Best Brush for Shellac
Mop brushes are a versatile choice for finishing furniture with shellac.
I’d like to start using shellac to finish the furniture I build. What type of brush is best and how should I care for it?
Graham Parker, Portland, OR
If I had to choose just one brush, it would be a mop brush. The dome-shaped bristles make it great for small areas like legs and drawer fronts; and because mop brushes hold lots of finish, they also work great for larger surfaces. Less-expensive ones are fine for general work, but for laying down fine topcoats on small parts or molding, I’d use a mop brush with bristles made from squirrel or goat hair.
As versatile as mop brushes are, it is also very helpful to have a flat brush for laying down smooth, thin topcoats on large surfaces such as tabletops. I recommend a brush with synthetic bristles made from Taklon. However, they don’t hold much finish.
As for cleaning brushes, there’s not much to it. Just dip the brush in denatured alcohol, reshape the bristles, and set the brush aside to dry. Before you use it the next time, soak it in denatured alcohol for about 10 minutes to soften and dissolve any shellac on the bristles.