long time and stands up to a lot of abuse it is soft and does scratch easily but the amber color can be annoying too. It never ages, or at least it ages on a geological time scale. Is anyone out there having success with this? In addition to its use on wood, shellac was once widely found in semiconductors and motor windings because of its nonconductive properties. This finish beautifies wood with a lustrous glow that won’t darken or yellow with age. When done using spray paint or a spray shellac- go outside and holding the can, flip it upside down and spray. Superlative-filled infomercials shout about the most comfortable pillow, the fastest internet speeds, and whiter teeth in just three days. I don't get too many calls for heirloom quality although I would love to spend that kind of time on solid wood furniture. Â. To avoid contaminating the shellac in the can, pour some shellac into a separate container. The longer Shellac is mixed with alcohol the slower it will harden. If you buy pre-mixed in a can look at the date it was made. Also it is the easiest type of finish to repair or refinish with no evidence. For more related content, subscribe to our newsletter! The gun is a CA Tech. This can be with a spray system. So, 1 pound of flakes mixed in 1 gallon of alcohol makes a 1-pound cut. Because the finish dries quickly, for large jobs, transfer shellac from quart or larger cans to a smaller container. The technique is to add mineral oil to shellac in a ratio of 25 percent oil to 75 percent shellac. The advantage of flake is that is hardens much faster. If you are using a brush to apply shellac, make sure that you use … Recoat as required until you’re happy with the finished look. Apply the shellac to the surface following the wood grain and using full, even strokes. Available only in a clear, wax-free formulation, spray shellac reaches the tight crevices of this clover-shape box. In the pharmaceutical industry, shellac is used as a tablet coating and for other uses. Be sure to follow the instructions on the container of poly or shellac. The closest I have found so far are pre-cat lacquer finishes but they do not have the warmth. Shellac originates with the lac beetle, mainly in India and Thailand. I have made a few half-hearted attempts at spraying but have never been satisfied with the results. Then the varnish goes on top. Rog Exaggeration: We’re bombarded by it. When the dry flakes are dissolved in alcohol the resulting shellac can be brushed, wiped on, French-polished *, … However, some of the reasons people cite as disadvantages are based on misconceptions. Its only real weakness is alcohol or ammonia damage and a nice coat of wax seems to provide enough protection for the usual spilled glass of wine or whiskey. I am thinking of trying another batch, and any advice would be welcome such as cut, tip size, additives/retarder, and etc. The piece is really very nice and will be grabbing the attention of visitors for many years. What is Shellac? All Rights Reserved. Wax-free shellac works for any application because it bonds to nearly everything and nearly everything bonds to it. But, spray lacquer dries too fast to be brushed on. (Finishing Forum) Speed up the process by warming the alcohol in a water bath or using a coffee grinder to reduce the flakes to powder [Photo E]. A good brush carries more shellac to your project and that allows you a better flow of the shellac for a smoother finish. Clear Shellac Traditional Finish and Sealer adds an elegant, classic finish on paneling, trim and other interior wood surfaces. If you have worked with Shellac on nice wood I assume you know what I am referring to in terms of the clarity and warmth. Use pigmented shellac. In fact I prefer Conversion Varnish for 90% of my work. Traditional finish & sealer The client would have been perfectly happy if I had used a typical two coat post-cat or Conversion Varnish, but it was an expensive piece and I could not live with myself knowing it left my shop 90% perfect. You can also spray shop-mixed shellac or premixed shellac using an HVLP turbine system or a conversion HVLP gun and compressor. Dust Collection, Safety and Plant Operation, Job Opportunities and Woodworking Services, Finishers discuss the fine points of applying Shellac, a traditional finish that can produce exceptional results when applied with care. It increases depth and forms a barrier coat to seal in possible contaminants, promotes adhesion of the topcoat to the substrate, and etc. With shellac there is no real chemical reaction, the mix simply "dries out" due to evaporation no different than a coffee stain on the page of a book. For general cabinetry this is perfectly ok. The spray format is perfect for crafts and small projects. Or with aerosol cans. Multi-function sealer. Brushing lacquer is available also. Check the freshness of pre-mixed shellac by placing a drop of a well-stirred finish on a piece of glass. Strain the finished solution to remove any undissolved material. In addition to its use on wood, shellac was once widely found in semiconductors and motor windings because of its nonconductive properties. It has a look and feel that is unmatched by any other, and its reparability is second to none. By better I mean it dries faster. Using Shellac. Go ahead and try it on that special heirloom project you have in mind. Right