I think I finally understand why you guys like shellac so much.
I'm a novice woodworker, and I've been playing around with shellac for
a while now. I did one piece where I brushed it on, but to my eye it
was not great. Probably partly my poor brushing technique, and partly
my dumb choice of blonde shellac over walnut (doh).
On my latest project, I figured I'd try the French polish method. All
I can say is wow. The padding and polishing seems to be much easier
the brushing method. It's fast and forgiving, and even as a rank
amateur I got a beautiful deep finish, warm and dimensional and silky
The piece is made of curly maple with aniline dye and linseed oil,
blonde shellac, a glaze coat, and a polished garnet shellac topcoat
(variant on a Jeff Jewitt recipe). I did a light final polish with
rottenstone and water.
I think I'm going to be using oil-varnish mixes a lot less often.