Yesterday morning while I was getting my caffeine levels to the proper level and mentally reviewing my next steps on finishing the Thorsen table I read Ralph Boumenot’s review of a new finishing DVD. The DVD, produced by Popular Woodworking features Don Williams covering Historic Finishes.
What caught my interest was the use of narrow artist’s brushes to apply Shellac. I hadn’t really realized it, but the part of finishing that was making me nervous was getting the Shellac on. I usually use a pad to apply shellac, but that doesn’t work well where there is a step in the surface or an inside corner. The pad either doesn’t reach or causes a puddle.
So, I ran out and bought a couple of artist’s brushes. A #12 flat and another small teardrop shaped one for getting into details.
Both brushes worked well. The small brush was great for getting into the pierced areas to lay down a couple of coats of Garnet Shellac.
I still had some issues with getting the Shellac on evenly in spots, but overall the brushes worked out well. It took a long time to get two coats on all the surfaces though.
But I ran into a problem with the top. I think the #12 brush might be too small for the larger surface area, it was hard to get the finish on evenly.
I did OK, but then when I went to rub it out with steel wool I somehow rubbed through the Shellac and ended up with several light spots. I tried to apply more Shellac and blend the spots in, but ti wasn’t working, and just made more of a mess. Finally I poured alcohol over the entire thing and scrubbed the shellac off with 0000 steel wool in frustration. Since the dye was too light now I re-applied the dye and will have to keep working this through the week to get the top finished.
I hate screwing up like that, but I expect I’ll be able to refinish it and get it right. I’m thinking that I might try spraying shellac in the future, at least for big flat parts like the table top. Not for this project though, I don’t want to introduce any more variables in the equation.