Shellac rub out method sought HELP!

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woodhead

New User
Alan
Hi All, I posted this on the general board before I saw this finishing one.

I have some small boxes that I finished with shellac. I wiped on a lot of 2 lb. coats and got a pretty good surface. But the rubbing out seems so labor intensive. I'm starting with 400g sterated paper then 0000 steel wool. After this I wax and shine. I don't like waxing with steel wool as I can't judge the progress. The slow part is the 400g paper; it seems to take forever to get rid of all the shiny spots. Is there a quicker method to a satin shellac finish? I'm starting with a good shellac surface to begin with.
 

Tarhead

Mark
Corporate Member
Have you tried a coarser paper? 400 may be too fine to start leveling the surface. Try 320 or 280 and work up to 400 and finish w/0000 Steel wool.

Also...are you getting corns of melted shellac on the paper? Corns will keep the surface of the paper from making contact with the shellac on the project. I use a shop vac attached to my sander and reduce the suction with this:

I found that the vac was sucking too hard and keeping the sander too tight against the surface. This creates heat and corns.

If you're hand sanding use a light touch. Let the abrasive do the work.
 

NZAPP1

New User
Nick
I am with Mark on this one, Start with a lower grit paper try the 320 first if that does not help go to 240-280-320-400- then the 4/0 steel wool or a synthetic pad
 

Howard Acheson

New User
Howard
As I posted in the other forum in response to your question:


First, rubbing out is greatly facilitated by how smoothly the finish was applied in the first place. Brushing on multiple coats of shellac can be problematic as its fast drying gives little or no time for the finish to self level. My steps are to apply the first coat with a brush flowing it on. Then I sand with 400 paper after letting it dry overnight. At that point I switch to padding on subsequent applications. A properly padded on finish is much flatter than a multiple application brushed on finish. The smoother initial finish means that subsequent rubbing out is much easier and faster.
Second, shellac is not a finish that should be "built" to a thick film. It's a finish that is best applied very thin. It will stay much flatter when thinly applied and you will not run into cracking and crazing after a year or so. Shellac is a very hard and, therefore, brittle finish. It does not take well to the seasonal wood movement if the film thickness is too thick.
So, I would recommend you pad on 3-4 applications after the initial brush application. You will have a smoother finish--and a padded on finish should be good enough that you don't need to go through a rubbing out process. Give it a try on some scrap before you do the next project.
 

woodhead

New User
Alan
Thanks for ideas

Thanks guys, I switched to a cork sanding block and that helped a lot. I followed up with 600g wet/ dry paper then steel wool dry then with wax. I am satisfied with the results.

Does anybody know if steareted (sp)paper is available in grits higher than 400. The 600 wet/dry gets clogged up pretty fast.
 
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