Hand Tools Archive

Re: Bowing to the gods of laziness

Robert Hazelwood
Nice save on that Yamaha. Looks like the way a violin neck is done (left conspicuously lighter than the body and scroll).

I've done a similar finish with padded shellac over linseed oil and was about as surprised and pleased as you are with the results and how forgiving it is. Never thought to use stain, but those results on cherry are pretty impressive.

It's kind of a high-effort finish, and in terms of direct labor you might spend more time on each piece than with the usual methods. But, on the other hand the total elapsed time is very low, since there is only one "coat", and no real drying time. My favorite part is that there is no need for sanding (I have a pretty irrational hatred of sanding...). Finish plane/scrape, burnish, then oil and shellac. I've never done a finish that has a nicer sheen or a nicer feel to the touch.

I'll be interested in your cabinet build. To me this kind of finish requires doing the interior and door panels prior to assembly since there is no hope of getting to inside corners neatly. That can add a lot of logistical challenge. I considered doing this finish for a crib I recently made but ended up using Osmo PolyX gloss since it is easily applied after assembly, and I didn't want to stage 50+ parts for prefinishing. I was impressed by the Osmo, but it is not quite as nice as the shellac over oil.

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