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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm working on a dining chair about 100 or so years old and the finish has very tiny overall crinkles. Is it just old shellac? I've already sanded through it on the back legs and it came off pretty clean, should I have used a stripper instead? I have another twin chair to refinish after this one and I'd like them to look the same.
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Shellac is dissolved by alcohol, so you may be able to "blend" the old finish a bit and it will all smooth out. It's worth a try and alcohol is relatively safe and not that expensive. A new coat of shellac may do the same, and that's also worth experimenting with. Try each in a inconspicuous place to see the effects.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Shellac is dissolved by alcohol, so you may be able to "blend" the old finish a bit and it will all smooth out. It's worth a try and alcohol is relatively safe and not that expensive. A new coat of shellac may do the same, and that's also worth experimenting with. Try each in an inconspicuous place to see the effects.
Thanks, if I have to replace a cross brace, I'll use the old one for an experiment with alcohol.
 

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I'm a little late answering, but I agree with Woodnthings. I will add, however, that in actual practice, it will likely be easier to just use the alcohol as a stripper; dissolve the old shellac, wipe it off, sand it, and apply a new coat or two. Trying to redistribute the dissolved shellac may get a bit gloppy. I have always found that spraying shellac works better than brushing. If you don't have spray equipment, just use spray cans.
 

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Scraping is m y preferred methods of removing shellac. Either a card scraper or sharp paint scraper.

You can try it, but removing with alcohol isn’t always easy.
 
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