I recently completed a small night table/end table. It was the first thing
I've done in quite a while, I am fairly happy with how it came out.
One exception. I finished it with tung oil followed by 6 coats of Shellac,
then some furniture wax. I was very happy with the finish as well. I
placed it next to the bed and put the usual things on it, small lamp, alarm
Now I notice there are areas of the finish which are damaged. The
impressions of the base of the lamp and even the small alarm clock are
permanently in the finish. I can fix this easily, but I don't understand
why it happened. This is the first time I have used shellac. Is this
typical? What did I do wrong? Did I not give the finish enough time to
cure? How long does it take?
Thanks for any input.
You didn't give it enough time to cure. It's hard to say exactly how long it
takes, because that depends on (among other things) temperature, humidity, the
number of coats, and the strength of the shellac -- but I would have waited at
least 48 hours before putting anything on there.
I suspect that you may also have used too much shellac. You don't say what cut
of shellac you were using, but it seems to me that six coats is kinda heavy
for the typical 3-pound cut; I probably would have stopped at three or four,
or used a lighter cut. You may also be applying heavier coats than you need
to. Three light coats are better than one heavy coat.
The good news is that you're right, you probably can fix it easily. Here's how
I'd try to do it:
Wipe it down with mineral spirits first, to remove the wax -- not just in the
damaged areas, but on the *entire* tabletop. Then sand the entire top with
400-grit wet-or-dry sandpaper over a sanding block (not your hand), using
mineral spirits or oil as a lubricant, until the damage is no longer visible.
Wipe clean with mineral spirits, and allow plenty of time to dry (several
hours). Apply another coat or two of shellac. Wait two or three days, then wax
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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