Step 2: Clean and Soften

wiping dirt off
Photo: Webb Chappell
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Wipe the damaged section and surrounding area with naphtha to remove any dirt, oil, or polish that might interfere with adhesion. (Wear chemical-resistant gloves and ventilate the area well.) Next, soften the damaged finish by rubbing it with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. Wait 30 seconds, then dab with a clean cotton cloth. Repeat until any areas of rough finish are gone.
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    Tools List

    • Artist's Brush
      Artist's Brush

    Shopping List

    1. Naphtha
    Cleans the old finish

    2. Denatured alcohol
    Softens old shellac and thins the new

    3. Artist's brush
    Natural bristles only

    4. Shellac flakes
    Also available premixed

    5. Cotton cloth

    6. Alcohol-soluble wood dye
    Darkens shellac to match old finish

    7. Tinted furniture wax
    Blends into crevices better than clear wax