Blog — Shellac RSS

First in Your Head

Late last night I arrived in Atlanta, Georgia to present to the Society of American Period Furniture Makers Peach State Chapter for four days. I was hired to come out to talk about and demonstrate furniture conservation theory and practice. Saturday and Sunday have been reserved for lecture while Monday and Tuesday will be lab time. Today’s presentations went well and mostly according to plan. I talked about the history of the conservation discipline, definitions of restoration and conservation and basic conservation principals. The principals were then worked out by showing how shellac can be manipulated and worked to facilitate long term finish survival. I demonstrated some of this on pieces in need of a little TLC that a few...

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The Unvarnished Truth About Shellac

Before I started working with Joshua in the studio doing conservation work, I spent over 10 years with some very pretty and very expensive boats. My primary gig was marine varnish, a seasonal process of sanding off last year's gloss, touching up, taping, cleaning, brushing on a coat of varnish, letting it dry, then sanding again and getting even more fussy about cleanliness in preparation for a final coat. Typically, the cleaning process involved thoroughly vacuuming the boat, washing with water, a wipedown with mineral spirits or alcohol (depending on my mood that day), then hitting everything with a tack cloth before finally beginning to coat. For new boats, this process is repeated 8 or more times over a period...

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