Michael Dresdner

straight talk about wood finishing

Archive for the 'shellac' Category

Don’t make me blush

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Q: I need to finish a reproduction 17th Century Chester County Spice box. How much trouble will I have if I take the box into the unheated garage long enough to spray shellac with an HVLP and, then take it right back into the house? Will I end up with blushing? A: Not likely. However, [...]

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Play musty for me

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Q: My old desk has a kind of musty smell. Can this be improved by treating the wood? A: Musty smells can come from mildew or accumulations of dust and dirt. Clean the desk, including the interior areas, and kill any mildew with laundry bleach. If you want, you can seal the exposed wood areas, [...]

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Monday, November 29th, 2010

Q: I purchased a 70s-era desk with an oak veneer. Much of the desk is constructed of heavy fiberboard. I’m worried about the formaldehyde and other chemicals off gassing. Is there a way to seal the exposed fiberboard? A: If it is from the 70s, anything that was going to off-gas has long ago done [...]

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Circa 1920

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Q: I have a circa 1920 chiffarobe I would like to refinish. I stripped it with alcohol and sanded to 220. I have never been very successful with shellac. What would you suggest for a finish what would give a reasonable look and protection? A: What I would suggest is what it had originally, and [...]

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Inked salad bowls

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Q: I want to color walnut sapwood on salad bowls with India ink, then seal it with shellac and salad bowl finish. Would this be safe for food? A: Yep. By the way, I would let the ink dry then go straight to salad bowl finish. In this case, adding shellac would weaken the finish.

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Epoxy over shellac

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Q: Can epoxy go over shellac? A: It depends on the epoxy. Most contain either alcohols or amines, either of which will bond to shellac, but because epoxy formulas can vary so widely, it would be best to either know more about the formulation you are using, or do a sample followed by a cross [...]

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Misguided advice?

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Q: I am finishing some beech and used Zinsser SealCoat in a 50-50 mix with denatured alcohol. After light sanding I applied tung oil but the result was some serious blotching. I’m planning on using shellac as a finish. A: Zinsser SealCoat is pure, dewaxed shellac, already reduced to exactly the right consistency. That implies [...]

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The evils of over sanding

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Q: I’m getting some shiny areas in the finish after four coats of satin lacquer, scuffing with 180 in between. The sealer over the pore filler is two coats of tinted garnet shellac. Over that is one coat of sanding sealer. I fear I’ve sanded through the lacquer and gotten down to either the tinted [...]

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Matching Martin

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Q: I’m restoring a Martin guitar, and after staining, I added three very light wash coats of 1lb. cut shellac. I’d like to strike the pores black with Finishers Glaze seal with sanding sealer, fill pores with Bartley’s dark, seal and topcoat. Martin mahogany pores are darkened nicely. I’m trying to do it the right [...]

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Apples to apples?

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Q: We want to do a comparison of the performance of a variety of solvents for shellac:Lee Valley’s Shellac/Lacquer Thinner; a lab grade of denatured ethanol and common hardware store methyl hydrate. We plan to prepare samples of blond shellac, mixed in each of the three solvents, apply them to wood samples and test the [...]

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