Shellac Over Oil Finish


I have been finishing my hardwoods (maple, cherry, walnut as well as jatoba, jarrah and other more exotic woods) with a natural danish oil (Watco) followed by 2-3 coats of diluted shellac. Is there any reason (other than color)why I could not leave out the oil finish and apply the shellac directly on the raw wood? This would save 2-3 days while the oil finish dries. I make wooden picture frames and need the shellac as an archival sealer. Some of the exotic woods are already quite oily. Thank you, Mike B.
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Based on some recent experiments with cherry + Danish Oil + thinned shellac, I think what you'll find is that on the darker woods it won't make a gigantic different to leave out the D.O. But on lighter woods, there's a big difference in tone between just shellac and D.O. + shellac.
I'm working on a cherry desk at the moment and made a ton of test strips to try various finishes, including shellac only, oil + wax (both linseed and D.O), wipe-on poly, and D.O + shellac. For my money, the D.O. + shellac looked best, with a nice rich brownish-gold tone that shellac by itself didn't provide.
That said, I completed a cherry jewlery box about a year ago, and used shellac only. In the year since I've finished it, it's started to take on a very nice golden hue, whereas the cherry + shellac strips I did a month or so ago look too pink-orange for my taste. But some of that difference may just be the lumber itself - what I'm using for the desk may just be more pinkish than what I used for the jewlery box last year. Also, as you probably already know, cherry it has the tendency to darken over time.
PQ
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Believe Jeff has pictures of the different shellacs on his site, www.homesteadfinishing.com
On 2 Dec 2005 10:27:45 -0800, "PetQuality"

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On Fri, 02 Dec 2005 10:27:45 -0800, PetQuality wrote:

But you don't need to do the whole oil finish bit. Just a light coat left on for a few minutes and then wiped will highlight the grain and give most of the darkening effect of the full process.
I do this and usually apply shellac the nex day with no problems.
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Mike Bergen wrote:

There's very, very little difference between finishing (the color) with a near colorless oil OR shellac.
Dave
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On Fri, 02 Dec 2005 10:02:29 -0800, Mike Bergen

I don't see much point in using a film-forming danish oil underneath shellac. A plain tung oil blend, without the varnish, will highlight any chattoyance that the timber has and will do it rather better than danish. It'll also dry more quickly than danish oil. I'd use a shellac over plain oil finish, but I'd still use the two steps.
OTOH, just try the damned thing and see what the results are like - it's the only real way to tell.
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On Fri, 02 Dec 2005 19:53:02 +0000, Andy Dingley

And it's what really matters...
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Mike, while you are trying things, you might like to use a wax over oil to achieve a more permanent finish - it will stop the oil drying out over time and I presume that is what you mean by archival.
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Bill D wrote:

reach the paper and artwork in the frame. Historically the best sealer has been shellac and thus my final coat has always been shellac. As for trying various combinations, I have been doing that for quite some time. The intent of my post was to get more viewpoints. Thanks to everyone who has responded, this is a very helpful group. Mike
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On Fri, 02 Dec 2005 10:02:29 -0800, with neither quill nor qualm, Mike

Mikey, you need to learn Rule #1 about finishing:
DON'T RUSH IT!
The Watco will pop the grain so the wood has DEPTH. The shellac will seal it. Both are necessary AFAIC.
Just Do It!
For a quicker combination product, try www.Waterlox.com and get the Original (not the damned poly.) It rubs on nicely, dries quickly, and doesn't need to be rubbed off.
-- The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease. --Voltaire (1694-1778) -- www.diversify.com - Medicine-free Website Development
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