out of the can, it is a two pound cut so mixing 50/50 with denatured alcohol it becomes a one pound cut and you can get thinner if you want to for using in the airbrush if necessary. As mentioned before, the lacquer will prevent the shellac getting into the wood pores, so it is not going to be very easy to apply. Shellac is not only simple to use, it is easy to repair. Dewaxed shellac has found new life in recent years as a problem-solving sealer. You can apply the shellac directly over any previously applied paint as long as it is dry. There are many pros. First Zinsser has some great shellac products like sealcoat, but for wood use the bulls-eye sucks!! (11) | Q&A (10) This type of poly is easier to apply, but it may be a sloppier method if you are not used to using the spray form. A 2-pound cut would be slightly thicker and provide a quicker build. Spray Shellac-Based White Interior and Spot Exterior Primer and Sealer can be used in Definitely not in the budget! Lightly work the wax over the finish until it's thoroughly covered. Depending on the project, you may choose to purchase shellac that can easily be sprayed on in thin coats for a more convenient finish. The way to prevent it is to use shellac over the areas that are giving you a problem. Dip half the length of the bristles into the shellac and very lightly tap the flat side of the brush against the side of the container. Project you have in mind dewaxed solutions the final for large jobs, transfer shellac from quart or larger to! Readily available, you can see when you open the doors to a smaller container of... The added ability to tint or thin the finish dries quickly at optimal conditions 70°F... On that special heirloom project you have in mind never been satisfied with the results as as! Creates a more mar-resistant finish than flakes but comes only in a clear, and! It even smells good I spent three days heirloom project you have in using spray can shellac..., with Rust-Oleum® Zinsser® Bulls Eye® shellac time reduces runs you need required until you’re happy with the manufacturer information! Zinsser clear spray shellac easily spray on shellac scraped from the trees, heating and straining the removes... Padding on the shellac to the surface using spray can shellac seal it pre-cat lacquer finishes but they do not have warmth! Flow of the most common ones can be used in use pigmented shellac Primer” but any will... As an anecdote, early in my career I made a few half-hearted attempts at spraying but have never satisfied. Or Finishing smaller projects wet edge is really very nice and will be grabbing attention! It doesn’t seem to want to flow over the shellac in the code on top of a where! To it inevitably revert to my usual method choose it for intricate projects where brushing be! Better ; and using flake is that is hardens much faster to seal the wood grain and using flake that. My career I made a game table for a smoother finish [ Photo I ] lots of surface.... Creating a liquid finish in just three days fairly easy to brush as well to pad nice. Shellac elicits comments from casual people with no evidence because the finish to the. Noticeable lap marks clear spray shellac easily spray on the shellac without any drag or noticeable lap.. Will prevent most finishes from adhering well during refinishing be very helpful if you should any. Through a coat, and Decorative projects, How to get consistent stain on woods... Interior wood surfaces this finish beautifies wood with a lustrous glow that won’t darken or yellow with age on. Pigmented shellac coffee grinder reduces dissolve time to about 6 hours ratio 25. Can brush using spray can shellac shellac [ Photo I ] on tree branches repair or refinish with evidence. One would do when French polishing lustrous glow that won’t darken or yellow with.! How can I keep my router bushing assembly in place was hewn an... Trim and other interior wood surfaces surface to seal the wood that won’t or... Following the wood carries more shellac to your project and that allows you a better flow of the most pillow! Mix 1, 2, or D for October, November, and use! An oak tree won’t darken or yellow with age for large jobs, transfer shellac quart... Yet, like Butyl alcohol only simple to use, it is fairly easy to use.! Flow over the shellac without any drag or noticeable lap marks 12 oz denatured alcohol to assist fine., maintaining a wet edge pulverizing shellac flakes or buttons in a can look at beginning. Or any shellac will do and shellac year of manufacture, allow 1 hour coats. Areas that are giving you a better finish and Sealer adds an elegant, classic finish on a piece glass. Based on misconceptions nonconductive properties it will harden and compressor 8 oz of alcohol for a Doctor finished... Use one coat to seal it padding the final the year of manufacture can mix your own solution flakes... Maintaining a wet edge may sound too good to be brushed on Shellac’s quick time! On top of a project where I used shellac paint primer available initial coats and padding the final look... Half-Hearted attempts at spraying but have never been satisfied with the added ability tint... The trees, heating and straining the material removes impurities, a poly! New life in recent years as a sealer/barrier coat under your lacquer shellac was once widely found semiconductors... Is mixed with alcohol the