My 8 yr old son and I are building him a bunk bed with southern yellow
pine - difficult stuff to finish.
After many trials and at least as many errors, we have settled on a
finishing schedule that gives us a pleasing result.
1. Sanding progressively finer grits down to 220 with the ROS.
2. Wash coat of 1lb clear Bullseye shellac. Wait 30 minutes.
3. Stain with Woodkote's Danish Walnut Jel'd Stain (thick jell stain) Wait
4. Several coats of water based poly. 3 hours between coats.
The 2-3 day wait between the stain and the poly is a killer. In practice,
it means that I can't stain and finish in the same weekend.
I have read that production guys reduce the 2-3 days to overnight by using a
sealer coat of shellac over the stain the next morning. I tried that and
the stain comes off on the brush. The stain is dry to the touch but not
REALLY dry. I imagine that the production types are spraying on their
sealer coats and so don't disturb the stain by touching it.
One day I will spring for the HVLP system of my dreams but for now I just
can't afford it.
Would a cheapo sprayer from Home Depot do? I am happy to brush on
everything else. It would be so nice to be able to stain in the evening and
continue working in the morning! I would even be willing to buy aerosol
cans. Does anyone sell spray cans of shellac???
Yes and no. I am wiping off the stain pretty quickly after I apply it -
and am removing only part of it. The SYP that we are building the bed out
of absorbs stains very unevenly and unpredictably. Commonly available
stains like Minwax - all varieties, and Olympic are just disasters on SYP,
even with ample doses of their conditioners. The Woodkote Jel'd stain is a
thick jell that several articles and books say works well on pine because it
sits on top of the wood rather than soak in. On our SYP it was better than
anything else we found but still it came up blotchy and uneven on about
every third piece of wood. I decided to combine the idea of using a shellac
wash coat with the Jel'd stain to even further limit it from soaking in too
much. That works well. I suppose that in a sense I am glazing as much as I
am staining. At any rate, the result is a grain that just shows through the
finish and doesn't give the "Zebra" effect that I am trying to get away
from. Because I am leaving some of the stain on the wood, it dries to the
touch overnight but doesn't really cure for 2-3 days.
As I suspected. Well, that is probably most of your problem. The stuff isn't
designed to dry like a glaze coat. Perhaps you may have better luck with
several coats applied and wiped off rather then layers. If it isn't dry
adding shellac on top of the stuff isn't going to help the situation much. I
know waiting can be painful but sometimes the only alternative is to do it
right. Generally it pays off in the end. That isn't to say you won't get
away with it though.
I'm not sure but I may have seen spray shellac at Lowes but no guarantee.
Mmmm, I do know they have spray lacquer (Deft). I wonder how that would
In any case, good luck.
Home Depot in my area sells Zinsser's "Bulls Eye Shellac" in spray cans. I
haven't used this product, but if it is like their non aerosol "Bulls Eye", it
contains about 30% wax. Originally David stated his final coat would be water
base poly. I would think the wax content in the shellac would cause adhesion
problems for the final finish.
Also wouldn't the use of water based poly over lacquer cause blushing?
Buffalo, NY - USA
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If you would like to use an oil modified stain, a product such as
Bonakemi's DriFast line of stains allows you can apply finish within 3
to 4 hours and it doesn't raise the grain and it doesn't show lap marks.
It's EXCELLENT stuff. I just did a floor with it and yesterday I did
an oak desk. It came out beautifully. Had it not been late in the day,
I could have applied the finish coat already. Now I need to wait 'til
tomorrow since I've been spending much of the day playing with my new
toy, a Veritas smoother plane. :)
David S. Day wrote:
You might want to try this on a test piece.
I'm not big on using the ROS for the final sanding, as it always seems
to leave swirls, even in the finer grits, but if it's working well
enough for you, that's fine.
Try putting a coat of the poly on the freshly sanded wood and let it
Get some TransTint dye stain concentrate from Jeff Jewitt (I've seen
them at Woodcraft, also).
Put the Transtint into your poly and apply this as a color coat/toner.
It's difficult to get an even toner coat with a brush but not
impossible and you will still have much more control over the
blotching this way than you will with the gel stain on SYP.
If your first coat of toner isn't dark enough (it's best to build up
the color gradually) apply a second coat.
You will have to seal in the color coats with clear poly, or the
inevitable nicks will show white.
(Christmas is coming. Ask Santa for that HVLP.)
Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker
Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania
You're using the "wrong" shellac. If you're going to apply a coat of ???? on
top of a coat of shellac, you want the shellac to be de-waxed. You can mix
your own from flakes and decant it, or you can purchase Zinsser's "Seal
Coat" brand. This is sold as a sanding sealer and is actually a blonde
de-waxed shellac in a can. I just used it on a pine cabinet yesterday and it
worked great (as usual)
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I was brain dead on that one. I have flakes from shellac.net for my garnet
shellac but have been using Zinsser's Clear for my wash coats and sealer
coats. Fortunately, so far, I haven't had any dissapointing results.
But you seem to be correct - I see no mention of it being "de-waxed"
anywhere on the label.
I am almost out of it so I will switch forthwith.
Another poster pointed out that Zinsser sells an aerosol can of clear
shellac that might meet my needs for that crucial first wash coat. I went
to my Home Depot and that is all they carry. I stained some pieces this
morning and applied a sprayed on wash coat this afternoon and so far I have
applied two more brushed on coats! I had been having to stain and then wait
2-3 days! I will be done with these pieces within 24hrs!
My thanks to all who offered their help.
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