03-16-2011 02:05 PM
Thank you for your responses!
As for the filler, i did try to wait for advise but couldn't after doing nothing for two days, lol. Unfortunately, i had to forge ahead. My kitchen has been dis-assembled for two months now and I can only only keep my husbands patience at bay for so long. I've read about filler, have bookmarked your guidance (thank you), and will put it on my "next time" list.
In regards to the lubricant? Not sure which step of the application procedure you're referring to? I diluted the dye in de-natured alcohol, then mixed it into my cut of shellac. I dipped the pad in this mixture and applied directly to the poplar (which I first first treated with a very light coat of boiled linseed oil, rubbed on 30 min prior to the 1st layer of shellac). This process i did three times, each time getting a darker tone.
I now also understand the difference between coating vs. refining. I was directed to the shellac/dye technique by this fantastic forum and it was my own misunderstanding of what i was actually doing. Overall, im happy with the results; call it dumb luck I was at least successful with the application of the shellac three times over! It was smooth. And I'm happy to add the padding shellac to my repertoire of things-to-learn for my "next-time" list.
The gel stain has also been applied by now, and i am allowing it to cure before applying the varnish - which i need to make another trip back to the "local" woodworking store to purchase. (P & L #38)
As far as the store rep, I hope i dont see him! And you surely wouldv'e laughed had you seen how far he rolled his eyes back into his head when I asked about a product called Shellac Flat - basically insinuated I was making it up!
But aside from feeling discouraged, I will just avoid folks like that in the future and hopefully meet in person, helpful people such as those I've been lucky enough to chat with here.
Final question: As of now, I've got two layers of the gel stain basically "floating" atop my shellac mixture. Any way I can remove some of that build-up via de-natured alcohol/mineral spirit/thinner? Although I have some decent depth of the shellac/dye peeking thru the gel stain, upon second coating (my effort to fix my filler problem, which was 90% successful), I now have a much stronger saturation of dark color.
I will leave well-enough alone but was just curious if I could cut it back a little without re-creating problems. Please let me know your thoughts and again a HUGE THANK YOU.
03-16-2011 02:21 PM
Good luck getting the P&L 38 varnish at the WWing store (unless you know they carry it). To find it in my area, I had to locate an Independent Paint Dealer via P&L's website. I was told by that store the last time I was there that the product might be discontinued due to the VOC regulations. Not sure if that was entirely accurate. I like the product, but it is not cheap.
03-16-2011 07:31 PM
Hmmm, that is disappointing to hear! I live in the Chicagoland area and am aware of only two suppliers; Rocklers and Woodcraft. I will call on thurs a.m. to find out otherwise -
Whats next on the list instead of P & L, in your opinion?
03-16-2011 08:00 PM - edited 03-16-2011 08:04 PM
Among the light colored varnishes, Cabot varnish 8000 series, if you can find that, not the Cabot polyurethane is good. For dark colored varnishes, which may be just fine with your darker stain, you have two excellent choices. Behlen Rockhard or Waterlox. The Waterlox does come in a satin varnish. Lot's of people like the Waterlox Original/Finish, which is thinned to use as a wiping varnish. It's a mellow semi-gloss, but can be top coated with the Satin. Not much harm in using the Satin from start to finish. The Behlen you would have to rub out down to a lower sheen than it's natural gloss. To use as a wipe on, you would have to thin the Behlen with about equal parts of mineral spirits. Even to brush on the Behlen will need some thinning, perhaps 10%.
Another possiblity is Old Master's super varnish which is a tradtional alkyd varnish. I haven't used it personally, but it should be available somewhere in Cook County, where I suspect one could with enough digging find just about anything. Check the web sites of Pratt & Lambert, and Old Master to find local dealers. (But call first)
03-17-2011 04:58 AM
…if I may. Beginning with shellac in general, this link will take you to the starting point on our website where we consider some of the advantages and properties of shellac. I call your attention specifically to the article on Making a Shellac Pad and then to the padding section in the article on Applying Shellac. Please understand that it is not my intent to be critical of the technique you used. But, as you progress with your woodworking and add to your finishing tool kit I believe you will find the traditional padding technique discussed in this article to be more capable of providing the finish you want. Perhaps the most important element of applying a shellac finish is to keep the finish film as thin and uniformly spread as possible. Dipping the application cloth or pad in shellac is almost guaranteed to produce a finish that is too thick in some areas and too thin in others. The “lubricant” that I spoke of in my reply is the mineral oil used to lubricate the face of the pad so it will glide smoothly over the surface as the shellac is being transferred from the pad to the surface.
