Shellac is a versatile finish. It is an ideal sealer coat, and it can enhance the natural wood color. Many woodworkers avoid shellac, worried that they might not cut it with alcohol in the right proportions. Gedrys takes the mystery out of the cutting and shows how to eyeball the cut rather than try for exact measurements. Watch this segment on shellac and then find video links for the other steps in the refinishing process below.

In this video, Gedrys uses brushes to apply shellac to legs and work it into corners but uses a pad to lay down a thin, smooth coat of shellac on tabletops and other broad surfaces. Learn how he makes his pad in a short video sidebar.

For the table he refinished, Gedrys uses a mix of dewaxed orange and garnet shellac, but there are a variety of other colors available. To add even more color, Gedrys recommends adding a few drops of dye concentrate, such as TransTint, to shellac, or using a glaze.

Expert finisher Peter Gedrys, of East Haddam, Conn. guides you through all the steps of refinishing furniture from stripping an old finish to putting the final touches on a new one. Also, become a member and chat with Gedrys about your finishing problems in Ask The Experts.


Remove an Old Finish


Step One: Stripping the Old Finish
Learn the best ways to remove a finish, safely

Prepping the surface



Step Two: Surface Preparation
How to create a smooth and clean surface, thwarting headaches down the road

Coloring with Shellac

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Step Three: Sealing and Coloring with Shellac
Professional techniques for sealing and coloring wood. A shellac pad helps y ou lay down smooth, thin layers. See how to make one in a short
video sidebar.

Armor of Varnish


Step Four: Simple Techniques for Applying Varnish
Varnish is the perfect topcoat to repel moisture and alcohol. To learn how different varnishes compare, watch this short video sidebar.

Build a Round Table


Step Five: Rubbing Out the Finish
Take your finish to the next level with the often-skipped rubbing-out process