To Shellac or Not - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 02-10-2010, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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To Shellac or Not

Ok, here's my situation....

I have a ton (!) of awesome wood detail in my home, including molding, pocket doors and mantels. If I was going to live here forever, I'd take my time to restore it the proper way (don't even know what that it is). However, I'm putting the house on the market by Spring and it has gone down in value since I purchased.

So, I'm looking for a quick and easy option. That looks nice!

I tested everything with denatured alcohol and it all seems to be shellac. Old shellac that has blistered or bubbled (?) in areas. I was hoping the alcohol or a fresh coat of shellac would melt this, but nothing happens unless I use steel wool with alcohol, taking it down to the wood.

Is that what I have to do? Take it down to the wood? There are other areas with scratches and chips as well. If that's the case, I'm open to poly or lacquer.

Last tidbit before you respond....I HATE the gloss finish!! Whatever I do, I'll have to flatten it out.

Thanks for your help!
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post #2 of 4 Old 02-10-2010, 05:50 PM
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A quick and easy finish would be to sand where you have to and smooth out the finish and just use a waterbase polyurethane. Many brands have a semi-gloss/satin type finish that's not shiny. It dries fast, easy clean up, and it doesn't stink.

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post #3 of 4 Old 02-10-2010, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I think you're right...I should just forget about the shellac and go with another process.
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post #4 of 4 Old 02-11-2010, 02:26 AM
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The only thing I might be worried about is if it's just regular shellac and not DE-WAXED shellac, another finish might not adhere very well. The wax that occurs in shellac naturally, can be problematic when trying to finish over the top of it.

It all depends on how old the shellac is and whether it was hand or machine made. Here's a quick and very informative read on shellac....
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refinishing, shellac, shellac or poly, wood finishing

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