Painting on mahogany


Recommended Posts

Hello there! Newbie here, I’m an enthusiastic, but this is my first job. 
I got a mahogany chest of drawers. It was in a very bad shape. After all the repairing job and a lot of sanding (maybe too much) I decided to paint it white with a Jolie paint. 
As you probably already figured out, it was a disaster. It was not just bleeding, actually the paint became pink. This is the only option to have  my daughters’ chest of drawers, so, after looking on the web, I sanded off the “pink paint” and I used two coats of shellac. I applied them with a cloth. 
I changed the cloth before doing the second coat and after that I noticed the cloth was dirty, pinkish, still due to the mahogany. 
So, this is my question for you. It’s safe to paint now my chest with the white paint, or I need an extra coat of shellac and having the cloth clean after that? I’m terrified of having bleeding again.

attached pictures of my cloth after the second coat of shellac and one picture of the chest surface after my second coat of shellac.

Thank you!





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum, @Neofita!  There don't seem to be any photos attached. My first question is, are you certain it is mahogany? I know mahogany has a red-ish tone, but I've never heard of the raw wood color bleeding through paint before. Even if you forgot to clean away sanding dust before painting, I think you would see more of a muddy brown show up as streaks in the paint. I begin to suspect that the chest is not mahogany, but another wood treated with a colorant to make it look more like mahogany. In either case, shellac is generally considered to be a good sealer for such things. My best advise is to contact the maker of the paint you choose, and follow their recommendations.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The label may only indicate the stain color, not the actual wood. The back is plywood, I assume, but it obviously has a stain smeared on it in that photo.

Certain brands use an oddly oily formulation for mahogany stain. I have noticed this in the past, that the stain takes longer to cure than other colors of the same brand, and the pigment can rub off even after several days of drying. My guess is that is the case here, regardless if the wood itself is actually mahogany or not.

The shellac should do the trick though.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are also shellac based primers that have pigment in there that go down whiteish. This should help the situation.

Keep in mind there are some primers that will develop a stain from the substrate underneath but will lock that stain in the primer layer. Don't be surprised if the priming layer gets stained the topcoat will not be stained.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@wtnhighlanderthank you. Yes, the back is an horrible plywood. I would love to replace it, but I don’t know how and it’s a different problem with this piece. 
Thank you for your explanation, I’m so glad to be here with so experienced people.

Based on the pictures I sent is it hard to say which kind of wood is it? 
I’m glad the shellac will be enough to fix the issue, I very hope so. I really don’t want to see more bleeding.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, Neofita said:

Thank you @Chestnut! This is a great idea and it makes me feel more safe. Can I put this primer over shellac? 

Do you mind sharing the shellac product that you used previously? There are shellac products that have wax and others that do not have wax. Ideally you will want a dewaxed shellac or some adhesion issues may occur. Beings that you have already coated the product it may just change my recommendation, for instance if you used a shellac with wax you may need to do 2 coats of primer to ensure long term adhesion.

(to note waxed shellac does not have wax added, the wax is naturally occurring in the finish and requires a simple process to remove the wax which then creates "dewaxed shellac")

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I quite like the BIN shellac based primer. I've used it on bare wood as well as over polyurethane with good results. The only other comment I'd make on it is that you should apply light coats to avoid drips, if you plan to spray. It will completely cover the wood underneath, just not necessarily on the first coat.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Chestnut said:

If you haven't applied the clear shellac there would be no reason to re-apply the BIN primer will accomplish the same task.

Ok, thank you. I have already applied two coats of shellac. I would apply on coat of BIN primer just to be extra sure the wood doesn’t bleed. Am I correct or this move will build to thickness? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Hello guys! Happy New Year!

Since woodworking is an hobby for me, I decided to paint my dresser today. And I ruined my first day of the new year.

So, update: I wanted to play safely, so after 2 coats of shellac I did 1 coat of the BIN primer.

I sanded just with a 600 grit paper, only to reach smoothness.

Today I used my air sprayer (with white paint) and TA-DA! 15 minutes after the first coat of painting... the bleeding appeared agiai!!!

I’m soooo upset!! I can believe it.

What should I do now??

Pictures a of the “new” persistent bleeding.

Thank you!








Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Who's Online   2 Members, 0 Anonymous, 110 Guests (See full list)

  • Forum Statistics

    Total Topics
    Total Posts
  • Member Statistics

    Total Members
    Most Online
    Newest Member