That's quite possibly the dumbest thing I've ever read, if true, which I
doubt, the people responsible knew nothing about finishes. First, the only
time shellac should be used under varnish is as a spit coat to seal an
improperly prepared or contaminated (wax or silicone) surface so the
varnish will adhere; second, you never put a hard finish (varnish) over a
softer finish (shellac) except as noted above; third, laqueur has all the
advantages of both varnish and shellac is the only finish used on fine
I agree with your comments about the look of many polys. I have had good
luck with a product called OS Hardwax Oil. (available via mail through the
Environmental Home Center and probably other places). It seems to preserve
the character of our 100 year old floors, holds up well in the kitchen, and,
as a wax-based finish, can be spot repaired because new finish blends with
old. as a bonus, it is supposedly more friendly to the installer in terms of
fumes and off-gassing. so they say.
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