Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'm Finally Doing It

Finally, finally, after months and years of reading and researching, talking and blogging, ordering and mixing, tinting and testing, I'm finally doing it.  I'm finally laying shellac onto a surface here at the Sow's Ear.

As you might have guessed, I'm starting at the top, with the treads of the stairs to the 3rd floor.  The treads are going on in and 1.5 pound cut of Kusmi #1 button lac dissolved in 195 proof denatured alcohol and tinted with mahogany aniline dye.   I'm not staining or dyeing the wood first, but putting the tone down in layers, so I can get the color I want.

I can't find the sample I did a few weeks ago, but I know it took six coats to get the right color.  It's all right, because freshly-mixed shellac dries quickly (you can recoat in forty minutes to an hour), and more coats diluted to a thinner consistency makes for a more durable finish.  Actually, I'm adding a nitch of isopropyl alcohol to retard drying so it won't get tacky before I get the brush marks blended in.

Here's today's progress.  Please note that my camera renders the color entirely too reddish, no matter how I adjust it.

11:35 AM:  The stairs to the Study stripped, sanded, dusted, and ready to be finished.

12:11 PM:  All taped to keep the mahogany-toned shellac off the risers.  Those'll be done in a warm walnut to like what was on them before.

(Wait a minute.  Almost  all taped.  Missed a spot.)

12:16 PM:  The top treads, without finish, and

12:27 PM:  The same, with one coat.

12:45 PM:  Making progress.

3:39 PM:  Two coats on.

6:27 PM:  After a light 220-grit sanding, ready for coat No. 3

7:10 PM:  Three coats applied.

8:43 PM:  Ready for No. 4

9:19 PM:  Four coats completed.  I'm running low on shellac, so I'll need to dissolve the rest of the buttons I have before I can finish this stage of the job.

And finally,

9:29 PM:  Huw the boikitteh, thoroughly disgusted with me for enleashing all those funny smells and for not allowing him to go up to the 3rd floor study, all day.


Reuben said...

The stairs look really great. Good work.

purejuice said...