Guild of Oregon Woodworkers

7634 SW 34th Avenue Portland, OR 97219

Shellac Finishing: A Short Course 19-1

  • 16 Jul 2019
  • 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Guild Shop
  • 0


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Shellac Finishing: A Short Coarse

INSTRUCTOR: Chip Webster          

White Card Required

Introduction to Finishing

A brief introduction to wood finishing including a review of selecting, cutting and shaping the lumber, surface preparation, an overview of different film finishes with an initial emphasis on applying shellac, either as a final finish or as a wash coat.  Students will be introduced to appropriate ways to prepare the wood and how to apply shellac with a variety of tools and techniques and various approaches to correct defects.

Surface Preparation 

The finish you put on your woodworking project will highlight and magnify every defect in your wood and workmanship. The time invested to properly prepare the surface of the boards in your project will pay dividends in the result. 

We will experiment with sanding and the use of cutting tools (hand planes and card scrapers) to prepare the surface of sample boards. We’ll examine the various types of abrasives commonly available and sanding tools and techniques.  We will compare sanded and cut surfaces side by side and apply a seal coat to view the results.  The value of testing, sample boards and accompanying documentation will be demonstrated.

We will address issues such as dents, gouges, holes and glue spots, types and use of lighting to detect surface imperfections and inspect coverage, the use of solvents to examine the expected color and look of a board prior to finishing. 


We will learn about the many uses of this age old natural finish as both a seal coat and top coat finish.  We’ll explore correcting surface preparation issues and blotching that occurs in some commonly used woods. We will compare sanded and cut surfaces side by side and apply a shellac seal coat to view the results.  We"ll document the results on sample boards. Brush on and wipe-on application techniques and tools will be demonstrated; storage, clean-up and related topics will be covered. 

If you have questions, please contact class coordinator Bob Sokolow, by email, 

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