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Apprentice Contributor
joekocimski
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎05-11-2010
0

shellac over varnish

I messed up and varnished the inside of a small chest and now I am unable to store anything in it due to the smell of the varnish.  Will this go away over time?  Can I seal the varnish with a coat of shellac or do I have to strip the whole inside?

Senior Contributor
3-j
Posts: 237
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: shellac over varnish

Shellac should do the job for you!

Honored Advisor
Steve Mickley
Posts: 1,567
Registered: ‎10-21-2009

Welcome...

[ Edited ]

Joe;

 

…to the WOOD Magazine Forums, particularly to the Finishing & Refinishing Forum. I hope you will visit often. You will find a number of accomplished woodworkers and finishers here who stand ready to assist you with your finishing and refinishing questions.

 

Shellac will certainly help, but it won’t offer a perfect solution.  The reason is that no finish forms a total “seal”, whether applied over bare wood or even another finish.  Water-vapor, for example, is still able to pass through any finish.  In the same way, the odor producing thinner vapors as well as the off-gassing of the products of curing taking place in the varnish will move still move though the shellac film.  Certainly, the shellac will improve the condition; but, you will still notice the odor after the box has been closed for a few days.  It can be argued that applying shellac atop the varnish may even slow the curing process thus extending the time it will take the box interior to become “odor free”.

 

If the construction of the chest permits, my suggestion would be that you scrape away as much of the varnish inside the chest as you can (don’t use a chemical stripper; you will damage the finish on the outside as well).  You can use a stiff utility knife blade as a scraper.  Either purchase blades with rounded corners, or file them round yourself to avoid gouging the wood.  After scraping away as much varnish as you can, wait a couple of weeks (if possible) and then apply the shellac…

 

Steve

Finishing & Refinishing Forum Host
Honored Advisor
Howard Acheson
Posts: 1,173
Registered: ‎10-24-2009
0

Re: shellac over varnish

And, for the future, do not use an oil based finish on the inside of anything that will contain cloth, clothing or upon foodstuffs.  Oil based finish will off-gas almost forever and anything stored inside will be permeated with the odor.

 

Instead, use shellac, lacquer or a waterborne finish.

Howie..............
Veteran Advisor
Gary K.
Posts: 1,862
Registered: ‎10-25-2009
0

Re: Welcome...

 


Steve Mickley wrote:

Joe;

 

…to the WOOD Magazine Forums, particularly to the Finishing & Refinishing Forum. I hope you will visit often. You will find a number of accomplished woodworkers and finishers here who stand ready to assist you with your finishing and refinishing questions.

 

Shellac will certainly help, but it won’t offer a perfect solution.  The reason is that no finish forms a total “seal”, whether applied over bare wood or even another finish.  Water-vapor, for example, is still able to pass through any finish.  In the same way, the odor producing thinner vapors as well as the off-gassing of the products of curing taking place in the varnish will move still move though the shellac film.  Certainly, the shellac will improve the condition; but, you will still notice the odor after the box has been closed for a few days.  It can be argued that applying shellac atop the varnish may even slow the curing process thus extending the time it will take the box interior to become “odor free”.

 

If the construction of the chest permits, my suggestion would be that you scrape away as much of the varnish inside the chest as you can (don’t use a chemical stripper; you will damage the finish on the outside as well).  You can use a stiff utility knife blade as a scraper.  Either purchase blades with rounded corners, or file them round yourself to avoid gouging the wood.  After scraping away as much varnish as you can, wait a couple of weeks (if possible) and then apply the shellac…

 

Steve


 

Great advice, Steve!!!!

 

 

Keedy

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