Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: Newbie seeking shellac advice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Vancouver Canada
    Posts
    45

    Default Newbie seeking shellac advice

    Hello,
    The interior of my aging stinkpot needs a bright new face. Thereís a real mixture of woods in the cabin. The stair treads, handrails and trim are teak. The bulkheads are made of marine ply with a very thin teak veneer. And the rest is fir that has been stained to look like teak(not very successfully).
    A friend is suggesting I very gently sand everything, then coat with shellac, then cover with a clear polyurethane.
    A few questions.
    I just bought a can of shellac that contains a small amount of wax. Will this affect the adhesion of the polyurethane?
    if itís ok to proceed with this combination would anyone have tips on application? Iím not a very experienced woodworker or finisher.

    thanks,

    Paul

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Madison Wisconsin
    Posts
    8,572

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    I don't know squat about shellac, other than it can be used to help match new wood to old wood as a base coat, which I have done successfully. However, polyurethane is a pretty broad term which includes a wide variety of brands and qualities from good to bad. My suggestion would be to use a good quality marine varnish with the best UV filters that you can find instead. It's going to cost you more than some generic polyurethane, but it will both last longer and protect your wood much better.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    42,353

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Puttputt View Post
    Hello,
    The interior of my aging stinkpot needs a bright new face. There’s a real mixture of woods in the cabin. The stair treads, handrails and trim are teak. The bulkheads are made of marine ply with a very thin teak veneer. And the rest is fir that has been stained to look like teak(not very successfully).
    A friend is suggesting I very gently sand everything, then coat with shellac, then cover with a clear polyurethane.
    A few questions.
    I just bought a can of shellac that contains a small amount of wax. Will this affect the adhesion of the polyurethane?
    if it’s ok to proceed with this combination would anyone have tips on application? I’m not a very experienced woodworker or finisher.

    thanks,

    Paul
    The concept is perfectly sound. The key to your final satisfaction will be the extent of your prep work.

    Using shellac as a tie-coat is a good one. Shellac will stick to most old finishes, seal in most contamination, and most new finishes will stick to it.

    Some details -- First - I'd aim for 'de-waxed' shellac. Return that can - which is likely Zinsser brand 'Shellac'. Exchange it for Zinsser 'Seal Coat'. Or find dewaxed elsewhere. Secon - your topcoat. I'd skip the polyurethane. Even on the interior of a boat, something with some UV protection additives is desirable. Most poly's do not have any. I'd rather see you use a tradtional spar/marine varnish: Epifanes; Interlux #96; Man o' War; etc. But going poly wouldn't be catastrophic. Application? Could be sprayed, rattlecanned, or brushed with bristle brushes or foam brushes. Brushing is the most manageable for a beginner.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
    Posts
    13,538

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    One part poly is easy and fast to use ,hard to screw up. I do the inside of my boats and houses with it . Use many thin coats.
    Varnish is a PITA in comparison. Brushing it out is a zen art form.
    Yes, good varnish looks better than poly. But good paint looks better than bad varnish.
    Poly is harder than varnish, so if it may get scratched or abraded.....
    I cannot speak to shellac.
    bruce

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Vancouver Canada
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    I don't know squat about shellac, other than it can be used to help match new wood to old wood as a base coat, which I have done successfully. However, polyurethane is a pretty broad term which includes a wide variety of brands and qualities from good to bad. My suggestion would be to use a good quality marine varnish with the best UV filters that you can find instead. It's going to cost you more than some generic polyurethane, but it will both last longer and protect your wood much better.
    thanks, Todd.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Vancouver Canada
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    One part poly is easy and fast to use ,hard to screw up. I do the inside of my boats and houses with it . Use many thin coats.
    Varnish is a PITA in comparison. Brushing it out is a zen art form.
    Yes, good varnish looks better than poly. But good paint looks better than bad varnish.
    Poly is harder than varnish, so if it may get scratched or abraded.....
    I cannot speak to shellac.
    bruce
    thanks Bruce, i’m clumsy at the best of times so this makes some sense

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Vancouver Canada
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    The concept is perfectly sound. The key to your final satisfaction will be the extent of your prep work.

