A Good Shellacking

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I was working on an office interior in which all four walls had something made from sapele. I thought I’d share some of the woodwork, but I particularly wanted to show the before and after when using shellac – off-the-store-shelf, right-out-of-the-can shellac. Thank you Zinsser.

And thank you suppliers for stocking fresh shellac, when they had it. The first stop – big blue – had two outdated gallons (one from 2008 and one from 2010) and one from 2014. While the last can was technically not outdated, it was close enough to pass.

Off to the orange store where I found three fresh gallon cans from 2016 and 2017. I bought the 2017 vintage. But this store had zero amber in quarts, so I made a return trip to big blue for my quarts, all of which were dated in 2017.

Why Use Fresh Shellac?

We wrapped up everything last Saturday afternoon around 3:00. We began our work with shellac on Saturday morning at 8:00. Fresh product made that possible. If we would have had to wait around for older shellac to dry, chances are I might still be there working. In the course of seven hours (minus lunch), we sprayed three + coats of shellac in the room with fans blowing in one window and out the other. My glasses looked sand-blasted due to the shellac coating, and that night, because I’d eaten so much shellac, it’s as if my dinner was time-released. (If you get that joke you know too much about shellac – it’s the coating of some time-release pills.)

The first coat was straight-up clear shellac. It took a bit over a gallon to coat the walls. Second coat was also clear. On the third coat, however, we used a 50/50 mix of clear and amber to help warm the overall look.

Just like I would do for furniture, the final coat of shellac was rubbed with #0000 steel wool before a coat of paste wax was applied. I left that for the homeowner and skedaddled back home – that’s too much work.

— Glen D. Huey

Posted on

6 thoughts on “A Good Shellacking

  1. Seal Coat or Bullseye? Looks great.

    1. Thanks, Keith. It’s Bullseye. I’m not that into Seal Coat. I’ll take the 3# cut over the 2# cut anytime.

  2. Glen ,That room looks so warm and inviting. I have never used shellac but
    must get my self ready. Now, you are going to build those folks some period style pieces
    aren’t you? Great work !

  3. Nice job Glen

  4. That came out great!
    That book matched piece over the fireplace is outta this world!
    Nice work brother.

    1. Eric,

      You may have noticed that the panel you mention is the one from the 360 Woodworking article “Large Raised Panels: Tips & Techniques.” Another thing that you might notice is that we hung the assembly upside down – on purpose.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *