On Sat, 23 Oct 2004 15:07:26 -0600, Dave Balderstone wrote:
I'm trying to teach myself how to apply shellac without it looking like a
streaky mess. I've abandoned brushing and tried padding some today. Seems
to be a much better method. I just ripped out a hunk of old t-shirt and
stuffed it with some old cheesecloth. I just dipped this into the shellac,
but the descriptions that I've found online usually say to use a squeeze
bottle to shoot shellac into the central pad.
Anyone have any tips, tricks, gotchas about applying shellac?
I just came from my shop a few minutes ago. Guess what I was doing,
Joe? Applying shellac with a surgical towel, which is made from a stiff
fabric, who's composition I'm not sure of, but it works like gangbusters
when folded into a pad. I use the flat, rounded edge, about four inches
wide. I cut 3# shellac by about 30-50%, meaning I'm not using
anywhere near the #1 cut that others recommend for padding. Works for
me, and reduces the number of coats required for the same finish thickness.
After 3 or four coats I LIGHTLY sand with 320 to reduce the few shiny
areas that stand out. One to three (usually only one or two) more coats
after that completes the process.
Joe Wells wrote:
Yup. I poured about 2" of shellac into a small rectangular container
and just dip the cloth into the shellac about 3/4" of an inch, tilt the
pad so excess drips off (just a second or two) and then apply the pad to
the workpiece in long even strokes. The more you thin the shellac the
less likely you will have any "problem areas"; unevenness of sheen. I
purposely don't cut the shellac much because I want to avoid applying
too many coats; my patience only lasts so long. :)
I agree a 2# cut works well.
It is important that you not rework the shellac other than maybe one or
two FAST wipes. The pad will start to drag over the fast drying,
thinned shellac at an amazing pace. Recoat time depends on thickness of
application and the ambient conditions.
You are welcome, Joe!
Joe Wells wrote:
I use old dish towels, because there's maybe 4 bushels of them in the shop.
The pre-loading with alcohol isn't needed, in my experience. Dip in the
bowl, and squeeze a bit. No drips on the workpiece, because they screw up
the work you've already done.
By the way, padding the dewaxed shellac (SealCoat, or mixed from flake)
seems a whole different experience from using the Zinsser Amber in the can.
More controllable, to my hand.
I think the squeeze bottle with alcohol is from french polish technique.
That's further down the road than I have explored. What David said about
leveling with 320 or 400 grit is what I do. Then, after the last coats
have cured for long enough (several days at least), they get several coats
of wax applied, usually with a white 3M synthetic pad. Cuts the sheen,
hides the blemishes, adds warmth.
There are other ways, but these work, and have been learned from the old
ones here on the wReck. I see no reason to change.
You're probably right about that. I wouldn't have even brought it up, but
for the number of times that I saw it mentioned elsewhere.
That all sounds like good stuff. Thanks!
Have any of you found the need to vary your technique when using darker
shellac? I stared out brushing with a 2# cut of super blonde and things
were going OK. Then I tried a 2# cut of garnet and now *any* variation of
the thickness of the coat shows as streaks, lumps, and other nastiness. My
attempt at padding was again with super blonde, but I could see the
difference that it made. But I'm curious to see if the garnet fares as
well. No time to try it today, hopefully I can give it a whirl tomorrow.
Joe, I don't use the darker shellacs. I use dyes for coloring the bare
wood, and then spray on sealers and top coats. In the case of shellac,
I either pad Zinnser's shellacs or spray them. I find that for some
projects, padding makes more sense; there's less clean-up and leveling
required. Perhaps my spraying technique with shellac hasn't caught up
with my ability to lay down proper coats of lacquers and water based
polys. I don't like to have too much color in the top coats; I prefer
the bulk of the color being IN the wood.
Joe Wells wrote:
I've used the garnet over blonde on walnut, and liked the effect.
Modest thickness variations weren't really apparent on the walnut. On
the other hand, the walnut had a small inlay of holly in one section,
and the thickness variations for the garnet over the holly sure stood
out like a sore thumb.
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