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Expert's Corner — shellac

TIP: Shellac for Holdout

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TIP: Shellac for Holdout

Shellac is often recommended as a sealer, with one of the justifications being that it provides “holdout” so fewer coats of finish then need to be applied to get the same overall thickness. This is correct only if you are applying lacquer over the shellac, as shown in the first accompanying picture. I applied a coat of shellac to the right side of this panel and a coat of nitrocellulose lacquer to the left side. Then I applied a coat of lacquer to the entire panel. There is a little better build on the right side with the shellac sealer...

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TIP: Spraying Outside

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One solution for spraying your project when you don’t have a spray booth or adequate exhaust in you shop is to spray outside. There are some conditions, however, for getting good results. First, you need to pick a day with temperatures in the high sixties to low eighties. Colder will cause the finish to take much longer to dry and this will create more time for debris and bugs to land on and stick to the finish. Hotter will cause the finish to dry too fast, which may lead to dry spray—the finish drying before it lands on the object....

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DEALING WITH THE CHERRY BLOTCHING PROBLEM

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DEALING WITH THE CHERRY BLOTCHING PROBLEM

Cherry was long thought of as the poor man’s mahogany and was used as a substitute for mahogany. But as quality mahogany has become harder to get, cherry has become increasing popular and is now widely thought of as a quality wood in its own right. Though cherry has a beautiful color and is easy to work, it is difficult to finish nicely because of its tendency to blotch. Blotching is uneven coloring caused especially by stains, but also by just a clear finish, that leaves some areas darker than others. Everyone wants to know how to avoid blotching in...

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TIP: Basic Understanding of Solvents

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Following is a basic understanding of the common solvents available in paint stores and home centers. Mineral spirits (paint thinner) and naphtha dilute and clean up oils and varnishes, including oil-based polyurethane varnish. Neither of these solvents damage any fully dried finish, so you can safely use them for cleaning—that is, removing grease or wax. Denatured alcohol thins and cleans up shellac. This solvent will damage a dried shellac finish almost instantly and lacquer and water-based finish fairly quickly, so be very careful if you use alcohol for cleaning. Lacquer thinner and acetone thin and clean up all solvent-based lacquer...

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Go for the Glaze – The Results Are Worth the Effort

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I’m no different from most woodworkers. I don’t really enjoy finishing projects any more than the next guy. (For me, the fun is building the piece, especially as the project begins.) My early finishing involved oil-based stains that were slathered on, then adjusted to the final color by how much or how little you wiped the surface. With nearly zero penetration, the finish laid on the surface and was easily nicked or scratched to show raw wood underneath. Later, as I contemplated building furniture to sell to customers, I was advised about aniline dye and gave that a try. The...

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