As I understand it, shellac is best applied with a synthetic chisel tipped
brush of high quality. I have not looked yet but would Loew's or Home Depot
have such a brush or would I go to paint store or art supply for that?
What is your experience?
IMHE, a "filbert" shape is easier to work with than a chisel.
Quality seems pretty immaterial. The important thing is the right
synthetic fibre for the bristles - Taklon is a good trademark to look
for, as is a brush intended for watercolour painting.
Cheap natural fibre bristles are rubbish compared to good ones. But
for synthetic fibres of the right sort, the difference between a
reasonably cheap brush and a top-end brush is near negligible.
I'd suggest a craft / hobby grade art shop. I buy mine ($5 each) at
the local stationers. I used to buy top-grade $15 artist's brushes,
but I really can't tell the difference.
On Sun, 25 Apr 2004 20:46:48 -0600, Dave Balderstone
Y'think those'd work better than the old sock I use?
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That's exactly what I always thought, but to each his own! <G>
One of the guys was a photographer, he's got some great periscope
photos of some European beaches and some interesting things that go on
onboard pleasure boats and yachts! One of his captains liked to get
US Navy surface ships in the crosshairs, take the photo, and send
"Gotcha!" Christmas cards to the other captains.
On Mon, 26 Apr 2004 12:00:16 -0600, Dave Balderstone
Naughty, naughty, but I'll answer anyway <vbg>
After I've worn holes in the heels of good cotton crew socks,
I use the bottom half to tack off projects and the top half
to rub on shellac, Waterlox, and oil finishes, etc. Since most
are reused for additional coats, they go into double baggies
with theair squeezed out. I lay those in the middle of the
shop floor, just in case, but none has ever even gotten warm,
let alone lit itself on fire. Removing the air helps.
P.S: Onan Lives!
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Well, I guess it depends if the shellac is used as a sealer or the
I have never used it as a final finish, but use it constantly to
apply a seal/tint after staining oak. I use off the shelf amber shellac
thinned with ethanol to about 4 or 5:1 (don't measure it). Like
a spit coat. Rub it down with 0000 steel wool and then finish with
wipe on poly-at least 2 or 3 coats with 0000 steel wool between.
Oh yes - I use Bounty paper towels for all finishes believe it or
not. I think my finishes are pretty good - better than I have ever
achieved with a brush, no matter how expensive.
A month or so ago our woodworking guild had a presentation on shellac
by a restoration specialist from the Smithsonian. Here are a couple
of comments he made regarding application:
Good shellac brushes will cost between $50-70. An artist's flat wash
brush and a round filbert mop are both really good. On sale they can
often be purchased at about half the above price. With the cost, its
only common sense to take good care of the brush. Never set a brush
on its tip. Clean the brush with solvent until the solvent comes out
almost clear. Let the bush dry. It will be stiff but at this stage
you can shave the ends if necessary. To get ready for the next use,
the brush is softened with the shellac.
Shellac can be sprayed if you add a retarding agent. Propanol and
butanol both work with butanol causing a greater slow down of drying.
The secret in shellac application is the use of a high quality brush,
how much material the brush can hold and working in a modular fashion.
Start with an object and determine the area that can be covered with
one brush load. Divide the total surface into brush load sections and
apply the shellac to each section starting in the middle and working
toward the edges. Move to the next section and do the same. Work the
entire surface in a serpentine pattern. Then go back to the first
section and repeat. Keep doing this as long as the start point is
Let the shellac dry. Rub out the surface with 0000 steel wool. GO
through this process three times. Allow the last application to dry
for several days to a week. Then start applying a good paste wax with
0000 steel wool and continue this process until you are worn out. One
more application after that should be enough.
Some denaturing agents in alcohol can cause bad results. For a
solvent, pure ethanol is best. In Maryland you can buy it in many
liquor stores for around $20 a half gallon. If you find you don't
like shellac as a finish the rest of the solvent can still be used.
I guess I never had a Smithsonian caliber project to work on!
Sounds like a labor of love - hope to get to that level someday.
For kitchen cabinets tho, give the Bounty a try.
Happy woodworking & finishing.
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