Sunday, August 16, 2015

Shellac! Why bother with anything else.

For many woodworkers the first thing that comes to mind when I mention shellac is Zinsser Shellac in a can. Well that is shellac but not the quality I am interested in using. Shellac by far is the number one choice my studio.  I have all the different grades of flakes on hand and depend on them to shift the color of a piece one way or another.  What shellac gives you that no other finish can is depth and clarity like no other. 

Small selection of shellac flakes.

When using shellac I either spray, brush, or pad. When I decide to spray shellac its mainly if I have a ton of surface to polish, but I only spray to help build the finish. My main method of applying shellac is by brush and by pad.  Some of the suppliers I use to buy shellac is as follows; ShellacshackShellac.netShellacfinishes.comHomesteadfinishingproducts. Just be aware of the quantity you are purchasing and the cost for the quantity. Sadly some suppliers think the shellac they have is worth the price of gold. Shellac has gotten expensive these past few years, simply due to colder climate change and lack of staff for processing the shellac.  But that doesn't give the right for some suppliers to legally rob you with the price they are trying to charge you.

For brushing shellac I love some form of ox or badger hair brush. One of my favorite brushes comes from Tools For Working Wood. The only complaint with these brushes is that they don't last as long as many others. But that said they are my go to brush. Please visit  Toolsforworkingwood for more information.  The other brush that many of my fellow finishers use and recommend is Golden Talkon brushes from Homestead Finishing Products Homestead-Finishing-Products/Brushes

The other important feature when using shellac is what is being added to it. I for one mainly use 190 proof grain alcohol. The reason being is I don't want any additives or chemicals in the alcohol. I want the purest form as I can afford. If you can get your hands on some Moonshine than by all means use it.   

The best option off the shelf.

Lastly sheen! Sheen plays a huge factor and is what I love about shellac. That high mirror like gloss that can be achieved from shellac is breathtaking. Yet not everyone wants high gloss, so the semi gloss or a flat look is something I need to also achieve. For a sheen other than gloss I depend on a product called shellac-flat which you can purchase from Homesteadfinishing Shellac Flat .  The information found on the product is really simple and its not difficult to use or add to the shellac.

Shellac often gets a bad reputation on its longevity and skill necessary to use it. I say give it a try for you'll be surprise how easy it is use and how durable it really is.  If all that information wasn't enough, than listen to the Master himself who has a doctrine on french polishing Mr. Patrice Lejeune. Patrice graduated from the Ecole Boulle in Paris France, and is by far one of the best Ebeniste I have had the pleasure of meeting.

Welcome to the world of shellac.


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