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Shellac & Wax

This video is taken from the Frog Bowl project.

In this lesson I use a shellac finish to the frog. Why? Because it's shiny. Normally I dislike shiny carvings but sometimes a bit of shininess helps the illusion. Frogs are wet and slippery, ergo: quite shiny. The bowl was similarly sealed with the shellac but then beeswaxed over. This removed the more glossy shine of the shellac and gave it more of a polished look.


| 11 December 2020 16:24

Got it, thank you Chris, Andras

| 11 December 2020 16:02

Andras - You are right, of course, that shellac is a good sealer but the wire wool I use with the wax scratches up the shellac layer; the heat then softens it and allows the now-liquified wax to penetrate. Seems to work!

| 10 December 2020 18:16

Hello Chris, You are saying when applying the wax on top of the shellac melting it, that "let it work into the wood". But wouldn't the shellac have sealed the wood? Thank you much Chris,

| 12 January 2015 22:47

Chris, OOps ! I have volume 1 & 2 which I received at the end of last year but forgot ! Found it....Volume 2 - Finishing - Chapter 7 Page 138. Experiment ..... good point !

| 12 January 2015 21:59

Dermot - I'm afraid we don't have that sort of video in our future plans; not yet, anyway. I recommend my book, 'Woodcarving Tools, Materials & Equipment' vol. 2, which has a whole chapter on exactly what you suggest. That'll be a good reference for you but how about making some experiments of your own? The materials aren't expensive and there's nothing like first hand experience.

| 08 January 2015 22:06

Chris, you may have a video I've not seen yet. If not, can you explain a little about the advantages / disadvantages of the different finishes, shellac, wax, french polish, linseed oil, etc... with respect to, appearance, durability, protection against marking, highlighting of grain and waterproofing ? Any advise to help me gain a better understanding of the choices would be much appreciated. Thanks.

| 11 November 2014 19:56

Laurent - It's called 'button polish' or 'French polish' and is used by furniture makers. You can buy shellac flakes and make up your own polish but that's a lot of work. I jusy buy the bottle. You could search under 'wood finishing' for suppliers?

| 09 November 2014 19:42

Hi chris, i have been trying to get some of this shellac finish but for some reason i couldnt find it . Is there another more popular name for it? Or am I looking in the wrong place....

Thank you.

| 11 March 2013 19:28

Roman - It is dependant to some extent as you say but, essentially, the turpentine evaporates and the wax returns to beehive hardness. Usually overnight is long enough for most of the drying to happen; I then give the carving a good polish with a dry cloth. Beeswax will continue to 'cure' for a while and when fully hard will not feel at all tacky to the touch.

| 07 March 2013 16:40

Chris - in several of your videos you say to let the beeswax dry. I assume it is somewhat dependent on humidity and temperature but on average how long is this? I've searched all over the web but every source just says "let it dry". Are we talking 10 minutes, 5 hours or a day or more? Up to this point I've simply let it sit overnight. And more specifically, how can we tell that it's dry? I'm guessing touching it in an area that won't show and you don't leave a fingerprint? I'll also assume the three different mixtures you have of beeswax polish have different drying times...?

By the way, I made some polish according to your receipe...looks good but haven't had a chance to use it yet!


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