Coyote Jim

Shellac and Dye

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Just completed assembly on my project and for a finish I want to try shellac and dye.

I have never used shellac (other than the spray can stuff) before, nor have I ever used dye. Do any of you have any recommendations of a good resource where I can learn shellac? Like a shellac/dye 101?

I know I can just google it but that is a bit of a shotgun approach, my hope is that you guys could give me more of a focused direction.

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I've used plenty of shellac but never dyed it.  Personally, I cut it to either a 1# or 2# cut and then wipe it on with a clean cotton rag.  I like it because in about 30-60 minutes I can apply another coat.  Remember that shellac does not build coats like other finishes but rather each application "blends" (for lack of a better word) with the previous application.

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Jeff Jewitt and Peter Gedreys both have videos out there on shellac.  A fair number here as well. Once you get the hang of shellac, you will turn to it for many tasks; barrier coat between incompatibles, sanding sealer, blotch preventer . . . its like the miracle drug for many woodworking tasks.  Another video with Peter coloring with shellac (although not dye).

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I’ve got question for any of you.  I used a 1# cut shellac to seal a maple tabletop, sanded with a 320 grit, then applied 2 coats of general finishes gel stain.  Is there any problem finishing with a general finishes high performances poly topcoat?  I guess I’m now concerned with initial shellac I used being compatible with the poly.

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It’s my understanding that shellac is compatible with ANYTHING. I have used the GF ARS over shellac several times without involving the gel stain and worked well. 

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I’ve got question for any of you.  I used a 1# cut shellac to seal a maple tabletop, sanded with a 320 grit, then applied 2 coats of general finishes gel stain.  Is there any problem finishing with a general finishes high performances poly topcoat?  I guess I’m now concerned with initial shellac I used being compatible with the poly.

Thank you, I appreciate the info!

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See Ken's post above. :) 

I'll be up front & say that I don't like stains generally & gel stains especially. Gel stains can cause issues of their own with the top coat adhering if the stain is applied a little thick. Brushing on the top coat can also mix & lift small amounts of the gel stain creating a muddy mess. So if I did have to use a gel stain (hope that never happens again) I'd for sure use shellac between it & the top coat.

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drzaius, thanks.  I’ve already applied the shellac and gel stain, so I guess I’ll to make sure I sand the last stain coat well and apply the poly gently.  Thanks for the good info.

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I applied the 1# cut shellac before anything else to seal the wood and reduce the blotchiness of the wormy maple.  Then stained with two coats of the GF Gel Stain to help even more.  GF says to let their oil based products dry for 72+ hrs before applying the water based poly, but I was just worried about that first layer of shellac.  The shellac has been on for two weeks or so and the stain for another week.  I also have been diligent about sanding properly between  all coats.

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As mentioned, one of shellac's uses is as a barrier coat between incompatible finishes.  I would not expect any problems but, agree with drzaius that top coats that use a similar carrier as the colorant can cause muddiness by leaching the colorant into the clear top coat.  Spraying is the general cure for fussing top coat situations but, we are not all set up for that.  Careful application of your top coat is the way I would go if spraying is not an option.  For small pieces like boxes or frames a rattle-can lacquer might be an option.

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Applying a coat of shellac over top of the stain will provide a barrier and better adhesion for the top coat.

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Full strength or should I cut it down.  The Bullseye Shellac I am using says not to apply beneath a poly coat all, so it sort of puzzles me.  I do give all of you who do it regularly the nod though.

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Hopefully someone will offer more info on this, because I don't use a lot of shellac. I suspect the reason Bullseye won't work under poly is that it must contain wax. A dewaxed shellac would do the job. I'd use it straight from the can, or maybe thin it out 25%. I've never mixed flake though, so I'm not sure what cut would be best. Lots of other guys on here have though.

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If you use the Zinnser Bullseye Sealer it is a dewaxed shelac 2 lb cut, I usually cut it in  a half to a 1 lb cut. draius is correct the others have wax in them.

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Thanks pkinneb!  I used the regular clear Zinnser Bullseye Shellac, so I am assume it is not dewaxed.  Any suggestions on a finish coat that works with a shellac that has wax in then?  I guess I should've looked a bit deeper into the Bullseye product, here is a link to their product data sheet; 

https://www.rustoleum.com/~/media/DigitalEncyclopedia/Documents/RustoleumUSA/TDS/English/CBG/Zinsser/BEY-06_Bulls_Eye_Shellac_TDS.ashx

 

 

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36 minutes ago, mkwmson said:

Thanks pkinneb!  I used the regular clear Zinnser Bullseye Shellac, so I am assume it is not dewaxed.  Any suggestions on a finish coat that works with a shellac that has wax in then?

More shellac. I don't know that there is anything that adheres to wax except more wax. I once read somewhere that if you let the can sit for a week or 2 the wax either settles or floats so if you open the can carefully you can pour off essentially a de-waxed shellac.

You may be able to lay a coat of dewaxed shellac between waxed shellac and poly but i'm not sure how that will work i've never done it. You didn't mention the use of the project so it's hard to tell if shellac will be durable enough or not. It's a pretty tough finish as long as moisture and cleaners stay away.

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It's going to be used as an everyday dining table.  I am considering the "more shellac" option as well.  I am contacting the mfg about it as well to see if they have a solution.  I did cut it by 50% which it said not to do as well, maybe that bought me a little forgiveness.

 

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15 minutes ago, mkwmson said:

It's going to be used as an everyday dining table.  I am considering the "more shellac" option as well.  I am contacting the mfg about it as well to see if they have a solution.  I did cut it by 50% which it said not to do as well, maybe that bought me a little forgiveness.

 

Yeah .... more shellac might not work there. Dining tables get abused pretty heavily and if you spill you vodka while mixing your martini it will damage the shellac as it's alcohol soluble.

I had to read up. If your current top coat is an oil basied gel stain. You will be able to apply Seal Coat which is a dewaxed shellac as a barrier between the stain and the top coat. This should help solve some adhesion issues.

Thinning is a good practice it speeds up dry time. I don't know why they don't recommend thinning, probably further Cover their butt language.

Also as a note shellac when applied melts into the previous layer so sanding between coats is necessary to level the finish and isn't necessary for adhesion, like between coats of polyurethane. I often apply 3 coats of shellac with minutes in between and then let it dry for a few hours then sand level. There is a LOT of technique to this and i'm still learning. Don't fret over owning a can of dewaxed shellac and waxed shellac iprobably have 3 different cans of shellac sitting around and they get used in different situations. The shelf life is pretty good and the tops of the cans are dated from the factory so you can always know how old the shellac is.

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Thanks all!  I want to hear from the mfg before I proceed.  I will let you know what I do and how it turns out!  I will continue to read all thoughts though. Never have too much info.

 

 

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On 5/3/2019 at 10:04 AM, mkwmson said:

Full strength or should I cut it down.  The Bullseye Shellac I am using says not to apply beneath a poly coat all, so it sort of puzzles me.  I do give all of you who do it regularly the nod though.

You are probably using a shellac that has not been de-waxed.  Use Bulls Eye Seal Coat which is dr-waxed.

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Another possibility is catalyzed shellac, sold by VJ on shellacfinishes.com. It is impervious to almost anything. 

VJ will usually answer the phone and is a mine of shellac info for your questions. He sells really good shellac too.

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