Shellac query

Since shellac dissolves itself, should I be smoothing between coats? Final coat, yes, but what about the others?
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Bob Schmall
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Don't know about anyone else, but what works for me is to lightly, and I mean _lightly_, sand after the first coat of shellac with 320g, wipe off with a cloth, then apply as many light coats as necessary with nothing done between these intervening coats.
After the last coat I wait a week and go back over the piece lightly with 1200g sandpaper.
If I want to make it a little less shiny, I will rub it out with 0000 steel wool and paste wax made into a slurry with mineral spirits, then polish it up.
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Yes. High spots will translate through to the next layer to some degree.
That said, a cabinet scraper with a light touch can make very quick work of snapping off any dust pickies or drip marks.
-Steve

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Bob Schmall wrote:

Whether or now I sand depends on how bad I screwed up the last coat.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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Must agree w/Nova...............gotta love an honest answer
RT

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Depends. If you use low-weight cuts and good care, you may be able to get by. Question is, why bother? It's so easy to give a scuff with ~320-400 to catch the last of sanding whiskers and any ridiculousness, versus being surprised by them after the second or subsequent coat, that I do it as a matter of course.
After the second, if things look reasonable, and it will take two coats at least before you're coating versus soaking, you can use a pad and shine your coats right up.
Which means you _don't_ level the final.

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You don't need to roughen the surface to provide a grip for the next coat. So if the coat you just applied is basically smooth and even, no need to sand.
But if the coat you just applied has brush marks or drips or lumps, it's easier to sand them down to level then to try and rub them down when you apply the next coat. The next coat will dissolve the surface enough to blend, but it won't melt through a mark big enough to see and feel.
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Bob Schmall wrote:

Nova said it best. It depends on how badly I screwed up the last coat. :)
I would disagree with the statement that "errors come through to some extent" or whatever whoever said. IME they come right through in amazing 3D relief every time. The slightest goof translates to a thicker goof, then a thicker goof, then a really thick goof.
My last project came out great. I applied a 1# cut very carefully, let it harden up, then sanded out the inevitable little blurbles very ruthlessly with 320 grit. I repeated this about 10 more times, spot sanding around edges and corners as needed to clean up minor goofs. I left the last coat as it lay, and topped up with paste wax.
I still missed two or three spots that are a few microns higher than surrounding areas, but overall the finish looks *great* on that piece. No drips or runs that catch the eye and hold one's attention. Not unless the light shines at just the wrong angle anyway. ;)
I'll definitely be quick to whip out the sandpaper in the future. If in doubt, sand it out.
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snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.com says...

seminar last evening for our customers on Shellac and its many uses in woodworking. It was a great seminar with over 40 people in attendance. Jim showed us that the use of a utility knife blade, held almost perpendicular to the surface(more like a scraping angle), with no more pressure than you would scrape your face, was all that is typically required to remove high spots in the shellac surface. His opinion was that you should never sand, just lightly scrape the high spots, until smooth. The results were difficult to argue with! Incredibly easy and beautiful results.
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"Curly Woods" wrote in message

That fits right in with my experience also, I use a razor blade ... but I also spray shellac, whereas others may be brushing.
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Swingman wrote:

I tried that. Gouged the hell out of it. Sanding worked better for me, but YMMV. Results matter more than methods.
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