    Using shellac as a tie-coat is a good one. Shellac will stick to most old finishes, seal in most contamination, and most new finishes will stick to it.

    Some details -- First - I'd aim for 'de-waxed' shellac. Return that can - which is likely Zinsser brand 'Shellac'. Exchange it for Zinsser 'Seal Coat'. Or find dewaxed elsewhere. Secon - your topcoat. I'd skip the polyurethane. Even on the interior of a boat, something with some UV protection additives is desirable. Most poly's do not have any. I'd rather see you use a tradtional spar/marine varnish: Epifanes; Interlux #96; Man o' War; etc. But going poly wouldn't be catastrophic. Application? Could be sprayed, rattlecanned, or brushed with bristle brushes or foam brushes. Brushing is the most manageable for a beginner.
    thanks David, you’re absolutely correct. I’ll see if I can swap the shellac for seal coat
    Paul

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Norwalk CT
    Posts
    698

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    Shellac is the perfect primer/ sealer for varnish. Waxed shellac is the worst primer/ sealer for anything other than waxed shellac.
    Some pictures would help. I would avoid any finish on teak steps unless they have skid strips on them. Are the finishes satin or gloss? Youre better off with a sharp scraper on veneered ply. Im not a big fan of poly but if you just want a quick finish with no maintenence, a good exterior satin poly may be the ticket.
    Ive never used canned shellac so I cant comment but real shellac; flakes dissolved in denatured alcohol is a great primer and sealer and can be brushed, sprayed or apied with a pad. We really need more information to give you more than generic advice.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Vancouver Canada
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    Quote Originally Posted by willin woodworks View Post
    Shellac is the perfect primer/ sealer for varnish. Waxed shellac is the worst primer/ sealer for anything other than waxed shellac.
    Some pictures would help. I would avoid any finish on teak steps unless they have skid strips on them. Are the finishes satin or gloss? Youre better off with a sharp scraper on veneered ply. Im not a big fan of poly but if you just want a quick finish with no maintenence, a good exterior satin poly may be the ticket.
    Ive never used canned shellac so I cant comment but real shellac; flakes dissolved in denatured alcohol is a great primer and sealer and can be brushed, sprayed or apied with a pad. We really need more information to give you more than generic advice.
    thanks willin,
    good advice about the steps. Perhaps I can bring back some of the lustre with teak cleaner. Both the steps and the handrails have a relatively dull look about them. The boat is 37 years old and could use some TLC. Perhaps teak oil would be a better option for the steps and rails. The varnish on the trim is bright but is starting to cloud in spots. I’ll take pix next time i’m at the marina.

    thx again

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    se pa (Bristol PA)
    Posts
    2,134

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    Sanding imho is the single worst way to remove finish and sand right through veneer But.. no one like to use caustic chemicals.
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Vancouver Canada
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    Quote Originally Posted by DeniseO30 View Post
    Sanding imho is the single worst way to remove finish and sand right through veneer But.. no one like to use caustic chemicals.
    Thanks Denise,
    I was thinking of using a very fine sand paper...but is there a relatively safe type of wash you would recommend.

    paul

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    8,780

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    Yes, teak veneer is literally paper-thin. Best to strip it.

    Also, only use satin finish as a last interior coat...if you use it for each coat it will obscure the clarity of the finish.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Vancouver Canada
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    Yes, teak veneer is literally paper-thin. Best to strip it.

