Finish for red oak on stair treads

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On Tue, 21 Feb 2012 11:38:41 -0800 (PST), Father Haskell

It's pretty nice stuff, but it does scratch somewhat easily compared to oil-based poly floor finish. It's also way too glossy for floor use, IMHO.
-- The ultimate result of shielding men from folly is to fill the world with fools. -- Herbert Spencer
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And before that... nothing! Bare wood was typical in the 18th century and much of the 19th here in America. BLO was was pretty common too.
John
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Just trying to beat the thing to death. Many misconceptions about shellac.
On 2/19/2012 11:15 AM, Swingman wrote:

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On 2/19/2012 1:07 PM, tiredofspam wrote:

So far I haven't find a flooring contractor who will warrant a shellac floor finish like they will their recommended finish product, which for many years now has always been a polyurethane.
That said, you're preaching at the choir in most respects ... my finish of choice, for just about everything I build in the shop, excluding kitchen cabinets (and floors), is indeed shellac.
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Waxing and rewaxing was a real, time-consuming chore back in the day.
Now, both water-borne & oil-based polys and polycrylics are used. Flooring is the one area I won't argue that poly is best.
I've used Future floor wax (acrylic) for decades now, but on lino flooring. I have carpeting everywhere but the kitchen. Commercial Indoor/Outdoor went into the bathroom. It's much warmer and nicer for those nocturnal jaunts down the hall, knowwhatImean,Vern?

Maybe that's his sig or sumpin'? (He's filtered here.)
-- The ultimate result of shielding men from folly is to fill the world with fools. -- Herbert Spencer
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tiredofspam <nospam.nospam.com> writes:

So why did they switch to POLY? Because shellac is inferior for that application.
scott
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Maybe, or rather than buy lac from India, they can manufacture it right here. Yes it is marginally stronger, but given all the downsides.. it is marginal...
Have you tried Shellac on a floor?
On 2/19/2012 12:24 PM, Scott Lurndal wrote:

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Here is what we did, partially at the suggestion of an area wood floor manufacturer:
1) Using pre-made Red Oak treads we sanded to desired surface prior to installation. and covered them with cardboard as they were installed. 2) Applied one coat of MinWax Natural stain which was recommended by the floor manufacturer to match the flooring we had previously purchased. 3) Applied three fairly heavy coats of MinWax Satin Poly with some sanding between coats.
I know the word MinWax drives some of the folks here to distraction but, again, this was the floor manufacturer's recommendation. They use a higher class of finish on their hardwood flooring but this is the process they recommended for a contractor and homeowner. They also steered me away from using MinWax floor finish because it was more costly and provided no real wear advantage. Apparently it does dry faster. The odor is what you expect from the MinWax products mentioned. We were able to put two coats of finish on one day and the third the second day. Then stayed off of it, with shoes, for another day.
The color we ended up with is a great match for the flooring. We did the first half of the staircase about 2-1/2 to 3 years ago when we were finishing the house. We followed up last spring with the bottom half which is at an angle to the upper part (as part of the basement finish). after the two year or so time lapse the two stair sections are perfectly matched, and we have seen no appreciable wear on the first half.
BTW - Don't varnish you way into the basement or upper floor! (not that I would) :O)
RonB
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Personally, red oak with a clear finish is an ugly wood, and it turns orange in time as light ages it. I would first do something to adjust the color to something more pleasing to the eye then coat it with a very durable finish. Stairs get a lot of abuse, more than most floor areas, most of the wear is concentrated in the middle and front of the the tread, and it will wear very quickly if it is not finished properly. Shellac is great but it won't last very long.
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On 2/20/2012 9:56 PM, EXT wrote:

If you are getting orange out of your red oak after time it may very well be your finish. I have clear coated/varnished red oak pieces in my home that are going on 30 years old and they have only gone to a golden color. How long are you talking about to see the orange?
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Leon. Have you ever had a look at the Cadex nailers? They're a pin nailer that shoots a "slightly headed pin". The key benefit to them is the increased holding power.
Now, I'm wondering how much of a difference there is between the foot print of a regular pinner and one of these "slightly headed pins"?
I've got to say, every time I'm in the market for something new, the internet can be a curse as well as a blessing. There's so many options for stuff these days that it's often a pain to pick something.
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On 2/21/2012 6:58 AM, Dave wrote:

No Dave I have never see the Cadex in person.
But visiting their site, their 23 gauge brads have a .8mm wide head and the 23 guuge nail is .025" wide. Basically the head is about 1.25 times wider than the nail body. I don't see that as being much difference and likely to only be wider on two sides and the same width on the sides that the nails are attached to each other. Like 18 gauge brads.
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My red oak stepstool is still the same after finishing years ago with clear shellac. OTOH, an ash shoe bech that I tried to warm up with some orangy shellac initiall turned all kinds of colors, from green to orange, and only later did I get it to just be a warm orange brown. I figure it is interaction between components added to the shellac and resins in the wood that can yield surprises. The advice would likely be a thin (diluted) shellac seal coat that's left to dry before adding more shellac, but I'm FAR from expert.
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Nothing makes red oak glow like amber shellac. It's plenty durable; my oak floors are 40 years old, amber shellac finish, still in good shape. 2 lb cut goes on fast, self-levels, no need to scuff between coats, as with varnish or water based.
Cut the "slickness" by using paste floor wax; these differ from regular wax by addition of silica.
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Steve Barker wrote:

Sure someone mentioned it - but - if you do go with shellac, dewaxed will help it to stand up better to water.
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