Any advice would be appreciated. I made a fireplace mantel for a friend from solid 3/4″ walnut and finished it with four coats of Watco Natural. Each coat was applied with wet/dry sandpaper beginning with 220, then 320, then 400, and finally 600 grit. It was super smooth.
But both my friend and I thought it looked a bit dull. She didn’t want it glossy, so I decided to finish it like I do most of my boxes – padding on shellac and buffing out with 0000 steel wool.
So, after letting the Watco cure for three or four days, I added several coats (at least five) of thinned shellac (Zinnser waxed shellac diluted with alcohol 4:1). I padded on the coats the same way as I’ve done on other pieces and sanded after each coat beginning with the third coat. I used either 320 or 400 grit using mineral spirits to prevent clogging the paper. After letting the last coat of shellac sit for 2-3 days, I buffed on wax with 0000 steel wool.
When all done, I’m not happy. I see blotchiness in the walnut…I’ve never seen that before in this wood and didn’t notice until I added shellac. Maybe it’s just this piece of wood. But worse, there appear to be dull spots throughout…almost as if I didn’t sand/buff all shellac. It’s difficult to see in this photo, but with a glancing light, I can see it. Any thoughts are appreciated.