drying times for shellac


Old 09-19-02, 11:22 PM
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Unhappy drying times for shellac

I just finished re-finishing my hard wood floors for the first time.
I rented a sander and sanded the old finish off and down to the
wood. I then put on a coat of Zinsser Amber Shellac following
the directions on the can. I waited 2 hrs. as it says to and
applied another coat. The floor was dry enough to walk on
in a couple of hours.
The next day, I decided to put on two more coats of Shellac,
as I loved the color and shine and wanted a deeper color.
I did not sand between coats, but did wait several hours between coats.
Now, my problem. The floors , after 2 days, dried enough to
walk on but if you stand in one place to long putting weight on
the floor it leaves a foot print behind. Even where the cat lay
on the floor it left a mark.
I would like to know if the floor will ever dry through, or if I should
sand the floors again, with maybe a 220 grit sandpaper and put
a THIN coat of Shellac on again.
What is with the Wax over Shellac.
I will be grateful for any information you can give me
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Old 09-20-02, 02:58 PM
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Go to this link and ask on the forum.

This guy is a furniture refinisher but he also sells floor finishing products.

Old 09-20-02, 06:08 PM
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Actually, I'm surprised you used shellac on a wood floor. Today's polyurethanes are much harder and wear longer. I'm sure you could have found a stain which would look like the shellac finish.

Old 09-20-02, 07:12 PM
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The shellac will dry in time (5-7 days approx). Depending on the amount of moisture in the air depends on how long you have to wait.
Here is what probably happened. The first coat never got a chance to dry thorughly. It is probably trying to breath to dry - if that makes since. When using shellac in the future use many thin coats with a full 24hrs between. Also beware of bubbles. This can be a problem with shellac that becomes starved for air during the drying process.
If you redo your floors use poly. IT is a much longer lasting finish. Today they can be purchased with shine or without.

Hope this helps. If you have any other questions or the shellac becomes a problem e-mail me direct and i wil try to help with better advice.

Good luck.

Old 09-20-02, 08:58 PM
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Actually shellac dries so fast that it's almost impossible to apply with a brush without using a retarder.

The problem with shellac is it's shelf life in liquid form. If the shelf life is exceeded it won't cure. Shellac is actually a natural product excreted by bugs.

If it doesn't completely harden within 2 or 3 days it probably never will.

It may be a blessing in disguise because shellac won't resist water or weak solvents and doesn't wear well. It's generally used for antique furniture that sees little or no use.
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