Saturday, July 31, 2010
Some Finish Decisions. I Think.
But Tuesday afternoon I showed up at Lowe's, and the Bullseye shellac can didn't say what the pound cut was. And there's this other shellac product Zinsser has called SealCoat, and it's 100% dewaxed. Meaning the other kind isn't. But the SealCoat can didn't list the pound cut, either. And the kid behind the paint counter hadn't a clue. I wasn't about to blow upwards of $25 on the wrong thing, so after getting the scissors I needed to cut sandpaper, I went home and did some research on line.
OK, Bullseye is still 3-pound cut, and SealCoat is 2-pound. Hmm. If wax is not that great, maybe I can just tint the SealCoat and put on three coats of that, with a couple of thinned-down coats of polyurethane over it?
Did some more research.
And ended up back on the Shellac.net site, where I'm reading about the buttonlac I already have, and it says this:
"Buttonlac is a unique shellac product preferred by restorers and those looking for a very protective shellac finish. It is superb for French polishing due to its hardness. Button Shellacs are prepared by the hand made process of heating the seedlac in a cotton tube. The resin secretes through the pores of the cloth and the molten shellac is formed into buttons. The processing heat polymerizes the resin, resulting in a very tough & moisture resistant finishing material. Button Shellac is preferred for finishing floors and interior woodwork."
Oh. Floors and interior woodwork. I do seem to recall having a phone conversation to this effect with Ron at Shellac.net. Just about a year ago, it was. I shot him off an email Tuesday evening, full of questions about poly over shellac, could I get the right tint with the red mahogany and dark walnut dyes I already have, what if my dog peed on a shellacked floor, etc., etc. A few minutes later, I got impatient and called him.
He said yes, I wanted to leave the wax in the Kusmi #1 I'd mixed. Yeah, I could do poly over the shellac . . . if I laid on a coat of the dewaxed kind first . . . and if I really don't mind losing the repairability of the shellac finish. Up to me. As to the dyes, he didn't think I'd need to lay in a supply of golden oak or anything of the sort. Just try a very little bit of red mahogany, and the natural tone of the yellow pine would supply the gold. And if I ran out of the buttons for the floors, he could have more to me in three days.
there's a stripe of build-up next to the bare or less-coated wood. I've read I can avert that by starting to brush the shellac on about an inch or so away from the end of the workpiece, continue to the other end, then quickly brush back all the way to the first end, picking up and evening out that first deposit of finish on the way. Should work if I can keep the tread shellac off the stair stringers in the process.)
All this led to a decision: Instead of successively coating the 3rd floor stairs, 2nd floor hall, and the main stairs (which had long been my assumption), I would now start on the 3rd floor stairs alone. I'll give them five or six coats of shellac only, then live with them for awhile and see what the dog, cats, and I do to them. If I think they still need a layer of polyurethane over, I can repair any damage to the shellac and go from there. Meanwhile, I can be working on the hall floor and the stairs down to the 1st floor.
But today, I had a brainstorm. You know how I've been stressing over how to keep the animals off the work? I already had figured out that I can use my tension-sprung baby gate to exclude them from the 2nd floor when I'm doing the stairs to the 3rd. But I was looking down the stairs to the 1st floor today, and I said to myself, "You know, if you replaced the balusters to the stairwell first, you could put that gate at the bottom of the stairs between the wall and the newel post, and do the upstairs hall and maybe even some of the steps below without the cats and dog in the way."
Hmm. But that means mixing up the dark shellac for the woodwork in the stairhall and refinishing all that first.
What of it? A lot of it is vertical surfaces, and maybe it'd be better to have that done before I do the floors.