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Wax over Shellac Finish

JOFWW's picture

Anyone have any experience with applying wax over a shellac finish?  I've read that it's best to take some of the sheen off first with 0000 steel wool, then apply wax and buff. I've finished a table with shellac, and it's pretty glossy at this point.  Not sure how much of the "gloss" to remove prior to waxing.   Any recommendation on what type or brand of wax to use?  How often does the piece need to be waxed after the initial application?


Thx


JOFWW

YesMaam27577's picture

(post #141433, reply #1 of 14)

If you want to dull the finish, use the 0000 steel wool with gentle pressure. Use it just till the finish looks uniformly dull.

And use whatever furniture paste wax you can find. I've used the Minwax stuff with good results, but there are better wax's available too (Briwax, Renaisance....)

Or, you could try just using the wax directly over the glossy shellac. You might be surprised.

I won't be laughing at the lies when I'm gone,
And I can't question how or when or why when I'm gone;
I can't live proud enough to die when I'm gone,
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here. (Phil Ochs)

. . I can't live proud enough to die when I'm gone, So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here. (Phil Ochs)
Gretchen's picture

(post #141433, reply #2 of 14)

Are you counting on this table for some decent use--side table, etc.  You will need to be scrupulous with coasters for wet drinks or plants or any heat. The wax will make a ring with glasses, and the shellac may also.


Once you put wax on, you need to keep on doing it.  Which may entail cleaning first, down the road, and then reapplying.  For a good finish, there really isn't a need for it.


Gretchen

Gretchen

Westchester's picture

(post #141433, reply #3 of 14)

I have had very good results witht the Minwax product -


Good suggestion,


 


SA

SteveSchoene's picture

(post #141433, reply #4 of 14)

You can also use the wax as a lubricant to the steel wool to get a little less dull sheen.  You would still have to remove the wax (naphtha or mineral spirits) before final waxing to remove any steel shards left in the lubricating wax. 


Wax is purely an aesthetic choice, adding little to protection.  You don't need to remove gloss to apply wax, though often a little "rubbing out" gives a nicer finish, even if glossy, than the gloss directly off the brush, pad, or gun. 


You will continue to have to wax.  How often is also strictly an aesthetic call, people have widely varying ideas of what is sufficiently perfect. 

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

HowardAcheson's picture

(post #141433, reply #5 of 14)

I'm a little confused. Do you want to reduce the gloss of the shellac finish on the item or not?

There is no reason to reduce the gloss before applying the shellac. Whoever told you that is in error.

If you want to reduce the gloss, you can rub the surface with any furniture paste wax applied with a gray scotchbrite pad. I avoid any steel wool as the shards can become embedded in the finish and rust. And, as said, once you start with the wax you will need to periodically rewax to maintain its appearance.

Howie.........
Howie.........
JOFWW's picture

(post #141433, reply #10 of 14)

Howie - after reading all of the posts, I think I'll skip the wax because of the maintenance required, but I would like to remove a little of the shellac gloss.  I'm padding on the last few coats, so the surface is pretty smooth.   What's the best method to use to rub it out?


Thx


JOFWW

HowardAcheson's picture

(post #141433, reply #12 of 14)

If I plan to rub out shellac, I first make sure I have enough of a film thickness to work with. Shellac has little in the way of solids so after the alcohol evaporates, only a very thin film is left. On the other hand, you don't want to build too thick a film of shellac. Too thick a film and you may end up with cracking and crazing. For rubbing out I generally go for 5-7 sprayed on coats. When padding, probably about the same number of applications is about right.

I let the shellac dry for 3-4 days. Then I lightly sand with a 400 grit W&D paper using a rubber sanding block and using mineral spirits as a lubricant. Then I move to 600 paper and finish at 1200. I then rub with a gray scotchbrite pad and follow with a white scotchbrite pad rubbing with the grain and using mineral spirits as a lubricant. This should give you a satin finish.

As always, learn and test out your complete finishing plans on some scrap from your project. Never let your project be your learning curve. Most experienced finishers always make up sample boards before finishing the actual project.

Howie.........
Howie.........
forestgirl's picture

(post #141433, reply #6 of 14)

Important:  If you go with Briwax, be sure to get their 2000 forumula, not the "original" which has toluene as the solvent.  Original Briwax is great to use on old finishes, but doesn't play nice with newly finished pieces.


Odd thing is, I'm not finding the 2000 on Briwax's web site, but you can find it at this site.


forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

SteveSchoene's picture

(post #141433, reply #7 of 14)

That's usually a good point, but I don't think even toluene is going to damage shellac, even though it could damage only recently cured varnish or waterborne finishes. 

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

forestgirl's picture

(post #141433, reply #8 of 14)

Yep, I realized that, but I figure "Why have the stuff around when it doesn't play nice?!"  If the next project is finished in something besides shellac, and one wants to wax it, have to buy another product.


In addition, having evolved some whimp-like characteristics as I've gotten older, the stronger solvents become a mark-against a particular product.  I suspect the sensitivities I've developed are due to non-chalance in my younger years.


forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

Gretchen's picture

(post #141433, reply #9 of 14)

The sensitivity to toluene wasn't built up--it just plain kills brain cells from the jump go!  I remember a memorable headache after helping DD in her antique shop clean up some furniture!! The next day we took it outside!


But it used to be their only formulation, I think.  No? It's a good product in its use and place--and another can of wax isn't that much to have around.  ;o)


Gretchen

Gretchen

forestgirl's picture

(post #141433, reply #11 of 14)

You're right, Gretchen, it was their only formula until recently (year 2000, one would think, LOL).  I used it in my antiques shop until my main employee had to leave to avoid an asthma attack when I was waxing in the "back room", quite a ways from where she was working.

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

blewcrowe's picture

(post #141433, reply #13 of 14)

Have to agree with you. Any Briwax I've tried has set my finishes in a tizzy.

 


Denny

 

Denny

Gretchen's picture

(post #141433, reply #14 of 14)

But not if they are cured, or if you use the newer formulation.


Gretchen

Gretchen