Next, in your application, shellac probably would have been better used as a barrier coat between the dye and the gel stain “glaze” you applied to further darken the finish on your poplar. Referring to the Poplar to Cherry article in my previous reply, the role of the dye was simply to begin the color transformation which, in the case of poplar, was to eliminate the “green” color of the heartwood and unify the background color of the heartwood and sapwood thus producing a canvas on which the gel stain glaze could produce a convincing faux finish. Had the gel stain been applied directly to the poplar, even poplar than had first been dyed, there would have been a significant risk of blotching. The shellac barrier coat completely eliminates this problem by isolating the pigment in the gel stain from the blotch prone poplar. The shellac barrier coat also allows the finisher to manipulate the gel stain glaze, even removing it if the color is wrong. With that (barrier coat) as an objective, it would have been much easier for you to apply the shellac with a brush saving the padding technique for use when shellac would be the finish and not an element in the finish.
Before I leave the “lubricant” issue, permit me to point out that the BLO you applied just ahead of wiping on the shellac actually did serve as a sort of lubricant. A heavy application of BLO ahead of the shellac/pumice phase in true “French Polishing” serves a similar function. However, in this case (and in hind-sight) the BLO was probably an unnecessary step. Having been used, however, it would have been better if it had been allowed to cure for 8-12 hours before the tinted shellac was applied.
You have asked about the “layers” of gel stain “floating” atop the shellac and if some of the “build-up” can be removed. Here I have a bit of a concern. Let’s consider some basic finish properties. Shellac is an evaporative finish. That means the shellac dries by evaporation of its solvent, denatured alcohol. If the solvent (denatured alcohol) is reintroduced to the dry shellac film the shellac will be re-dissolved. Gel stain, on the other hand, is a reactive finish. It cures (I should say that the varnish binder that hold the pigment in place cures) through a chemical reaction between the varnish molecules and oxygen in the air. Once cured the finish is no longer effected by the thinner which has evaporated. So, the long answer is that there is nothing short of a chemical stripper that you can apply to the gel stain that will allow you to remove excess stain after it has cured. This gets me to my concern; if the gel stain has been applied too heavily (if you built up layers of pigment in order to mask defects beneath) you may well have created an adhesion problem. Excess pigment stains must be removed before they cure. Building a pigment film that is too thick will lead to a soft foundation on which the topcoat will be applied. This will most certainly result in adhesion problems.
Now to the P&L #38; the home page of the Pratt & Lambert website has a dealer locator based on your zip code. Before you visit one of the dealers call to be sure that they carry the varnish. Not all do. You can also enter Pratt & Lambert #38 in your browser search facility to find online sources. Neither Woodcraft nor Rockler typically carries P&L #38 unless they do so independently.
Finally, it is most unfortunate you have had such a negative experience with your local woodworking store. I encourage you to bring this whole episode to the attention of the manager/owner. (Hopefully he is not also the perpetrator.) In my view the role of a woodworking store goes well beyond simply selling product. Knowledgeable employees should be prepared, indeed encouraged, to look for opportunities to ask questions and to “fine-tune” purchasing decisions, especially with “newbies”. Simply because a customer brings an item to the check-out does not mean that it is the product they need. This is especially true in the area of finishes. A simple question: “What are you making?” or “What are you finishing?” will often lead to an opportunity to build a long-lasting relationship; a “teaching moment”, if you please. If you can’t find this sort of relationship where you are currently shopping I encourage you to find a retailer in your area where you can…
03-17-2011 01:33 PM
Gentlemen - Thank you for your responses.
This morning I found another store that carried a well-stocked supply of the P&L #38 - so lucky me, that was at least simple!
And Steve -
I DID read the articles about Padding Shellac AND several postings regarding the properties of shellac since someone here on the forum was kind enough to point in that direction a few weeks back.
Even though I somehow missed the "lubricant" part of the application, my layers of my shellac mixture were incredibly liquid, actually water like. And although I did do the "DIP", I let it drain before running my "figure 8's" on the poplar. I used a very light touch, made sure not to overwork the areas and quit swirling before the surface became tacky. I also (whether correct or erroneous) did a light scuff sanding between coats. Incredibly, i really didn't even have an issue with overlapping, darkening edges.
This is the process i did three times, each with the water-thin coatings. Then came the gel-stain. This too, was quite thin and I wiped thoroughly with my cheescloth. As for the blo, well I suppose that was me mixing up about three (or four) different versions of applying the shellac mixture by that point!
Anyhow - With my info given and my re-assurance that the coats that are on the poplar are indeed, quite water thin...would you anticipate any problems with me applying the P&L #38?