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Thread: What finish?

  1. #1
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    What finish?

    Hello everyone. I'm building a fireplace mantle for some friends of mine out of rough cedar. I'm planing it and sanding it smooth. Then wood conditioner then stain. For my samples to them I just put on some satin poly. They liked the way it looked. My question is what would be the best and last the longest around the heat and is there any reason the cedar would do better with something besides poly. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    The oils in the cedar may actually soften the varnish over time. Several coats of shellac might well be a better bet.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  3. #3
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    Thanks Jim. I was afraid someone was gonna say that. I have never used shelac in my life. What would you suggest the flakes or pre mixed ? I literally have zero experience with it.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenny Wright View Post
    Thanks Jim. I was afraid someone was gonna say that. I have never used shelac in my life. What would you suggest the flakes or pre mixed ? I literally have zero experience with it.
    For a 'first time user,' I'd recomment Zinnzer's SealCoatŪ. It's about a two pound cut, pre-mixed, and it's easy to work with. Wipe or brush it on right out of the can, or thin it 10% and spray it.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  5. #5
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    Thank you sir.

  6. #6
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    I agree on the Zinnser's as opposed to the flakes, but remember that shellac will not hold up to water like poly if that's all you're using. If Jim meant use the shellac to seal & then topcoat with poly, you're fine.
    I've used that combo successfully many times.

  7. #7
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    Thanks Tom. As far as the water goes it shouldn't be an issue as a fireplace mantle I don't think. What about a drink sat on the mantle itself would it take that?

  8. #8
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    When I give a client a finish sample it's basically a contractual obligation. What I mean is your finished project has to look exactly like the finish sample you gave to the client. I agree that it might be a good idea to seal the project with some dewaxed shellac. The Zinnsar's Sealcote is what I would use. It's super easy to apply. Use a couple of coat then scuff sand. Then top coat it with the same satin polyurethane you used on the finish sample. Even though your doing the job for friends you still want them to get exactly what they were expecting.

  9. #9
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    I have a chip on my shoulder for poly above floor level, but I agree with the seal-coat shellac. About the most forgiving finish you will ever use. Get some denatured alcohol to wipe out any sins and to clean your brush or gun.

    I would use acrylic lacquer on inside things above the floor.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  10. #10
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    Putting a drink on a shellac finish usually means a cold drink that might sweat & if so, the glass will leave a wet spot. Not good for shellac. While a mantle is less likely to have that happen, just as sure as you assume you're ok, something happens to proove you wrong. I'd still topcoat the shellac.

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