Removing Shellac From Wood Features And Refinishing
- Procedure code:
- National Capitol Region Specifications
- Architectural Woodwork
- Last Modified:
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Prior to inclusion in GSA’s library of procedures, documents are reviewed by one or more qualified preservation specialists for general consistency with the Secretary of Interior Standards for rehabilitating historic buildings as understood at the time the procedure is added to the library. All specifications require project-specific editing and professional judgement regarding the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers are to serve as a general guideline and do not constitute a federal endorsement or determination that a product or method is the best or most current alternative, remains available, or is compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards. The library of procedures is intended to serve as a resource, not a substitute, for specification development by a qualified preservation professional.
We’ve reviewed these procedures for general consistency with federal standards for rehabilitating historic buildings and provide them only as a reference. Specifications should only be applied under the guidance of a qualified preservation professional who can assess the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers serve as general guidelines and do not constitute a federal endorsement nor a determination that a product or method is the best alternative or compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards.
- This procedure includes guidance on removing shellac from wood features and refinishing with shellac and paste wax.
- See 01100-07-S for general project guidelines to be reviewed along with this procedure. These guidelines cover the following sections:
- Safety Precautions
- Historic Structures Precautions
- Quality Assurance
- Delivery, Storage and Handling
- Project/Site Conditions
- Sequencing and Scheduling
- General Protection (Surface and Surrounding)
These guidelines should be reviewed prior to performing this procedure and should be followed, when applicable, along with recommendations from the Regional Historic Preservation Officer (RHPO).
- Denatured alcohol
- Paste wax: Proprietary or job-mixed compound containing carnuba, beeswax, cadelilla, or ceresin mixed with turpentine.
- Wood filler, tinted to match wood
- Steel wool, fine 00-0000
- Sandpaper: Extra fine grit
- Clean, soft cloths
- Stiff, natural bristle brushes
- Surface Preparation:
- Mask all adjacent surfaces and protect other exposed surfaces in the work area.
- Fill any splits in existing wood and sand smooth prior to sealer application.
3.02 ERECTION, INSTALLATION, APPLICATION
NOTE: Follow manufacturer's application instructions. Final appearance of wood work must be uniform in all respects.
- Select an inconspicuous area on which to test materials and application for each method type required. Test area must be approved by the Contracting Officer.
- After each test area has been prepared, receive approval from the Contracting Officer before commencing general application.
- Coat wood with denatured alcohol. Apply with soft cloth. Scrape up residue as quickly as possible. Repeat application of alcohol until all shellac is removed.
- Sand smooth.
- Apply one coat of shellac with soft cloth and allow to dry.
- Apply mixture of shellac and alcohol with soft cloth and allow to dry overnight.
- Apply liberal amount of pastewax with soft cloth and allow to dry.
- Buff wood lightly with steel wool.
- Buff wood with soft brush.
- Polish with soft cloth.
- Other processes may be used as long as final results conform to quality standards and give uniform appearance.