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Thread: Amber Shellac

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    Amber Shellac

    Making a couple Black Walnut Desksets for the daughters, and ordered some Amber Shellac. Never have used any shellac, was looking for some insight from you all, how to, tips.....Thanks

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    Re: Amber Shellac

    This might be a good place to start learning. Good news: shellac is pretty forgiving and easily repaired. Also, amber shellac on walnut gives a beautiful finish. One of my favorites.
    I'll gladly tell you how I do something. Just please don't confuse that with the right way to do it, and almost certainly not the only way.


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    Re: Amber Shellac

    Pete,
    Lots of ways to apply a finish to wood so you should get plenty of different methods here, and all of them are probably going to be fine. Also, you might let us know what type of equipment you plan on using. (spray or hand apply)

    I personally would not use just shellac for a desk top, but I would use it as a base for applying a harder finish coat. For example, I often use garnet shellac, two coats sanded lightly between coats, as a base coat on cherry. Then apply multiple coats of Rock Hard varnish or a water based clear finish depending on how the finished piece is going to be used.

    Rock Hard is an excellent finish for table tops and desks as it stands up to the wear. It is oil based and dries slower which to me, is better if don't have spray equipment. I apply it with a good quality foam brush and the slow dry time allows it to level out removing brush marks. But it also allows dust to collect so you need to consider how you clean you air. Some of the higher end water based finishes are really good at leveling and dry much faster which cuts down on nibs and dust.

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    Re: Amber Shellac

    Quote Originally Posted by Ptofimpact View Post
    Making a couple Black Walnut Desksets for the daughters, and ordered some Amber Shellac. Never have used any shellac, was looking for some insight from you all, how to, tips.....Thanks
    Shellac is a good finish to choose and it's pretty durable by itself without any other top coat (it's also easily repaired if the girls ding it up).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQcQ0yuekZ0


    ordered some Amber Shellac
    Ordered from ????. Is it 100% dewaxed?

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    Re: Amber Shellac

    In my experience, the more you thin it, the easier it is to apply and get a smooth finish. The downside is the more you thin it, the more coats you have to put on.

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    Re: Amber Shellac

    Back in the Fall of last year I needed to build a small desk/table for my grand-kids to play on and for me to write on when needed. I have built this table before for customers needing an inexpensive table with a top they could change in a flash down the road.

    I had a ton of curly maple veneer so I decided to make up a solid trestle and maple veneered surface.

    I used amber shellac from dewaxed flakes to add color. Like JohnW suggested, I tried water based Rock Hard varnish on top of the shellac. I've only had the table in the work mode for 6 months but it seems to be doing its job. This is one of those things you build for 400 bucks and they go out the door time after time and I haven't had one come back so the varnish over shellac seems to be useful and it doesn't require a spray booth.





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    Re: Amber Shellac

    pad.jpg
    stolen from Mike Pekovich of fine woodworking.....create a cotton pad to apply. take a small bit of cheese cloth or cotton, then wrap it in t-shirt material, then use a rubber band to bring all together. then you can keep it in a small jar or tupperware perpetually.

    i agree with the above comment about thinning making it easier. the issue is that thinned shellac will run. the pad makes runs much less common because it soaks it up better than just a small bit of rag or a brush.

    also you can cover a lot of area with the pad. your first strokes while the pad is full of finish can be light pressure. as the pad gets less full you can just apply a little more pressure and it dispenses more.

    i thin my shellac, keep it in a jar and keep the pad handy......you can apply a coat to small projects in about 30 seconds.

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    Re: Amber Shellac

    Many thanks, watching the youtube stuff,getting the shellac from Rockler, not de-waxed. I will be applying by hand no spraying. Many thanks Bradley I shall try your suggestion

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    Re: Amber Shellac

    Never have used any shellac
    getting the shellac from Rockler, not de-waxed.
    Yes, the Zinsser Amber shellac (a 3 lb cut in the can) contains WAX so you'll have adhesion problems with just about any topcoat except more wax.

    The Zinsser Seal Coat (a 2 lb cut) is a clear shellac and it's 100% dewaxed so that's a good thing for your finishing. Alternatively, you can buy 100% dewaxed amber shellac flakes, like Dan did, dissolve it in 99% ethanol to make a 1 lb cut and use that as your sealer. Top coating with whatever you choose is now good to go.

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    Re: Amber Shellac

    Here is a good place to both buy shellac & learn to use it. http://www.shellacfinishes.com/

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    Re: Amber Shellac


    Pete you have a bunch of inputs here and you'll need to make some choices before you start. The one must do for using shellac as a seal coat is to get nothing but dewaxed shellac on the surface. So its your choice on getting flakes or purchasing a can of shellac with no wax.

    Respectfully, I would disagree with Bradley on the use of a pad in this case. I have used the pads to do polished work on smaller things and its great. You are building desktops and using the shellac as a seal coat not a polished surface. As a seal coat on walnut, the natural bristle brush will make quick work of covering large surfaces. The walnut cabinet below was done with a good quality natural bristle brush. Another user of shellac loves to use foam brushes and gets good results.

    Shellac is not varnish. You can put lots of coats on and not get the build up you get with varnish as each subsequent coat melts in to the previous coat unlike dry varnish. I would recommend a 2lb brushed on base of 2 coats smoothed and scuffed with a scotch brite pad and then you varnish.

    Both top and bottom sections were done with 2 coats of brushed orange shellac from flakes I mixed up.

    Doing most of this work while the piece was in the horizontal mode made it very easy to apply wet coats without runs. My shop is so dusty I sure need a fast dry finish for big stuff.





    The top right drawer is a second coat after steel wool 0000. This wool has no oil so it goes back in the house to storage.



    Again,
    lots of choices so do some test work before the final jump.


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    Re: Amber Shellac

    what i suggested is similar to a pad used for polishing or french polishing but that's not what i'm doing. i'm using strictly as an applicator. i'm going over a surface with one pass or maybe a second immediate pass. no polishing, just applying.

    for really large surfaces, maybe a brush would be faster but the pad method would be as easy or easier.

    all of Dan's comments and others' comment on between coat scuffing / sanding and the use of waxed shellac would still apply.

    you could also dedicate a brush for shellac and keep it sealed in the same way i do the pad.

    for me, brushing feels like painting and painting feels like work. not a logical thought i admit.....do what makes you happy.

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    Re: Amber Shellac

    Thanks again, great direction, the pieces I am working on are Not Desks, they are small pieces for the top of their desks to hold business cards, a clock, and a rest for the Cell phone. Nothing like the wonderful stuff you all have built.
    Bradley the applicator which I am interested in trying, is the Cotton a store bought item or used Tshirt? Thanks .

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    Re: Amber Shellac

    more of the used shirt

    Quote Originally Posted by Ptofimpact View Post
    Thanks again, great direction, the pieces I am working on are Not Desks, they are small pieces for the top of their desks to hold business cards, a clock, and a rest for the Cell phone. Nothing like the wonderful stuff you all have built.
    Bradley the applicator which I am interested in trying, is the Cotton a store bought item or used Tshirt? Thanks .

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    Re: Amber Shellac

    What about spraying it..........................

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