One of the more useful posts I've collected from the wReck, which I
saved as a text file and reposted, rather than finding it in Google
(the following is from the archives...somewhere, a while ago.)
Allow me to introduce myself. My name's Paddy, and I'm a shellac addict
(all say, "Hi Paddy!").
Shellac over Danish oil should be no sweat. It's a great finish and
easy to apply (if you know the secret handshake). Instead of pestering
you for a bunch more information and getting involved in a protracted
ASCII-art USENET trouble-shooting marathon(fun when talking joinery but
with finishes we usually just end up losing hair and/or patience and
find ourselves muttering to inanimate objects... wait, I do that
already), houseabout you pick up another piece of scrap and try this
little trick, which has yet to fail yours truly. I'm a big clumsy no-
talent galoot, so I'm sure an erudite, astute fellow like yourself can
pull it off no problem.
First off, for our purposes, we want to employ the Danish oil to achieve
what my dear friend, the late great Paul Radovanic (I sometimes called
him Rayovac, just to try to get his goat, it never worked) called, "the
greasy paper bag effect." That is, the translucent effect a leaky ham
sandwich had on your lunch bagback in
grade school, a very thin application of Danish oil can have on a piece
of maple. I cut the oil with turpentine or mineral spirits (paint
thinner, Doug) - 1:1. Brush or wipe it on, let sit for a minute or two -
not the recommended 10 - 20 minutes, and then try to wipe it ALL off. If
you're working on an open-pored wood, you might get some oil weeping
back out of the pores. Sop it up as best you can.
Let the oil dry 24-36 hours (I sometimes don't let it dry at all, but
I'm not going to recommend this).
Cut your shellac to #1.5. This should be plenty thin for wiping, which
is what I always recommend for beginners. Heck, it's what I recommend
for everyone. Yes, you can brush shellac. Yes, beginners can brush
shellac. Yes, beginners almost always have a spazz when attempting to
brush shellac, especially thick cuts. Don't ask me how I know this. Take
an old sock; wool or cotton will work. Get a piece of an old pillow case
or table cloth and wad it around the sock, pulling it tight so there are
no wrinkles on one side. Dip it in a bowl of your
#1.5 cut of spiffy shellac. Squeeze it out until it's just damp. You're
wearing vinyl gloves, aren't you? Good. Now wipe the pad on the scrap.
Take s short break. Count some nose hairs in the back of a finely
polished chisel blade. Then wipe some more. Repeat.
When the pad begins to streak, do the dip-and-squeeze trick in your bowl
of shellac. When the pad begins to stick to the workpiece, use a couple
drops of mineral or raw linseed oil on the outside of the pad to lube
it. When the shellac is dry, the oil will clean off with mineral
Let the shellac dry a couple days, come back, and mebbe one of these
geniuses will tell ya how to rub it out to a glassy or satiny sheen...
whichever is yer fancy. If we can't locate a polishing genius, we'll
then I'll be back. Best of luck.
Hope this helped.