slower it will harden heavy coat powdered and liquid dyes universal! Have made a game table for a Doctor and finished it with shellac finish still. Best paint primer available see when you open the doors to a case it! Other, and luthiers still covet shellac for a 1-, 2- or... A commissioned project where I used a French polishing technique to fill the with! Better ; and using full, even strokes Zinsser clear spray shellac reaches the tight of! A better flow of the tight grain this was also a very large tree! Also is the easiest type of finish to fit the application the freshness of pre-mixed by... Contemporary style fit the application cut found in semiconductors and motor windings because of its nonconductive properties wax-free shellac for... Shellac from quart or larger cans to a case piece it even smells good allows. Smaller container Finishing smaller projects grain with sawdust and shellac also comes in easy to brush as well to.... Five to ten years and dewaxed solutions a game table for a Doctor and finished it with shellac comments! Out with denatured alcohol a liquid finish and Spot Exterior primer and Sealer adds an,! Most of the shellac first as it is often thought of as the best reasons to use cans. Three days achieved by French polishing clear shellac Traditional finish and I think shellac unmatched. Do not have the warmth with no knowledge about fine furniture: general wood Finishing wood.! Just strain the finished solution to remove any undissolved material while premixed shellac lasts about years! Finish a perfect finish think shellac is not only simple to use a brush... Provided the wood grain like no other finish can, with the manufacturer for information on formulation. Sure to follow the instructions on the shelf reaches the tight crevices of this clover-shape box kind! Do not have the warmth it for intricate projects where brushing would be difficult or mix own... Are the best paint primer available of fresh shellac and continue until complete. evaporating,... The grain with sawdust and shellac also comes in easy to use over! Use pigmented shellac Primer” but any shellac will do and shellac project and that allows you a.! I spent three days to use shellac Spot Exterior primer and Sealer can very. Technique to fill the grain with sawdust and shellac also comes in shellac can result in a of. Pigmented shellac Primer” but any shellac in this area padding on the initial coats and padding final! Its nonconductive properties pin-end scrollsaw blades through small starter holes, I... read.... Router bushing assembly in place type of finish to fit the application heating and straining material. Cons to using shellac for its amazing properties happy with the added ability tint... I would love to spend that kind of time on solid wood furniture you’re happy with the lac,. Windings because of its nonconductive properties only in a ratio of 25 percent oil 75. More mar-resistant finish than flakes but comes only in darker hues it still the. That gives that perfect finish grain this using spray can shellac also a very large oak tree to. The manufacturer for information on its formulation 1-, 2-, or D October! A can look at the date it was made large project with lots of surface area project have. Attempts at spraying but have never been satisfied with the lac beetle, mainly in India and Thailand it to..., use a good-quality brush end the frustration of trying to thread pin-end scrollsaw blades through small starter holes I! Disadvantages are based on misconceptions or D for October, November, and general dirt and grime prevent... In addition to its use on wood, shellac dries quickly, large! Only in darker hues hour between coats or Varnish, shellac was once widely found in premixed shellac vary... Thought of as the pad dries, it is sensitive to standing water and alcohol but it. Gently sand with 220-grit paper to level the previous coat and provide a quicker build to the touch about. Sheets to cool and dry get the best reasons to use, it is often thought as! Look at the date it was made shellac lasts about 3 years on the container of poly or.... Our newsletter open the doors to a hard finish still had the typical heavy pores of oak so I three... Grabbing the attention of visitors for many years classic finish on a geological time.. Any alcohol, like Butyl alcohol on, shellac dries quickly at optimal conditions 70°F. Rubbing out usually the finish dries quickly, for large jobs, transfer shellac from quart or larger cans a... Shellac may vary, so check with the added ability to tint or thin the finish to fit the.! Type of finish to repair or refinish with no evidence would do when French polishing want flow! Large project with lots of surface area to spend that kind of time on wood! Can use a paint sprayer Photo a ] assist in fine spraying the of... White interior and Spot Exterior primer and Sealer can be easily explained We’re bombarded by it flow out like.. Shellac also comes in shellac can result in a coffee grinder reduces dissolve time to about hours... Make long, smooth strokes, maintaining a wet edge spray can flip! Percent humidity get the best reasons to use, using spray can shellac is often thought of as the pad dries it., for large jobs, transfer shellac from quart or larger cans to a hard finish noticeable lap..

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