X-post to Painting - Shellac disaster!

2ajsmamaJuly 27, 2010

Help - for lack of climate-controlled clean workspace, I've been finishing doors in a corner of my bedroom. I was brushing a slightly thinned coat of Sealcoat on the latest door when I dropped the can on the door, putting a ding in it and splattering shellac all over the door, the wall, and about a quarter-sized spill on the carpet where I didn't have it covered by the drop cloth.

I immediately soaked a rag in DNA and started wiping the wall, but I can still see splatters. I poured a little on the carpet (after folding back the drop cloth with the puddle and can on it) and sopped it up with a dry rag.

So, will I always have splatters on my matte paint? I think we're going to have to repaint the wall (not a problem, have other painting to do), but will the shellac spots show through? Is there anything else I can do to clean the wall and the carpet?

I'd also appreciate any advise for dealing with the ding and the splatters on the finished door. I was going to go over the shellac with poly anyway, just thought I'd try shellac on top of the (cured, did it on Friday) gel stain to see what it looked like. At least this is on the inside of a closet.

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Sorry to hear about your little accident.

The shellac splatters will paint over just fine. Clean the carpet thoroughly with DNA and clean rags.

When applying finish, I always pour the product into a plastic mixing container. The quart size is nice for dipping the brush and is easy to hold. It is also a good idea to have a little extra work bench space to set the can and brushes down.

I wouldn't even worry about the dent on the door inside of a closet. A while back, I was finishing a prehung solid wood door with Walnut jambs and the whole thing tipped over! The jamb landed on the door. There is nothing one can do but accept these dents as the first marks of wear on a piece of work. You will be the only one who knows.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 6:17PM
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Thanks - I figured I'd try out the new brush I bought for the stairs, get the technique down, and since I only had a little Sealcoat left in the quart, and couldn't fit the brush in the jar I had thinned to 1# cut, I just poured the 1# cut back into the quart (so it was roughly 1.5#) and was brushing from that.

I *had* been thinking of switching the doors from the broom closet and the MBR since the MBR has had a ding on the molding around a panel since the house was built, and that would be on the inside of the closet, but guess not now! When I take the BR door off I'm going to have to see about steaming that ding out - wouldn't you know it's right on the curve of the molding.

Any ideas for getting the sloppy gloppy mess off the bottom rail? The bottom panels and stiles aren't too bad, but the rail had a big puddle I didn't get to brush out since I was busy picking the can up off the floor and cleaning the wall. I *tried* brushing the rail and it was already drying so I think I made more of a mess than just leaving the puddle. Do I try to brush over it with DNA, or just sand it this w/e? It's really thick in a few spots (one really big spot). The vacuum cleaner will make more dents, but I'd really like to get the thick spots off without making the edges of the splatters more noticeable, or dulling the whole surface, though for durability I still need to poly it. The rest of the door looks pretty nice now that it's dry.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 10:35PM
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Well, I let it dry a few days, then tried padding the thick spots out with pure DNA but ended up taking the shellac (and stain) off the thin parts, looks like down to bare wood. Let dry overnight, sanded with 400 dry and scraped with a card scraper this AM, mixed up 1 lb shellac 3pm, tried wiping it on and it doesn't look like it's taking. Did I sand too fine or is the wood so saturated with DNA that it's not taking in the bare spots?

I'm not sure what and when to try next - don't really want to strip the door for fear of ruining the other side that looks nice (already got 1 drip of shellac on other side by knob when brushing the shellac on before the spill, dripped through hole)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 7:20PM
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I think I figured it out - since I had used the last of the DNA on the wall, I used some that I had cleaned a brush with to try to pad out the thick spots, thinking if it had a very small amount of shellac in it there would be no problem (like a 1/16# cut). But I forgot that I had brushed a sample board with regular amber shellac so there was some wax in it. That's why the 1# cut is crawling when I try wiping it on. Brushing 2# straight Sealcoat on those patches with an artist's (Taklon) brush wasn't much better. So once I realized this was the problem, I washed down with some new DNA I had bought for mixing, and then a few hours later with mineral spirits.

