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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I am finishng a wood project and want to get a high-gloss, piano-type finish. I am using Zinsser Bulls Eye SealCoat de-waxed (which I believe is a #2 shellac). I have three coats on at the moment and want to build up a few more so I can rub out the finish without getting down to the wood. I have a few long brush strokes that came with the second coat. I put a third coat on top of that to see if the brush strokes would desolve but they are still there. My question is, do I have to sand the brush storkes out after every coat or wait until I apply a final coat and then do the leveling? Will I see the brush strokes under the surface after the finish is rubbend out?

Other random questions:
How many coats is recommended for a finish that will be rubbed out?
Should I thin the shellac for the last few coat?
Should I apply the final coats by rubbing it on with a pad?

Thanks.
 

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I think you have to sand the brushstrokes out between coats if you want to end up with a glass like finish at the end. This is a royal pain since the coats are so thin to begin with. There are a couple of tips to minimize brush strokes.

You can't brush and re-brush shellac like you do with an oil finish. Brush it on as best you can in a single stroke or two. The most important thing, but the hardest for me to do is to not keep messing with it.

I have a Taklon brush that I got form Homestead Finishing. It's fine bristles minimize brush marks. After each use, a quick rinse in alcohol is all you need. Let it dry hard; just redissolve it before the next use.

I think (but I'm not 100% sure) that Seal Coat already has some retarder in it, but shellac retarder will help shellac flow out better, minimizing brush marks.
 

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Maybe you should try padding it on, quite a bit easier to do.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think you have to sand the brushstrokes out between coats if you want to end up with a glass like finish at the end. This is a royal pain since the coats are so thin to begin with. There are a couple of tips to minimize brush strokes.

You can't brush and re-brush shellac like you do with an oil finish. Brush it on as best you can in a single stroke or two. The most important thing, but the hardest for me to do is to not keep messing with it.

I have a Taklon brush that I got form Homestead Finishing. It's fine bristles minimize brush marks. After each use, a quick rinse in alcohol is all you need. Let it dry hard; just redissolve it before the next use.

I think (but I'm not 100% sure) that Seal Coat already has some retarder in it, but shellac retarder will help shellac flow out better, minimizing brush marks.
Thanks. I will try rebrushing when needed. I haven't ben doing that. I wasn't sure if the brush strokes would be visible even under a level, rubbed ut finish and it ssounds like you are saying that they would be visible. I was thinking the same think but wasn't sure.
 

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Rick Mosher
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Shellac melts into the previous coat so save yourself some time and don't get too crazy with the sanding until after your final coat. (Just scuff out the dust nibs between coats) Then you can wet sand out all the brush marks and polish to a high gloss. Since each coat melts into the previous one you end up with just one coat so you don't have to worry about sanding through a layer and leaving a halo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Shellac melts into the previous coat so save yourself some time and don't get too crazy with the sanding until after your final coat. (Just scuff out the dust nibs between coats) Then you can wet sand out all the brush marks and polish to a high gloss. Since each coat melts into the previous one you end up with just one coat so you don't have to worry about sanding through a layer and leaving a halo.
Thanks Rick. I definately want to avoid unnecessary sanding. Any guess as to how many coats I should apply in total?
 

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What you have to understand about shellac is a lot of it comes in a brick of flakes that a person melts in alcohol to use as a finish. The dried finish is no different than the brick of flakes. Anytime alcohol is put on it, it will melt even decades later so when you put additional coats on brushing it you have to work really fast applying consecutive coats to prevent the alcohol from making the brush marks.

Not knowing how thick you have the finish now I would recommend you bring the finish to about 5 or 6 mils thick. That is about double the thickness of a trashbag. That should give you enough thickness you can rub the brush marks and polish the sheen back.
 
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