How stable is Shellac - Router Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Default How stable is Shellac

We used to Make a surface by putting almost 10 coats of shellac and sanding in between. It made a VERY smooth surface. My question is how permanent is this. Would the shellac break loose from the wood at some point and is there something that might work better. ?

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 07:13 PM
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Shellac is alcohol based so it tends to sink into the wood and each successive coat bites into the last. There is furniture hundreds of years old that has the original shellac and still in good condition if it was looked after.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 10:04 AM
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If someone spills and alcohol mixed drink on the shellac it will damage the finish. Also some cleaning products will damage a shellac finish. You can build up a finish with shellac then use another more durable finish over the shellac for protection.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 10:19 AM
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My first project in shop class 48 years ago or so was a simple walnut book shelf which I used shellac on. The finish still looks good today.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 11:37 PM
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My project was a bedside table in shop class in 1950. Been in constant use and still in fine shape. I don't remember how many coats of finish I applied.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 05:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherryville Chuck View Post
Shellac is alcohol based so it tends to sink into the wood and each successive coat bites into the last. There is furniture hundreds of years old that has the original shellac and still in good condition if it was looked after.
You are so right Chuck. This also make very easy to repair if damaged. Other finishes build on top of each other and can leave ridges in a repair. I think I am right in saying that shellac and lacquer are the only two finishes that does this.

PS- Maybe someone can put this in better words to make this more clear.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-22-2016, 08:50 AM
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Shellac is a very good finish for certain applications. It dries fast and is pretty easy to apply, The solvent (alcohol) causes each new coat to fuse with the previous one. You get one thicker layer, not multiple thin ones. A coat tends to be thin so you might have to put a lot more on than WB Poly but it still is pretty quick to do. It's a pretty old finish and you can see examples in museums where the finish is still good (for >100 year old piece). I'd be a lot more concerned about the longevity of some of the new WB Polys out there.

It doesn't have good wear characteristics so generally isn't used for kitchen surfaces, vanities, dining & game tables. I like it for the insides of drawers. Did a recent bedside table in it. Anything that will get even moderate abuse should have something else.

It sprays pretty well but brushing and wiping work too. You do have to be careful with spraying - I've found it's really really easy to put too much on.

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