Cleaning Up a Shellac Spot

How to level out an accidental drip of shellac sealer. February 19, 2006

Question
How would you remove a quarter size drop of dried shellac sealer from a stained piece of mahogany? I'm concerned about sanding through the color to remove it.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor M:
Did you have any coats of shellac down on the stain before you dripped on the quarter sized spot? If it was only stained, then just start building up your coats of shellac, after a few shellac coats then you can start to sand the coating level.

Being that shellac is an evaporative finish, the quarter sized spot and the coats of shellac should become one and flow together. If you had some shellac down before the drip, then just continue applying a few more coats, and then sand the shellac level. You may need to repeat the process.



From the original questioner:
It was the first coat of shellac and I was going to stop there but it looks like I'll have to spray a few more coats and hopefully it will blend with the spot.


From contributor M:
What will you be using for your top coats? As long as its not water-base, you can just continue to spray on your top coats and then later on sand the "spot" level with the rest of the finish. The more coats you have on the better your odds are that you won't sand through the finish.



From the original questioner:
I'm using a Becker WB topcoat but had not sprayed it yet. I just finished putting two more coats of shellac on, then sanding down to remove the spot. It seemed to work pretty well. After that I'll spray the WB. The problem was on the lid of a chest. I finished the bottom of the chest with the WB over the sealer and it left a glass smooth finish so hopefully the top will now come out just as well.


From contributor S:
If it ever happens again here's a tip. Continue to spray the finish on the top. Let it dry, take a razor blade and scrape the mound to shave it so to speak. This will level the film build in that area. If you can catch it while it's still wet, applying a light coat of straight solvent over the top will help the drip flow out some and there won't be too much to have to shave and level later once its dry.