10 Uses for Shellac
This old-fashioned finish is made from a resin secreted by an insect—but don't let that bug you. TOH reader Michelle Roseburrough told us how she puts it to work
This old-fashioned finish is made from a resin secreted by an insect—but don't let that bug you. TOH reader Michelle Roseburrough told us how she puts it to work.
Dip cheesecloth into a solution of 1 part premixed shellac and 1 part denatured alcohol. Wring out and let dry till sticky, then wipe onto walls to remove dust.
Apply shellac thinned 1-to-1 with alcohol to make fibrous or brittle wood easier to shave, plane, or sand.
After removing dirt and paint drips from hinges, knobs, and pulls, seal the pieces with clear shellac—it will keep brasses from tarnishing too.
Prime pine or other soft wood with a layer of shellac to help it absorb stain evenly. Use a waxless version, sold premixed as SealCoat, if you plan to apply a polyurethane finish, which won't adhere to wax.
Coat metal tools with a layer of shellac to keep out moisture and dirt.
Before repainting, brush shellac onto stains, burn marks, or residue to prevent these blemishes from bleeding through fresh coats.
Apply a few coats of shellac to stains on your driveway before adding new asphalt or sealer. It will keep the oil or gas from dissolving the patching material.
One of the oldest and easiest-to-repair finishes for wood furniture: Wipe waxless shellac onto furniture with a pad made of cheesecloth wrapped tightly in a scrap of an old lint-free cotton sheet. Lubricate the pad with mineral oil as needed to keep it from sticking as you work.
Where mildew or pet accidents have been a problem: Remove the carpet, clean the floor or subfloor, then create an odor barrier over the affected areas by applying a coat or two of shellac before replacing the carpet.
When drying or storing green lumber, brush shellac over the open grain to prevent the ends from splitting.