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Kingdom Restorations Ltd.
Floyd J. Rosini

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Shellac Finishing Tips

Application by Cheesecloth
  • When working with shellac, we recommend pouring it into a small bowl or something you can easily dip your cheesecloth into. To initially prepare your cheesecloth, tuck the ends up inside itself until there's a smooth surface on the face of your cloth. Dip your cheesecloth into the bowl until it's wet all the way through, and then lightly squeeze out the excess. It's important to have the inside of your cloth wet so it doesn't run dry just as you're halfway across the surface you're finishing. Your cloth should be wet but not dripping.
  • As you apply the shellac to your piece, you'll begin to notice how wet your cloth needs to be to go from end to end in one wipe. Dip the face of your cloth in the bowl as more is needed. Wiping or dabbing your cloth on a piece of paper or scrap wood just before application is a good way to get a feel as to how wet your cloth really is.
  • Try to have your cloth in motion at all times when on the surface of your project. As your cloth first comes in contact with the surface, you should already be in motion, as though your coming in for a landing. Leaving the surface would be in a take off motion. This constant motion of your cloth on the surface will help to avoid stop and go imprints and an uneven application.
  • Apply shellac until the pores of the wood are close to full, or until desired sheen is achieved. Several thin coats will give you more control. Trying to apply 2 or 3 heavy coats can lead to drip marks, messy edges, and an uneven coating of the surface. Thinner coats will dry quicker allowing for more applications in a day. Lightly rub (sanding with 320 or 240 silicone carbide free cut paper) in between every 3-5 coats.
  • For inside corners try shaping the top of your cloth to fit into the corner. Run your cloth along the inside corner and then lighty feather out any cross grain lines. A small brush can also be used.

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