Finishes; shellac & poly


Here's a question that, no matter how much I've read and tried to research, I've never gotten a definitive answer to, and I think it's a simple yes/no answer:
Shellac: Great for priming/filling/initially smoothing a surface, quicker drying, and so on. But, it's inherently not a tough finish, easily damaged, etc etc..
So, how about, on bare wood: -- Seal coat with shellac to seal; sand lightly to remove the raised fibers. -- Second coat, sanded lightly, finest reasonable grit, whatever it may turn out to be, as more of the same as above, but giving a little depth to the finish (I think) -- Three or four coats of Poly or even varnish, sanded between of course, each time, for good adhesion.
IS that any improvement over just running grit to, say, 220 and three/four coats of poly/varnish?
Or is it overkill?
Or, would it be a complete waste of time?
I've used shellac on a few lamp turnings and man, they came out wonderfully great! But, for anything that will get some moderate use and might have any chemicals (water, oils, etc.), it doesn't seem to be much good unless one just likes the ease of touching it up, which isn't that great with liquid rings, etc..
Like many a woodworker/closet-cabinet-maker, I do great until I get to the finishes. I hate doing the finishes because I'm never sure of what I'm doing <g>, even though they at least come out "OK", sometimes a little better.
TIA & Regards,
Pop
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I do the same as you. I tend to think of shellac as a primer for fine finishes..... as compared to a paint primer for painted finishes. I always sand both before applying next product. Once you have used a primer, you will never do without.

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Pop wrote:

Easily damaged AND easily repaired. Try fixing a damaged poly finish :-).
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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Zinser shellac says right on the can that they don't recommend it under poly.

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Shellac is easy & wonderful to use. You can put as much effort into it as you want from"slop it on" to "French rubbing". For runs either sand/scape it down or use denatured alchol. It dries quick, no obnoxious smell/fumes, and relatively non toxic. You can sand/scape it to a wonderfully smooth finish. I use it as the final finish on stuff that doesn't get kid/heavy use - (bookcases...) I believe it looks a lot better than poly also. just my .02

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lucky4fingers wrote:

Whaddays mean "relatively" - they put the stuff on M&Ms and apples :-).
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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On Fri, 17 Mar 2006 08:01:31 -0800, Larry Blanchard

Shellac itself is non-toxic, but the denaturing agents in the alcohol normally used to dissolve it can be quite toxic. Make sure you have adequate ventilation unless you like waving good-bye to your brain.
-- "We need to make a sacrifice to the gods, find me a young virgin... oh, and bring something to kill"
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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Tim Douglass wrote:

Or just use pure ethanol, and then you can use it to mix drinks while you're waiting for the finish to dry...
Chris
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[...]

Or pay for the good stuff! Almost pure ethanol with just an inevitable hint of water is no more poisonous (if you do not drink it) than a couple of beers or glasses of wine. The anti-drunkenness tax makes this expensive.
--
Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
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even 100% ethanol has traces of 2-propanol along with methanol or benzene which are quite toxic.
scott
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I would argue with this. The alcohol fumes can be quite obnoxious. I certainly would use breathing protection when using Shellac in a confined area, and just because I find the odor annoying, I'd use breathing protection in a ventilated area, too.
<http://www.syndel.com/msds/denatured_ethanol_msds.html
scott
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