Shellac or poly for window trim?


I made a bunch red oak window trim (stools, headers & all that). I just have a couple of aprons to make and finishing is upon me. I tried some shellac on a scrap as well as some water-based varathane. It goes without saying that the shellac looks much better. But I'm concerned about durability and, especially, the effect of condensation on the stools.
For those of you who think I'm talking shit, "stool" is the technical term for the piece of trim that goes on top of a window sill.
What would you do? Any specific experiences you've had? or other recommendation?
Luigi Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email address www.yukonomics.ca/wooddorking/humour.html www.yukonomics.ca/wooddorking/antifaq.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Woodworking
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Luigi Zanasi wrote:

if it's in the sun a lot, you've got more problems than just condensation. Look for a clear finish with UV inhibitors.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Luigi Zanasi wrote:

Shellac is a No-No in the direct exposure of the sun. Mix with that, a little condensation? No-no-no-no. Spar varnish, there are many brands that carry a poly blend that they will label as Spar varnish. I've used this on boat hulls when I knew the boat would be removed from the water daily. Shellac will not perform like this. Shellac will crack, give up, flake off and die. Go look at an old house with shellac window trim or an old tool handle like a handsaw handle or a plane tote. My boat finish is over 2 years old now. There are some funky spots but it's mostly wear and damage from use that your average window trim will never see.
Tom in KY, where the river banks are mud and rocks, driftwood and submerged steel. And I seem to find it all. Then I proceed to track it all over the top of my boat.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'll second the spar varnish idea. I did all of the trim in my daughters room 7 years ago. the trim is the original (100+year old) gereic white softwood (spruce, pine, whatever). I liked the idea of the warm color of garnet lac, but ended up using spar varnish because of the expected sun and water exposure.
it still looks great.
-_JD

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Ayup. Long-oil varnish with UV inhibitors is best, second would be a linseed-based Danish oil of some sort. The linseed will amber and mellow things out, while giving a flexible film. Easily fixed compared to spar.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Luigi Zanasi wrote:

I've done miles of red oak trim and doors with a coat of Sealcoat and two coats of Waterlox Original, Pratt & Lambert, or my favorite, Sherwin Williams fast dry oil based varnish.
All of it, including some very wide window sill shelves are doing well. The Sealcoat adds a touch of golden color that's very nice.
Barry
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.