Suggestions for red oak finish

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I don't see a need. Mixed fresh from flake and high quality denatured alcohol, it should set up hard and tack free in about 10 minutes. (Milliseconds, if you forget to wipe the jar's threads before screwing on the lid.) It's fully cured when the alcohol evaporates, about an hour at most for freshly made. Even when using store-bought, toss it if it doesn't set up hard in 24 hours. Shelf life of shellac is relatively short. Alcohol is hydrophilic, and soaks in moisture from the air. The moisture interferes with curing, and can cause the film to dry cloudy. Keep it tightly capped, and plan to use it up quickly. I mix 3 lb batches, and pour out just what I'll use that day, and cut it with fresh alcohol. A quart size round Tupperware is the right size for me. 1.5 lb cut works pretty well for brushing. 2 lb cut or very slightly thicker when padding.
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wrote:

Douglas - careful here. The Zinseer 3# cut if for finishing. Although I have not actually had any tragedies using this for a sealer, it is best to get the yellow can of Zinseer marked "sanding sealer". This is the correct viscosity and "cut" for your application. Also, it is dewaxed shellac, as opposed to the 3# cut (that isn't) which helps ensure adhesion.

You can actually sand and recoat when the shellac will easily sand giving off only a fine white powder. This really depends on your application method as well as your weather conditions. If you spray, your coats will probably dry quite fast and you can sand in a relatively short time.
When I spray shellac sealer, I can easily sand within 45 minutes on a warm, clear day. Even though the finish powders up nicely under the paper before then, it is still soft enough to leave unnecessary tiny scratches. If I can, I wait an hour or so just to be sure I have the hardness I want.
When it is cool, humid/drizzly, and I have to brush or pad, I usually wait at least a couple of hours before sanding.
If I brush the shellac, I put a lot more on as it is harder to handle than just whistling by with a gun. So in bad conditions and a brush applied s
But remember, the more coats on the surface and the thicker finish you apply from multiple coats means more drying time between sanding/ coats.
You cannot screw up by waiting for shellac or lacquer to dry properly. You can screw up by getting on with your processes too early. Take your time - good finishing requires patience.
If you go with the lacquer as a final finish, there is no need to sand between coats. I NEVER do unless I have screwed something up. If you sand between the coats you will leave debris on your project surface, and in nooks and crannies where you cannot get it all out. This sanding dust and bits off your paper will however find a way to be prominently displayed in your final finish coat.
With resolvating finishes, sanding between coats simply isn't necessary unless you are removing a run, bad brush stroke, or getting out some dust nibs.

Post away!
Robert
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All,
Again - many thanks for the valuable advice.
Purchased the SealCoat product and applied the first coat.
We had unusually low humidity (for Houston at least) and temps in the low 70's yesterday - and as Mark and Larry commented, the first pass was very tacky before finishing the second pass - may not be the best choice of words - the piece is approx. 8" wide and 17" long which is in the direction of the grain - so a pass covered about half the width.
Two obviously neophyte questions:
    1. Presume that after applying the product it should be worked into the surface and the excess is rubbed off. Is this correct?
    2. There are several small patches that have a faint whitish appearance - and the surface is smooth to the touch.
    Per Robert's recommendation - do not plan to sand and will apply two coats of SealCoat.
    Are these white patches normal? Will they disappear once the lacquer top coat is applied?
Thanks again everyone!
Regards,
Doug

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Douglas R. Hortvet, Jr. wrote:

Work FAST! Shellac dries quickly. Don't tip it off, as you would with varnish.
The whitish patches may be "blushing", which is embedded moisture. The second coat of Seal Coat should eliminate it. Was there water in brush?
Get the blush out before applying the lacquer. Don't move to another step until you've got the current step right.
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Thanks Barry.
Applied the SealCoat with a dry cloth and the humidity was uncommonly dry - at least for Houston.
When applying - should I leave the material on the surface or try to rub in / buff out?
Regards,
Doug

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Douglas R. Hortvet, Jr. wrote:

Wipe on & STOP! <G>
If you keep rubbing, you'll just make a sticky mess.
There isn't much else the white can be other than moisture or debris. Did you sweat on it? No, I'm not kidding... Drops of sweat blush lacquer and shellac.
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Barry,
Thanks for your reply.
OK - no rubbing in or buffing after application.
No sweat fell on the work piece - although were it anytime other than the few weeks of cool, low humidity weather we get here that may have been a possibility.
After the application, wiping down, and replacing the lid on the can - apparently some of the coating dripped onto the work piece - this is where the whitish areas are, in addition to a small area where the grain is very open.
After sitting for several hours, I buffed the entire surface and the white has noticeably diminished.
Temps are good and the humidity is down right now - so will apply the second coat - with no rubbing!
Regards and best wishes for a prosperous New Year!
Doug

