Home>Discussions>PAINTING & FINISHING>100 yr old shellaced doors - how to fix?
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100 yr old shellaced doors - how to fix?


I used denatured alcohol to clean the shellaced surface of the 100 year old doors and trim and the extremely dark wood now look warm and lovely. You can see the grain again. It's got to be about 20 shades lighter!

Now my question is how to preserve them? Should I shellac again? Or use Varnish? Or Tung oil?



Re: 100 yr old shellaced doors - how to fix?

In terms of durability, varnish would definitely be superior. However, many people think that the urethane varnishes on the market give somewhat of a plastic look. If you go the urethane varnish route, make sure that the manufacturer states that it is compatible over shellac. Many are not as shellac contains wax. An additional coat of de-waxed shellac would fix the compatibility problem. Such de-waxedd products are often called universal sealers.

Certainly the shellac may be left as the final finish. Indeed, it did last for many years until you re-finished it.

Tung oil would not penetrate into the wood through the shellac sealer. Oil finishes are generally their own penetrting sealer. They are applied, allowed to penetrate, and then all excess oil is wiped off.

Ron remodeler
Re: 100 yr old shellaced doors - how to fix?

Shellac is usually sealed with rubbed in past wax.
Looks sweet and nothing sticks to wax.

Re: 100 yr old shellaced doors - how to fix?

If ya want something REEEEAALLY Top-notch, check out Fine Paints of Europe's Varnishes/Urethanes.

Not the cheapest stuff...but if you want something special...

VERY good instructions on their site.
Check out their varnishes info...


Ordjens's "shellac-transition" layer info. is important to remember.


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