I just finished refinshing an old table for a co-worker of mine. With some
help from the guys at the local WoodCraft store, we were able to determine
that the exitisting finish was a shellac. The table, they guessed, was
about 100 years old, and was very dirty. Some of the finish had already
been worn away down to almost bare wood. After a lot of elbow grease and
some alcohol, I had as much of the exisitng finish off as I could get. And
in the process, I found that there were inlays in the table that before were
buried under years of build-up.
I put about 4 coats of shellac back on the table, satisfied that I'd done
the best job I could ( my first time with shellac ), and the result was a
very nice looking mahogany table, with inlays in the top, both leaves, the
legs, and the feet. Unfortunately, my friend did not realize that shellac
is supposed to be a pretty high-gloss finish. While she and her husband
love the "new" table, they both would like a finish that's a little more
My first choice would be to "dull up" the shiney finish somehow, and make it
a lot less glossy. Will some steel wool do that for me, or is there no way
to take the edge off of a finish like that?
The second option, which I don't like to talk about, is to take off the new
finish, and put something else in instead. I'm assuming that has the
potential of leading to a lot of trouble since, I don't get 100% of the
shellac off, an incompatible finish will bubble, or react in an undesireable
So, I'm looking for options and suggestions.