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Senior Member from MN
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to match existing woodwork on an old house ... so part of the finishing will include a couple coats of shellac.

The cabinets are white melamine and the face frames are mahogany. I am applying the shellac to the face frames. The cabinets are not yet hung. I've used shellac only once before and I know it requires quick work.

Since there are adjoining surfaces, two edges and a face, I am concerned about the tiny bit of "slop" over onto the adjacent edge or face. For example, if I am applying to an edge, any slop onto the face will dry before I can apply to the face.

So here are the questions:
1. What applicator would you prefer for this application?
brush, rag, foam brush,...
2. Any tips on technique to avoid disaster?

I apologize if the there is already a relevant thread. If so, just point me there!
 

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Senior Member from MN
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
p.s.
If it matters, the face frames already have 1 coat of Jel'd stain and 1 coat of boiled linseed oil. I plan to follow the shellac with one coat of varnish.

By the time I finish all these coats, they will match the 60 year old existing woodwork, and I will be 60 years older as well.:sleeping:
 

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Senior Member from MN
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here's an update:

I have now applied two layers of shellac. The first was about a 2lb cut, the second about a 1lb cut. I plan on applying one more layer of 1lb cut and then finishing with one thin layer of wipe on poly.

But I have a question. I have been using a brush, not a pad. There are minor imperfections at the points where I start or finish (where rail meets stile). When should I fix these imperfections? Between coats or all at the end (before the poly layer)? As Joe describes in his website, I plan to try the pad method using only alcohol to smoothen/blend the ridges.

Thanks for any advice. The last coat of shellac will go on tonight.
 

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I use a rag rolled into a pad for shellac. Personally I'd have applied the 1lb cut first, but for leveling, a rag damp with denatured alcohol will work nicely.

You didn't say what sort of shellac you used. If it wasn't dewaxed, then you may be in for a problem with the poly adhering. I'd also not want to use one thin coat of poly. You'll have a hard time making a level surface like that, especially with a brushed finish below. Poly is difficult to fix, I think it'd be easier to build a flat film that didn't need any touch-ups.
 

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Senior Member from MN
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hey, I was beginning to think I had my own bulletin board! Not that I mind talking with myself.

I used Bulls Eye amber.

I tried a pad with only denatured alcohol but not with a lot of success. By the time I removed the ridge, it appeared to me that I had removed much of the existing shellac layers. It was discolored and appeared to be lighter in tone than the surrounding area. The pad was quite damp.

When you say "build a flat film that didn't need any touch-ups", what product do you mean? What do you suggest over shellac (or do you mean that I should have dewaxed it first)?

The wipe-on poly (one coat) seems to have adhered. The cabinets are now hung but not completely finished. I can wipe on another coat, but I don't want to try a brush at this point.
 

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With the Zinnsers, was that the Seal-coat shellac, which is dewaxed, or was it their regular shellac?

By a flat film I just mean that whatever you do, you should try to keep it as smooth as possible because as you sand between coats you remove material unevenly if there's a lot of bumps and ridges.

Here's my schedule for a simple finish.

Sand surface to 220 grit. Oil-based wiping stain allowed to dry for 48 hours. (Sometimes I use solvent -based) Spray two one pound cuts of Target's water-based shellac as a sealer and hand sand with 220 grit. Clearcoat with either Target's water-based poly or conversion varnish, three coats, I think it's about 3mils thick.

That's for a standard cabinet. My typical schedule for mahogany and sapele is three 1lb cuts of Zinnser's seal coat, sanded smooth by hand with 220 and either a wax topcoat, or for something durable, three sprayed coats of water-based lacquer, cv or poly.

If I need color on mahogany I'll tint my shellac with Trans-tint. Leveling shellac with an alcohol pad takes a little practice but the nice thing about shellac is that it's easy to fix.
 
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