Tung-Oil Varnish over Shellac

You can apply oil-based varnish over shellac, but you don't need both just pick one or the other. May 7, 2007

Question
Can a tung-oil finish be applied over shellac?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor R:
I doubt that it will dry worth a bucket of beans.



From contributor D:
What's labeled as a tung oil finish normally isn't. These normally are wiping varnishes and should work fine. If it's truly tung oil, then you've got problems.


From contributor O:
What are you trying to achieve with the tung oil, when plain shellac and maybe a good coating of paste wax on the wood will be the best possible combination?


From the original questioner:
What I'm considering is Waterlox tung-oil satin, over a dyed/stained Stickley-looking piece. So I wanted to seal in the stain with shellac, then topcoat with Waterlox.


From contributor O:
If you are adding Waterlox onto the shellac finish as another layer of protection for the furniture, I see no benefit whatsoever. May I suggest one or the other, not both. Shellac has been used for centuries as a coating for most varieties of wood. And so has pure tung oil. Both are acceptable finishes in and of themselves... Shellac is more fragile to household chemicals. Also, if the furniture is large, I think you have to spray on the finish, unless you are quite skilled/experienced for a rub-on finish.


From contributor T:
Waterlox is a varnish made with tung oil. It is not tung oil. It will go over shellac just fine, but shellac serves no real purpose in your schedule. Wipe it on, let dry overnight, sand lightly between coats, 3 or 4 coats usually does it.


From the original questioner:
Thanks everyone; appreciated.