Now, just wondering if I need to sand or steel wool those spots (I still have a fat edge to take off in places too, sanding and scraping helped but the crawl when I wiped on the new 1# cut created new edges), more mineral spirits, what?

This is on the inside of a coat/broom closet in the mudroom, and most of the door is in good shape (though a little thick now with too many coats of shiny shellac), but I do have these bare patches. If there is wax in the grain (pine), Wipe-on poly won't stick any better than Sealcoat, so I believe I need to get enough wax off to get Sealcoat in those areas, and then perhaps I can poly over as originally planned (and I did on the outside of the door). Either that or just give up and apply my Tried and True BLO & beeswax blend to the inside of the door just to even it out some so when I open the door I don't see these dull patches with no finish on them. WWYD?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 6:28AM
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If its really a bad problem, I'd get out the RO sander and remove all the offending finish. Starting over is sometimes easier than finding out where you got lost.

If a project is really giving me trouble, I put it aside for a while. Sometimes the problem works itself out by letting time take care of things; the finish may not be drying properly. Also, the little problem I'm stuck on right now may seem insignificant if I let some time pass and get a clear head.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 12:27AM
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I tried wiping down with mineral spirits but I don't know how much that will do. I was thinking of waiting a couple of weeks (we're on vacation next week) and then either trying a little shellac on the bare spots or sanding with a ROS as you said. What do you think about 220 grit (highest grit I have) on ROS, followed by 320 and 400 by hand (what I did before, don't need to start with lower grits but wondered if 220 was too low) - shellac should be dry enough by then, right? I'd have to do all the rails and stiles, but the panels should be OK.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 9:47AM
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Use 150 followed by the 220 on the ROS. The 300 and finer are for polishing and wet sanding the final coat. I never go finer that 220 for bare wood or sanding between coats.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 12:09PM
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Yeah, but underneath that shellac I've already got it sanded, just want to take it off (not even all the way off, just want to get it even and get any wax off) to re-coat evenly, don't really want to take it all the way down to bare wood. I use 320 or even sometimes 400 between coats if 320 looks like it's scratching too much. I also go to 320 before the and after the sanding sealer coat. I'm afraid 150 or 180 will take too much off - rails and stiles are veneer and they've already been scraped and sanded.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 3:51PM
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I mix and store my shellac in quart glass jars. One day at work I was touching up some woodwork (in an almost-finished restored house) and when I packed up to leave, the jar fell out of the box and broke on the newly-waxed floor. This 1845 floor had no finish on it other than wax, and the owner wanted it to stay that way. I cried out for help, and towels, quick! It all wiped up just fine, and a rag soaked with alcohol brought up the last traces. That was a scary moment.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 8:30PM
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Did the alcohol take off the wax too?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 10:07PM
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Yes, it did; we had just applied the colored wax a few days before, so I touched it up. The redeeming quality of a wax finish is how easy it is to do spot touch-ups.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 10:19PM
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I'm glad you didn't have to rewax the whole floor (though the marks from broken glass must have added to the patina). Maybe the DNA and mineral spirits I used took the wax off the door, and I just need to sand with 220-320. We'll see after vacation. Out of commission now - sprained my ankle and had to spend the night on the couch.

Not going to refinish the stairs tomorrow, will have to wait til next year (when we can vacate the house and let the Waterlox fumes dissipate). Hopefully I can get up the stairs tonight or tomorrow - it's my right ankle and the rail is on the left going up. Yeah, it's easy to renew a wax finish but it's just not holding up well to barefoot traffic on the stairs so I haven't put more wax on, maybe it's so worn off (or will be by next year) that shellacking/varnishing it won't be a problem.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 10:07AM
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