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All,
The second coat of sealer is done and overall appearance is very nice, IMO.
Have now noticed the presence of some very fine scratches and a slight discontinuity in the shellac coat - not a run, but a noticeably slight difference in thickness.
Will the lacquer (planning on 3 coats) either melt into the sealer or build up enough so these indications will not show?
Certainly understand that without putting eyes on this replies are based solely on experience.
I am thinking the lacquer may melt into the sealer and provide sufficient film build to provide a suitably smooth surface finish.
Want to do the best I can, without being too overly meticulous about minute anomalies.
Thanks to all again for the expert guidance - best wishes to all for a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year!
Regards,
Doug

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wrote:

The lacquer won't "melt" the sealer - they have different solvents. The uneveness in the sealer coat will telegraph through the lacquer. If you don't need to sand, don't, but if you have to sand, you sand - just wait a suitable amount of time.
You could use Flickr!, or approved equal, to host some of your pictures. It would make it easier in future to discuss what you're doing.
R
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On Wed, 31 Dec 2008 16:54:50 -0600, Douglas R. Hortvet, Jr. wrote:

That could be the result of brushing. I've never had good luck brushing shellac. Any overlap will show up as you describe.
I've had better luck using some of my wife's makeup remover pads wrapped in a piece of old T-shirt. I apply a lot of very thin coats.
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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Larry,
Thanks for the reply.
I applied the sealer with a section of wadded up old t-shirt, folded to provide a flat face to the work piece.
Rather suspect the indication is the result of an uneven edge of sealer.
Guess I will have to sand - as another poster (RicodJour) pointed out that the lacquer won't "melt" the sealer, and I sure do not want that discontinuity propagated to the finish coat of lacquer.
Regards,
Doug

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Douglas R. Hortvet, Jr. wrote:

I'd smooth them with 400 grit.
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"Douglas R. Hortvet, Jr." wrote:

I'm no genius when it comes to working with finishes, but the following work for me:
1) Patience is a virtue.
2) Finish materials are temperature dependant.
If you can't guarantee 70F minimum for at least 3-4 hours (2 before, 2 after applying finish), find something else to do that day.
YMMV.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

and humidity

In dry climates, finishes that dry relatively slowly in other climates, dry quite fast. Higher humidity conditions slow down curing.
In Tucson, I can't follow the directions as far as time between coats or especially time to wipe off excess finish. If I wait the full instructed time, the finish becomes so tacky that the wiping rag is pulled apart into the finish.

--
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough

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On Sun, 28 Dec 2008 23:52:14 -0600, Douglas R. Hortvet, Jr. wrote:

Doug, that sounds like the stuff with wax in it. OK by itself, but not good if you're going to put anything else on top of it. Also not as water resistant.
What you probably should have gotten was Zinsser's SealCoat. It's sold as a sanding sealer, but it's a 2 pound cut of dewaxed shellac.
If you have the patience, you can let what you have sit for a week or two and the wax will settle to the bottom and you can carefully pour off about a half can of dewaxed. Then thin as desired.

Shellac will dry to the touch almost instantly for the first few thin coats and I've never had to wait more than an hour to recoat unless the weather is very cold and damp.
But that doesn't mean it's cured. If you try to sand it (lightly! or you'll melt it!) without waiting at least a week you'll get little gummy balls of shellac all over your sandpaper.
A very experienced woodworking friend of mine claims that shellac never quits getting harder. My experience with old furniture seems to support that.
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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Larry Blanchard wrote:

I find it faster to thin the shellac first and then decant. Once thinned it usually takes only a day or two for the wax to settle out.
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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Better still, and faster, just start over with dewaxed flakes. http://www.shellacshack.com /
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some years ago I made a simple footstool of red oak, and to fill the grgain I used Behlen's Pore-O-Pac (and the solvent to adjust the consistency). I got the idea from someone here ...
That sure did that job, but it also made the wood much lighter in color. I probably should have adjusted the pigment somehow, but wasn't experienced in doing things like that (still am inexperienced). After that, shellac and polyurethane. That has been quite durable over the just about 8 years in use. Photo's on abpw.
--
Best regards
Han
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wrote:

wood filler for the pores in red oak followed by a light steel wool and tack rag, a couple coats of watco or low luster poly.
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