Shellac on interior pine doors

I recently posted a question about using shellac as a finish for our interior pine doors. We just finished all 8 doors, so I thought I would share my experiences in hope that it will help someone in the future.
Our doors were 6 panel pine doors purchased at Lowes. While they "look" like solid wood, they appear to be a laminated product of some sort. One of ours started delaminating and we had to return it. The jambs appear to be finger jointed pine with a pine veneer. It all looks fine once it's installed though.
Anyway, after experimenting with a few different finishes, I settled on Zinssers premixed Amber Shellac. It say's it's a three pound cut straight from the can, but that really means nothing to me.
I put two coats straight from the can on the first door. It looked OK, but it was rather glossy and kind of splotchy looking. I tried rubbing down the finish afterwards with 400 grit sandpaper and mineral spirits, which helped, but still wasn't the look I was after.
After a bit more experimenting, I came up with a method that produced nice results:
1. Sand the bare door with a 150 grit foam sanding block.
2. Apply a "thin" coat of Amber Shellac straight from the can. Be very careful not to leave brush marks, drips, or runs.
3. Wait a couple of hours, then sand the door with 180 grit foam sanding block.
4. Prepare a can of Amber shellac that is roughly half shellac and half denatured alcohol.
5. Apply the "thinned" coat of Amber Shellac to the door.
The result is a finish that is easy to apply, has a nice color, but is not too glossy.
On a side note, I actually found it easiest to finish the door and jambs in place. We removed the first door and tried to finish it while it was laying down, but it was actually more awkward to work with, and the shellac puddled easily in all the little crevices.
Anthony
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<snip of a good write up>

Thanks for the good write up. I hope you like the experience.
What you might want to do now is find some of that 3M White pad, sometimes sold as synthetic steel wool, and a can of a good paste wax. Apply the wax, using the pad as an applicator, with a light touch. Let it dry, and then rub it well with a soft, clean cloth. The shiny finish turns to a lusterous, smooth surface, that almost begs to be touched.
And next time, maybe this for a first coat? http://www.zinsser.com/product_detail.asp?ProductIdr
Patriarch
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Patriarch,

It was my first time to work with shellac, and I have to say it was a learning experience. I don't know that it would necessarily be my first choice in a finish, but I'm pleased with the way they turned out. I did really like how fast the shellac dried though. It allowed us to put two coats on each day rather than two days per door.
We used gallons of oil based polyurethane on our T&G cedar ceilings, cedar window trim, etc. It was easy to apply, and really brought out the color of the cedar. But, the pine looked rather pale with just the poly.
On the cabinets we built we used Minwax wood conditioner, Minwax "Windsor Oak" rubbing stain, and two coats of poly. The result is an attractive and durable finish. But, it would have been a lot of work for eight doors, and I was worried about applying the stain in all those little crevices of the raised panel doors.
The Amber shellac allowed us to finish the doors in two coats, a lot like the poly finishes, but with a bit more color.

I tried some similar approaches on the first door that we put two full coats of Amber shellac on. It reduced the gloss, but it was an awful lot of work to have done on all eight doors. And, it still wasn't the look we were after.
Anthony
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wrote:

Don't forget it's extremely easy to tint shellac, or for that matter, lacquer.
Both can very easily be applied to blotchy woods like pine.
Barry
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