"Dulling" a shellac finish

I just finished refinshing an old table for a co-worker of mine. With some help from the guys at the local WoodCraft store, we were able to determine that the exitisting finish was a shellac. The table, they guessed, was about 100 years old, and was very dirty. Some of the finish had already been worn away down to almost bare wood. After a lot of elbow grease and some alcohol, I had as much of the exisitng finish off as I could get. And in the process, I found that there were inlays in the table that before were buried under years of build-up.
I put about 4 coats of shellac back on the table, satisfied that I'd done the best job I could ( my first time with shellac ), and the result was a very nice looking mahogany table, with inlays in the top, both leaves, the legs, and the feet. Unfortunately, my friend did not realize that shellac is supposed to be a pretty high-gloss finish. While she and her husband love the "new" table, they both would like a finish that's a little more "dull".
My first choice would be to "dull up" the shiney finish somehow, and make it a lot less glossy. Will some steel wool do that for me, or is there no way to take the edge off of a finish like that?
The second option, which I don't like to talk about, is to take off the new finish, and put something else in instead. I'm assuming that has the potential of leading to a lot of trouble since, I don't get 100% of the shellac off, an incompatible finish will bubble, or react in an undesireable way.
So, I'm looking for options and suggestions.
TIA, tms
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Use 0000 steel wool and wax. Make sure not to cut through on the edges. You can alsu use a scotch pad. I think maroon or white? -Matt
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some
0000 steel wool will take the shine down.
p.s. shellac is compatible with just about anything so there's no need to worry about bubbling, delaminating, etc. Put a nice coat of paste wax on when you get the finish to the correct sheen (Martin or Charlie) and you're good to go.
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I've had luck toning down the sides of a shellacked cabinet by rubbing out the piece, by hand, with 0000 steel wool and thinned downed paste wax as a lubricant. Thin the paste wax with Mineral Spirits enough to make a slurry, rub out with the steel wool, then buff by hand after the wax hazes over.
While it's worked for me, you might want to try it on a spot that is not visible before you go hog wild.
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You can buy a shellac flatting agent and throw on another coat of shellac to get a less-than-glossy finish.
I haven't used this product so I can't say how the results would compare with rubbing out the existing finish. Anyone have first hand experience?
http://www.woodfinishingsupplies.com/shellac_a.htm
Martin
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Steel wool with water will bring it down to satin and one hell of a feel
Good luck George

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Try the steel wool on a test piece of wood, and you'll see it dulls up quite easily (and almost too quickly). Just by coincidence I did that today. Whenever I mix up a batch of Shellac or any other finish I find myself playing with all kinds of scrap wood thats laying around "just to see" what the finish will look like on various woods... Today I picked one up and it was way shiny, so I buffed it with a bit of steel wool and the shine wore off fast.
Shellac is completely repairable too so if you don't like the way its going you can just redo it.
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