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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was finishing a dining room table so I went to home depot to get some glossy poly to put on top. The lady there INSISTED that shellac would be a much harder finish, great for a dining room table (a lot of dishes/silverwar contact etc.). Turned out to be quite a pain - I was applying it with a foam brush and it was drying so fast I had trouble getting the edges of the brush strokes smoothed out before it dried! After a few coats I got sick of that and it looked terrible so I gave it a pretty good sanding and put the poly on top (even though the can said not to?). I saw another thread on this forum that said the poly may not stick because there could be wax in the shellac (this is the zinsser bulls eye, pictured here, so according to that website it is waxless: http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/Materials/MaterialsArticle.aspx?id=28833) , but the poly seemed to stick just fine - I put 3 coats on and it looks fine now.

I have a couple of questions about this whole ordeal for you people who ACTUALLY know what you're talking about :)

1) which would have been better for a dining room table?
2) was it a bad idea to put poly on top of shellac (assuming it was the right kind)? why would one do this instead of poly all the way?
3) how else would I apply the "out of the can" shellac without leaving those hideous foam brush strokes?

As I said, its done and it looks fine now, but I'd like to know how to proceed should I have to do something like this again.

Thanks!

David
 

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Sorry I can't answer your question regarding Shellac.

I use minwax Polycrilic on evey thing a build except things that stay out doors. For the outdoors things like doors and yard funisher I use Minwax Helmsman.

I am sure there or better products out there but I like what I like, and I know how the work these two product.
 

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I use shellac as a sealer before staining for cherry and other woods that blotch. I have used it on cabinets as a final finish, but always cut to 1#, not "out of the can".

I wouldn't recommend it for a dining room table which might have alcoholic drinks spilled on it which would dissolve the finish.

I think a poly is the best all around finish.
 

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Shellac is harder than varnish, but not more wear resistant. Since I personally would never use polyurethane varnish on furniture,I would use an alk'd varnish.If you have ever mixed shellac flakes in denatured alcohol you know it takes quite a while even with stirring and that is 100% alcohol not the 40-50 % in a drink that is probably diluted with ice and/or some mixer. It would be unlikely that a drink would dissolve shellac. I have tested this on sample boards and after one hour there was no damage. There is a learning curve with shellac,forget all you know about varnish when using shellac.

Regards

Jerry
 

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Polyurethane

would be my finish of choice for table and dresser tops. Especially dining tables. They not only see plenty of liquids including alcohol, they also are exposed to the heat of serving dishes and plates. I use lacquer on all other surfaces not horizontal.

Ed
 
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