Finishing NOVICE

Hello all, I have been making things out of wood for profit for about 15 years. I've just started making various wooden parts to use in woven baskets. Such as handles, lids, bases, and legs. I make a lot of custom parts, where some one will come in with a sample, and want something similar but with some changes. Two weeks ago, I made a handle out of 3/4 thk. oak. It was for in a wine basket and had some very very very intricate scroll work in portions of the handle. By intricate I mean the width of the remaining wood in some places was as thin as 1/16th. I've done this quite frequently, but I am always concerned that the oak will dry out, or get damp, expand or contract and the 1/16th. thk. scroll work will begin to crack. So immediately after I get it finished, I spray on a couple coats of clear poly over it. Thus far I haven't had any problems with cracking. Anyway, the lady came and picked up her handles, and about an hour later I get a call from her husband. He would like me to make a dozen more but he doesn't want them to have poly. He said he would prefer shellac. Although I've been doing this for a long time, I have never used any finish other than - paint, a stain then poly, or just straight poly. I would like to know if another finished would work in this application, and if so how do I use it. Or at least lead me to a place where I can get information on the process. I really don't have time to experiment with finishes that I never used, but I would like to keep my customers happy. And not to lead anyone into thinking I am a large company, when I say customers I mean about 30 basket makers. Most of which do this as a hobby. Thanks for your help.
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www.homesteadfinishing.com has a discussion on selecting a finish, do a search for the topic.
On Thu, 24 Jun 2004 17:32:53 GMT, "Robert Smith"

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Since it is a rather broad subject I'd suggest Bob Flexner's book "understanding wood finishes".
Easy to read, easy to understand.
--
Mike G.
Heirloom Woods
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On Thu, 24 Jun 2004 14:04:49 -0400, "Mike G"

I've recommended the same book hundreds of times.
However! I think Jewitt's new book is better.
<(Amazon.com product link shortened)88107786/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/002-0339244-1032872?v=glance&s=books&nP7846>
Barry
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(commonly found). [See http://www.zinsser.com/product_detail.asp?ProductID1 ]
And played with it... I think you'll like it if you give it a quick try.
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Canned stuff isn't dewaxed which limits topcoating finishes. Some can but many can't.
On Thu, 24 Jun 2004 22:24:47 GMT, "patrick conroy"

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Really? I didn't know that - I thought Bulls Eye was dewaxed. I'll re-read the label. Thx
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On Fri, 25 Jun 2004 12:00:44 -0400, " snipped-for-privacy@vcoms.net"

Spray canned IS dewaxed.
Barry
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As is Zinssers Seal Coat and it is canned. Thanks for catching.
On Sat, 26 Jun 2004 01:54:49 GMT, B a r r y

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Mr. Smith, your life is about to change. For many years I used poly because it was easy, available, worked. This group turned me on to things like shellac, Danish, Tung, varnish and boiled linseed oils. My use of Poly went down about 90%. Try them and I'm betting you'll take some time to experiment because your finished items will be so much nicer.
Check out what others have already told you. Ed
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Why does the Customer want shellac? If it is the look, you could simulate the look with something that will stand up to wine better than shellac. As for spraying, use what you like, thin it accordingly, and spray it with something like a Preval aerosol sprayer. If you are really into it, you can move up to some real spray equipment.
Good Luck.

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