How to use shellac

By: Furniture Restoration  06-Dec-2011
Keywords: Shellac, Steel Wool

Shellac is used still in a variety of industries. In the 17th century master craftsmen found that high grade shellac provided the most beautiful protection and finish for wood.

Shellac is organic and non-toxic

Shellac is very simple to use and really there is no need to consider any other treatment for interior woodwork.

We have Shellac in first grade lemon flake, dewaxed garnet and button disks.

Here are some of the advantages of Shellac:

  • Economical - compare the cost of varnishes and polyurethane's with Shellac.
  • Environmentally friendly - organic, non-toxic, no odour, as soon as the methylated spirits has evaporated there is no residual smell.
  • Repairable - scratches and wear are a fact of life, Shellac finishes are easily repaired - not always the case with other products.
  • Coverage - you would expect to give three coats of ordinary varnish for a reasonable coverage and effect. Three coats of Shellac will give the same coverage but the effect that's all together a different story.
  • Bonding - Shellac has extraordinary tenacity stock whip makers traditionally use shellac to bond plaited whip handles. Lacquer peeling off surfaces is a thing of the past.
  • Undercoat barrier - solve problems of seepage and flaking paint with shellac as an undercoat for paint. Reduce the need for extra coats of paint to hide old colour. Use a polyurethane over shellac for table tops whilst retaining the aesthetics of a shellac finish.

Directions for use

You will need

  • One litre methylated spirits
  • 250g Shellac
  • A one litre can or jar, resealable

Add 250 grams of Shellac to 3/4 of a litre of the methylated spirits and stir. It will dissolve in about two hours. Use the balance of the methalated spirits to make up for evaporation. To clean up use methylated spirits for brush and wiping.

Preparation is everything!

A clean surface should be rubbed back with 0000 fine steel wool or very fine sandpaper until the surface is silky smooth.

Three coats of shellac are recommended.

Cut with steel wool or fine sandpaper between each coat and after last coat.

Wipe dust off each time.

Finish with Natural Beeswax Furniture Polish stand back and admire the fantastic results.

Keywords: Shellac, Steel Wool

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