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This SIMPLE wood finish will save you DAYS of shop time! (Shellac)

first century shellac was widely considered to be the best finish for wood in the world then modern finish manufacturers convinced us that shellac was old-fashioned that's what your grandfather used the modern woodworker uses polyurethane I'm not here to bash polyurethane it has its place for sure but many Woodworkers have forgotten why shellac is such a great finish so today I'm going to explain why you should be using it how you should be using it and when you should be using it there are other videos about shellac out there but this is the best one you're going to watch because I'm going to answer a lot of questions others seem to ignore and by the end of this video I can almost guarantee that you're going to want to get out in your shop and put shellac on something first of all why would you want to use shellac as a wood finish well for one thing it is fast and really easy to apply you just wipe it on it's hard to mess up because it dissolves itself so you can fix a run that you may have missed on a later coat there is also no drying time to speak of shellac dries so quickly that you can often start the next coat right after the previous one is finished that means completing the entire finishing process can take just a few minutes or a few hours depending on the size of the project instead of a few days like other finishes shellac will also adhere to almost any other finish and almost any other finish will adhere to it as long as it's d-wax for example some folks like to put it over tongue oil or boil linseed oil for Extra Protection others put polyurethane over shellac it doesn't matter if it's water or oil based it's going to stick because shellac dissolves with alcohol it is very easy to repair even many years down the road it's also safe for the environment it's the excretion of the Lac Beetle and it contains no petroleum products in fact pure shellac is used as a food coating it's why your M M's melt in your mouth and not in your hands it also smells nice it's great for inside drawers or cabinets if you put natural oil in that sometimes it can smell a little rancid or petroleum can give up an unpleasant odor when you open the drawer finally shellac comes in different colors you have light blonde orange deep Brown it all depends on the type of tree that the beetle was eating you can use these colors to your advantage to give life to dull kiln-dried Walnut or to add a mellow aged look to lighter Woods like Pine or Maple you can even add aniline dyes to create your own custom wood stains so to summarize shellac is one of the most beautiful fastest to apply hardest to mess up simplest repair and easiest to clean up finishes out there so why isn't everyone using shellac on every project well part of the reason is that it doesn't produce a bulletproof plasticky shell like polyurethane or other modern finishes shellac can be durable it's been used for centuries on Floors but because alcohol will dissolve it it's not a great finish for a tabletop for example but I think the real reason shellac isn't more widely used anymore is because a lot of people are just afraid of it which is strange because it's so easy to use but they see folks using digital scales to weigh piles of Flakes and carefully measuring alcohol and they think it's easy to screw up it's not it's actually really simple if you understand just a few things so let me go through them in a couple minutes I'm going to show you how to make shellac from the flakes but I think the easiest way to get started using shellac for your first time is to just buy the pre-mixed cans most stores sell these in two versions one is labeled seal coat and the other is just labeled shellac now you could finish your entire project with either of these they're both pure shellac but there are some differences that you need to know about seal coat is extra thin shellac in professional terms this would be considered a two pound cut which is equivalent to two pounds of flakes dissolved in one gallon of water it's extra thin so it'll soak deeply into the wood fibers and Harden that'll partially seal the surface of wood and so some people take advantage of that to keep wood from absorbing stain and blotching that's why it's sometimes called sanding sealer but it's not just good for undercoating wood when you intend to apply stain you can use this for your entire wood finish it'll just take more coats to build up your protective film the can labeled shellac contains a higher concentration it's a three pound cut which is equivalent to three pounds of shellac flakes dissolved in one gallon of water this is fifty percent then more concentrated than the seal coat but it's not usually used in its full strength anyway most people will dilute this with about 30 to 50 percent alcohol depending on how thin you want your coats to be you'll develop your own preference over time but as a general guide for a new user I would say consider this the seal coat ready to use out of the can and consider the regular shellac to be a concentrate that you thin now since denatured alcohol which is what you use to thin it is relatively cheap the concentrate may be cheaper in the long run but if you have a hard time finding good pure alcohol where you live then the ready to go seal coat may be your better choice when you're just starting out now there is another difference between the two cans other than their concentration natural shellac contains wax that's fine if all you plan putting over a coat of shellac is another coat of shellac or a paste wax but if you want to put something else on top like a stain or a lacquer or a polyurethane you have to have de-waxed shellac out of these two only the seal coat version is d-wax this one is not you can put this over another type of finish but you can't put another type of finish over this another thing to consider when buying can shellac is the shelf life they say it'll last three years in the sealed can I think less once after you open it the older it is the slower it's going to cure so some Woodworkers consider it bad after just a few months while Others May tolerate it longer as a rule don't buy it until you need it and if you have some left over put a date on it if you still have it six months after you opened it then you should test it on some scrap wood before you use it again to test it just put a coat on a piece of wood and then let the Alcohol dry and if it still feels tacky for quite a few minutes afterwards then maybe you need to throw it away since the shelf life on a can of shellac unsealed is three years you really shouldn't know how old it is when you buy it off the store shelf zinser has a code that they use for their dates but it can be cracked here's how you do it the first letter identifies the plant it was made in so ignore that the first number is the last digit of the year in which it was made in this case there's a nine so it was made in 2019. the second number is the month of the year this is

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