Finishing Wood With Shellac at Techshop




Things you need:

Denatured Alcohol
Rag (or an Artist Brush) 
Rag or Cloth 
Mason Jar with top
Small Dish
220 sand paper
Chip Brush 
Frame (I made it out of Mahogany)

I reason why I use Shellac with Mahogany is that i makes  the figure stand out more then if you would use an oil.  

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Step 1: Finishing Wood With Shellac at Techshop

Put down Cardboard to cover the table. 

I use a one to one mix of Shellac and Denatured Alcohol. The one to one mix doesn't have to be perfect, just as long as it close. When you use the one to one part the mixture, you have to apply more coats but you will get a better finish in the end. And you don't have to sand as much in between coats. 

Step 2: Finishing Wood With Shellac at Techshop

Applying the Shellac to the wood you want to go in the direction of the grain. You can use the a rag or a artist brush, the reason why you want to use an artist brush is that it holds less liquid then a paint brush that you would buy at a hardware store. If you are using a rag, to help you get to get in to the corners I will use a chip brush.The first coat will dry quickly, you may only have to let it set for a half hour or so. I put on 4 or 5 coats of Shellac. 

WIth the 220 grit sand paper and a wood square block, lightly sand the sufrace of the wood and wipe claen with a rag 

Has you apply more coats, it will take longer to dry. 

Step 3: Finishing Wood With Shellac at Techshop

The last coat I try to lay on kinda thick, but beware that the shellac will want to get tacky if you try to go over it too many times. Let dry for 48 hours before using. 


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    8 Discussions


    3 years ago

    What type of wood did you use in this project?


    3 years ago

    hi I'm wanted to seal a purple heart wood handle on a knife I'm restoring I thought shellac and then maybe wax was the best way what do you guys think?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    hi, does the shellac darken the wood using this method? I'm working on a project and I am wanting to keep the mahogany as light coloured as possible.


    I have to inform you that the statement made is incorrect that flakes last longer then the pre-mixed product used in this step by step. Rustoleum which owns zinsser has claimed that their shellac used here has a shelf life of 3-1/2 years!!. When I mix my shellac my self using the flakes I maybe get approx 2-3 months in properly sealed container max! Just a little tid-bit of info. Good post I love using shellac very nice finish that isn't used much any more it seems. :(


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I've wanted to use shellac as a finish for a while now, but I haven't seized any recent finishing opportunities to incorporate it.

    Couple of questions: Have you ever used the shellac flakes? Do you know if there is any advantage to using them over the liquid version?

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I have never used Shellac flakes...I will put it on my to do list. Give me a few weeks and I will get back to you.