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Thread: Rubbing Out a Shellac Finish for a Semi-gloss or Satin Look

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    Gunco Regular Johnny 5.56's Avatar
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    Default Rubbing Out a Shellac Finish for a Semi-gloss or Satin Look

    I have read up on rubbing out a shellac finish to obtain either a semi-gloss or satin finish, but I sure could use some help. I know that it's important to wait for the shellac to dry/cure before rubbing out the finish. There are several techniques and utensils used for this process. Some guys say to flood the surface with mineral spirits and then use "0000" steel wool. Some do this but use high grit (600+) sand paper and then wet sand the shellac. I've seen some guys use soapy water as a lubricant and then use the high grit SP to wet sand it. The guy at Woodcraft said that I should just use wax as a lube and then rub it out with "0000" steel wool.



    My questions are as follows:


    * How long do you wait for the shellac to cure before starting the rubbing out process?

    * How do you go about it for either a semi-gloss or satin appearance?

    * After the finish has been dulled, what's the best way to polish/burnish the shellac to reach the desired finish?

    Thanks guys!

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    Gunco Member akma's Avatar
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    Alcohol is the solvent used in shellac so it won't be long fot it to cure. Two days should be good enough in warm weather. Shellac by nature is not a very durable finish. I would suggest overcoating with poly then rub out the finish. You'll improve it's durability greatly. Rubbing compound is easy to use.

    Wax is a good protector.

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    Gunco Regular Johnny 5.56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akma View Post
    Alcohol is the solvent used in shellac so it won't be long fot it to cure. Two days should be good enough in warm weather. Shellac by nature is not a very durable finish. I would suggest overcoating with poly then rub out the finish. You'll improve it's durability greatly. Rubbing compound is easy to use.

    Wax is a good protector.
    Thanks.

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    Gunco Regular sgt ron's Avatar
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    i let it dry good and rub it with paper towels or an old cotton t-shirt. i don't use any lube. when you rub it don't rub hard. just fast enough to generate a little heat and it will smooth out and be slick as glass. don't rub to long in one spot.

    if you are going to use a polycoat, then don't use shellac. it will crack the finish after a while. the shellac will move with the wood as it expands or shrinks. the poly does not as much. the poly is a much harder finish and will last longer than the shellac, but you can make finish repairs easier with the shellac.
    the shellac i use is a finish and sealer. ZINSSER. i use the amber on all of mine.
    i use johnson floor paste wax on mine for final coating. it helps to keep the moisture out of the wood.
    good luck.

    if you are going to use poly, then use the MARINE grade poly. it will look good for years and hold up the best on wood.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    vietnam vet 67-68

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    Gunco Regular Johnny 5.56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgt ron View Post
    i let it dry good and rub it with paper towels or an old cotton t-shirt. i don't use any lube. when you rub it don't rub hard. just fast enough to generate a little heat and it will smooth out and be slick as glass. don't rub to long in one spot.

    if you are going to use a polycoat, then don't use shellac. it will crack the finish after a while. the shellac will move with the wood as it expands or shrinks. the poly does not as much. the poly is a much harder finish and will last longer than the shellac, but you can make finish repairs easier with the shellac.
    the shellac i use is a finish and sealer. ZINSSER. i use the amber on all of mine.
    i use johnson floor paste wax on mine for final coating. it helps to keep the moisture out of the wood.
    good luck.

    if you are going to use poly, then use the MARINE grade poly. it will look good for years and hold up the best on wood.
    Thank you. I bought some Howards Feed-n-Wax, as well as Minwax finishing paste. I'm going to experiment.

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