Monday, December 10, 2007

A possible floor solution?

Literally-- we think we've found a recipe for a shellac mixture and poly coating that will come close to mimicking the way the floors look right now.

Late last week, I stumbled across Goodwin Pine's "professional" section for their website. Goodwin Pine, www.heartpine.com , is apparently the leading company with regards to antique heart pine-- salvaged and river recovered. When I was still shopping for heart pine to patch the floor furnaces, I emailed nearly every company I could get an address for who might possibly sell the stuff. A few were able to give me estimates, many of whom weren't able to guarantee the clarity of the wood. I've mentioned that ours is extremely vertically-grained with no knots whatsoever. Any variation there would stand out like a sore thumb. Anyway, the companies that couldn't help me for whatever reason-- don't do orders that small, don't sell heart pine, don't sell it in that particular grade-- all directed me to Goodwin. And when you see their website and brochure, you see why. They really are a company dedicated to this one, very particular, largely unavailable (new, anyway) species of wood. They have a very specific grading system and a lot of suggestions on the maintenance and restoration of this kind of wood.

Anyway, their "professional" section, which I had not seen before, suggested using a 3lb cut of dark dewaxed shellac, thinned and used as a wash. They claim that this will provide a bit of instant ambering. Then coat over it with a water-based poly. Supposeedly, the shellac dries pretty immediately (it's an alcohol base, after all) and as long as it's dewaxed, it shouldn't interfere with the poly.

Now I've never used shellac for anything, so I'm tiptoeing into some unchartered territory for me... Any tips or hints from anyone who's done this would be greatly appreciated!

As for house progress, we happily made none this weekend ;-). Sunday was going to be devoted to a family gathering, so we decided to take the weekend to catch up on things at our rental-- cleaning, some light packing, a few trips to Target. Our cats couldn't believe their luck to have us both in the house for 3 straight days, a clean living room, and boxes galore for snooping and napping. It was like heaven for everyone involved.

4 comments:

Paul said...

Sure, that will work. I've done the same thing to finish my floors (oak): shellac and water-based poly.

I use amber shellac as a base coat to give the bare wood some color. If you prefer a lighter finish, you may want to use clear shellac--it has a very light yellowish tone. You can use shellac with wax as long as you put a sealer on top of it before using poly, but that's an extra step you may not want to do. Dewaxed shellac will work fine with poly.

Here's a link to a photo of one of my floors that shows the look of amber shellac: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulbekah/879402961/in/set-72157600991430105/

DonaldR said...

I used a lot of shellac at our last house, but not on floors. I used amber on our front door (oak) and also on the fireplace surround (also oak). Great color.

My advice is to go for it, but work fast. Shellac does dry very quickly. If you see a spot you missed, pick it up on the next coat. It's easy to end up with brush marks if you go over an area again before it's completely dry.

Meg said...
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Meg said...

Next time I suggest trying Mountain Lumber. Their rift grade is probably what you're looking for.