    Also, only use satin finish as a last interior coat...if you use it for each coat it will obscure the clarity of the finish.
    Thanks PC
    Any recommendation for a cleaning/stripping agent.

    paul

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Norwalk CT
    Posts
    698

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    Also, only use satin finish as a last interior coat...if you use it for each coat it will obscure the clarity of the finish.[/QUOTE]

    Really good advice. Use gloss for your build coats and satin for the final.
    Sand, seal and varnish handrails and grab rails. Look at the pics of Jay Greers boat for inspiration; look at the pics of Jays boat anyway...
    Id avoid any strippers. Strippers make goop. Scraping and sanding make dust . Id rather sweep and shop vac than try to contain goop. Any chemical stripper increases the chances of damaging or lifting the veneer.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    42,353

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    Quote Originally Posted by willin woodworks View Post
    Also, only use satin finish as a last interior coat...if you use it for each coat it will obscure the clarity of the finish.
    Really good advice. Use gloss for your build coats and satin for the final.
    Sand, seal and varnish handrails and grab rails. Look at the pics of Jay Greers boat for inspiration; look at the pics of Jays boat anyway...
    Id avoid any strippers. Strippers make goop. Scraping and sanding make dust . Id rather sweep and shop vac than try to contain goop. Any chemical stripper increases the chances of damaging or lifting the veneer.[/QUOTE]

    I agree about the good advice. Pat is almost always a source of good advice. Just don't pay any attention to his nonsense about Oregonians, shop aprons, and the 'best' rums... and you should be good.

    On the issue of sanding vs. stripping... I'd have to see and touch the job. At least see fotos. I'd far prefer to sand with #180 or #220. That is not likely to burn thru veneer, if care is taken. But there are any number of details that could change that thought. Simply not enough info to pontificate yet.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Port Townsend WA
    Posts
    10,672

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    I use a lot of shellac in my work! I do a lot of French polish work for furniture conservation. In addition, I use it thinned out as a sealer under varnish as well as sealing the interiors of hollow wooden masts. The Egyptians used it first for that purpose and it has been working fine ever since. It has been used as an adhesive between double planking. This has been superseded by West System Gflex epoxy now. I only use it as a single sealing coat on boats as it will not hold up to weather exposure if used in place of varnish. If used for build up, it will impart a nice color to wood but must be protected with varnish over it. I can't speak for poly as an over coat because I don't use it.
    Jay

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Vancouver Canada
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    Thank you, Willin. In my short time around boats i’ve discovered my innate clumsiness combined with goop is a recipe for ruined clothes and socially unacceptable language.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Vancouver Canada
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Really good advice. Use gloss for your build coats and satin for the final.
    Sand, seal and varnish handrails and grab rails. Look at the pics of Jay Greers boat for inspiration; look at the pics of Jays boat anyway...
    Id avoid any strippers. Strippers make goop. Scraping and sanding make dust . Id rather sweep and shop vac than try to contain goop. Any chemical stripper increases the chances of damaging or lifting the veneer.
    I agree about the good advice. Pat is almost always a source of good advice. Just don't pay any attention to his nonsense about Oregonians, shop aprons, and the 'best' rums... and you should be good.

    On the issue of sanding vs. stripping... I'd have to see and touch the job. At least see fotos. I'd far prefer to sand with #180 or #220. That is not likely to burn thru veneer, if care is taken. But there are any number of details that could change that thought. Simply not enough info to pontificate yet.[/QUOTE]

    thank you David,
    i don’t know much about rum, but I love the craft beer in Oregon and I envy you the wines that are produced in the Willamette Valley. I’m afraid i’ve never owned a shop apron, although Mrs. Puttputt encourages me to wear a bib uf we go out for dinner.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Vancouver Canada
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Newbie seeking shellac advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    I use a lot of shellac in my work! I do a lot of French polish work for furniture conservation. In addition, I use it thinned out as a sealer under varnish as well as sealing the interiors of hollow wooden masts. The Egyptians used it first for that purpose and it has been working fine ever since. It has been used as an adhesive between double planking. This has been superseded by West System Gflex epoxy now. I only use it as a single sealing coat on boats as it will not hold up to weather exposure if used in place of varnish. If used for build up, it will impart a nice color to wood but must be protected with varnish over it. I can't speak for poly as an over coat because I don't use it.
    Jay
    Thank you, Jay. I’ve been lurking on the forum for a while now, and your work, your photography and your explanations are inspirational.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •