Ok, i got a dousing of BLO applied and wiped down on a new red oak
floor. Now i need to know what is the best way (that is not spraying) to
apply the wax free shellac sealer. I'm gonna start on this Thursday, and
I am looking for ideas. I'm thinking a 2" brush like i did my stair
treads with is probably not the best solution.
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'Steve Barker[_6_ Wrote:
> ;2925023']Ok, i got a dousing of BLO applied and wiped down on a new red
No, and no.
Boiled linseed oil is a drying oil. It's a relatively soft coating
that's just not going to stand up well on a working surface like a
Then, you're talking about rolling a shellac sealer onto that drying
oil. Shellac is a natural material excreted from a particular kind of
bug, and it's not nearly hard enough to stand up well on a floor.
In order for any coating to stand up well on a floor, it has to dry to a
HARD film that will stick to the floor well. The harder the coating,
the less dirt will get embedded in that coating underfoot (making the
floor look dirty in the traffic lanes) and the less it'll be scratched
up by people walking on it with shoes on (cuz grit gets embedded in the
leather soles of footwear). So, the harder the coating you put over
your hardwood floor, the longer it'll look new, and the slower it'll
lose that "new" appearance.
What you need to do is go back in time and stain that red oak floor with
an "oil based" or water based stain, (or leave it natural), and then go
over that floor with a finish that dries to a HARD film that will stand
up to foot traffic. That would be a conventional "oil based"
polyurethane hardwood floor finish if you want to stay with tried and
true technology from the 1950's, or if you want to go with one of the
new isocyanurate based polyurethanes that'll give you a coating about
three times as hard, "Traffic" by Bona or "Street Shoe" by Basic
Both Traffic and Street Shoe consist of a gallon of water based
isocyanate prepolymer. When you add the small bottle of catalyst to the
gallon jug and shake, the polymer forms as the water evaporates.
Both Traffic and Street Shoe are different from "oil based" polyurethane
hardwood floor finishes in that the "oil based" stuff is essentially an
alkyd resin with urethane groups inside it that act very much like the
roll cage inside a race car. Those urethane groups link various parts
of the alkyd resin together to make the resin harder (if you could
squeeze it) and stiffer (if you could stretch it).
Neither Traffic no Street Shoe contain any alkyd resins. Instead, what
you get is a water based slurry of prepolymer. The prepolymer consists
of isocyanates already reacted with alcohols to make tiny plastic
"blobs", and those blobs are suspended in water. When the catalyst is
mixed into the jug, the jug shaken and the mixture spread on the floor,
then as the water evaporates from the mixture, the catalyst
concentration rises sufficiently to cause each of those "blobs" to cross
link with all of their neighbors. So, the result is that the plastic
that forms over you floor has very many more urethane groups in, making
for a much harder film than you can ever get in any "oil based"
polyurethane hardwood floor finish.
But, if I understand you correctly, you already have a coating of
linseed oil on top of your oak, and it's never a good idea to put a
harder coating over a softer one. That's because if the floor receives
an impact, it'll have a tendency to "chip" as the soft linseed oil layer
breaks, but the harder and stronger polyurethane above doesn't.
You might want to have a discussion with whomever told you to use boiled
linseed oil on a hardwood floor, and to use shellac as a (presumably)
"wear layer". Maybe see what his or her reasoning, if any, was.
Also, see if any of the hardwood floor finishing companies in your area
have ever applied Traffic or Street Shoe over linseed oil, and what
they're experience was with that installation.
you completely missed the question. but thanks for the novel i didn't
read. The BLO is already on and I WILL be using the shellac.
remove the "not" from my address to email
I will assume that you put on just enough BLO to enhance the wood's
appearance and not so much as to try and form a significant coating.
The finish schedule you are using is traditional for both floors and
furniture although shellac does not stand up to foot traffic as well as more
modern finishes. That being said, I would thin the first coat of shellac
maybe 50% with anhydrous alcohol and then use a lamb's wool applicator.
These applicators fit on the end of a broom handle. Try to keep a wet edge
but keep in mind that shellac dries more quickly than oil based finishes
since the alcohol evaporates more quickly. You may want to do the floor in
sections since later coats will melt into previous ones. You can buy
retarders if needed.
Shellac is not a soft finish and it does not absorb moisture. One of
the down sides to shellac is its brittleness. In fact, kayaks are
traditionally finished with dewaxed shellac. Shellac is a traditional
finish for floors and furniture. That is not to say that something more
modern like varnish or polyurethane would hold up better but I think you
would be surprised by how long a shellac finish will last.
Shellac gets white, cloudy stains from wet glasses. Still surprised to
hear it is used as final finish on floors. I used shellac to refinish a
piano....discovered the method used for a deep glassy finish was
multiple coats of shellac and then final coats of varnish for moisture
protection. Would be tough to use on a floor unless the place is wide
open for ventillation.
If shellac were commonly used on hardwood floors, it would be common
knowledge, and this is the first I've heard of anyone using shellac on a
In 1956, Otto Bayer, founder of the company that still makes Aspirin,
patented the first alkyd based "polyurethane", and it quickly became the
clear coat of choice over hardwood floors because it was harder and more
durable than the Carnauba wax finishes used on hardwood floors at the
Nowadays, we have isocyanate based polyurethanes like Traffic and Street
Shoe that are three times as hard and durable as Otto's "urethane
modified alkyds", and in 20 years it will be standard practice to use
these isocyanate based polyurethanes as hardwood floor finishes as well
as "varnish" for furniture.
So, why not have the benefit of modern chemistry and use the hardest and
most durable clear coat available so that the hardwood floor
stays looking new longer and loses it's good looks slower?
The only thing I'm concerned about is this linseed oil the poster first
put on the wood. While some of that oil will have been absorbed into
the wood, I don't believe there isn't a coat of oil over the wood. And,
the problem is that isocyanate based polyurethanes are very much harder
and stronger than dried linseed oil, and so that linseed oil won't
provide the support needed for those super hard clear coats to last as
long as they should. I'd be concerned that the urethanes would tend to
"chip", which is what happens when you put a hard coating over a softer
one. The soft one breaks when it gets an impact, taking the hard
coating off with it.
I'm nestork, and I approved this message.
Just a word of caution. Isocyanate is a rather reactive chemical group,
one of the reasons it works so well in finishes. But it isn't really
good for your health: <http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/isocyanates/index.html
That's probably because you're only talking to people who are
finishing new floors in (mainly) new houses. All of the (mostly
parquet) floors other than kitchen and bathroom in my 4-story 110 year
old brownstone had been finished with shellac when I moved in 30+
years ago, probably multiple times and probably interspersed with wax.
The result predictably was authentic but dirty-looking floors. Being
at the time gung-ho on polyurethane I sanded and refinished the floors
with that chemical using a gloss coat followed by a satin finish coat.
Although I'm not promoting the idea of museum-level restoration the
result was clearly inappropriate for an aged building so after doing a
few rooms I returned to the idea of shellac (orange shellac) which
imparts a much more pleasant warm golden glow to the floors. Further,
minor repairs to splintered pieces of parquet can be easily done and
the area refinished invisibly.
Not only is the look great, shellac dries very quickly meaning that
you can walk on it much more quickly than one of the newer chemical
finishes. Further, if you screw up you can easily cover your mistake
with another coat which will reliquify the base coat; try that with
your plastic. If that wasn't enough, the smell of the finish is
alcohol (the solvent) which is certainly less offensive than the
god-only-knows-what solvent for the poly and successor finishes.
One further success story for shellac: I had a teak coffee table I
wished to refinish. I sanded it then tried a wash coat of poly to seal
it. Disaster. The poly coat wrinkled and failed to dry. Oops bad
batch. Too old maybe? Re-sanded, new can, new attempt, same disaster.
I tried sanding sealer, supposedly lacquer base. It didn't work
either. At this stage I was pulling my hair out. I hadn't tried
shellac because like you I believed it wasn't a good finish for a
place where wet glasses might be put down but eventually I gave in and
applied a full coat of non-dewaxed shellac. Success! I still put an
overcoat of poly and it's held up to this day (15 years). Later,
talking to an old-time furniture refinisher and he said, "Sure,
everyone knows that teak is such an oily wood that the only finish
possible is shellac!" According to him the bad-mouthing of shellac
arose because the lacquer and later poly manufacturers were trying to
gain market share; most of it was pure malicious fabrication.
On 9/14/2012 12:13 AM, email@example.com wrote:
thank you for that explanation. I wasn't going to bother telling them
the truth. And the truth is, It looks better. That's the bottom line.
What good is a (plastic) finish that lasts for years if it looks like
shit? It takes 10 minutes to recoat a 11x15 room with shellac, it dries
to walk on in an hour, so what's the problem? Even if it only lasted a
month, i'd still do it.
remove the "not" from my address to email
On Monday, September 10, 2012 7:50:39 PM UTC-4, Steve Barker wrote:
Start by abandoning the idea of using shellac and get some polyurethane. The traditional route is the oil based one but many have had good results with the newer water based formulas. Which make clean up a lot easier and also do not yellow with age.
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