1. Paul excellent series, Thank You very much I enjoyed this immensely. You have given me great inspirations and this clock series will make beautiful Christmas presents for my Family next year. I like your approach on no nonsense woodworking and you show and illustrate you don’t have to have expensive tools to perform this caliber of work.

    I have learned a lot and after the Holidays and I get “your” Bench finished I want to start building these clocks as I have several to make. I use Shellac and like it very much and like you wax the project but I never have given a thought to using a shoe brush for final polishing, this is brilliant.

    I am so looking forward to following you on your course’s and will be the first to admit I am and will be a little intimated with the chair build but I have all ways wanted to make one.

    Thanks again for this series and sharing your “trade” secrets !


  2. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the great project. I haven’t finished the clock yet, but I tried your finishing method some weeks ago on another project. I liked it a lot but I had some problems with steel-wooling the end grain since the steel wool was dissolving and its dust left a grey area whereas the result on the long grain was clean. That’s why I switched to a cloth to apply the wax on the other parts of the project. Where could be the problem?



  3. Hi Paul
    I am busy downloading the latest episode, so haven’t watched it yet and am probably putting the cart before the horse – where do we buy shellac in the UK? This is something I’ve wanted to ask for a while, mainly because I’ve seen it referred to in US magazines and on their sites. So where can an ordinary person in the street get shellac? Is there a trade or brand name to look out for?
    Many thanks

  4. Nice music. Much more pleasant than the DVD series :~)
    Also see you do not live in the castle. I had images of you going upstairs after work, putting on your robe and crown !!
    All in all, just a delight to participate in simple handtool woodworking. Appreciate it so much.

  5. Most people use Methylated spirits which is denatured alcohol with additives to make it unsuitable for human consumption. It’s poisonous. It has a light purple colorant added to make it distinguishable. That’s a UK law. In the USA you can buy denatured alcohol from a liquor store by the gallon but I think you have to sign for it.

    1. In the US denatured alcohol is the same as mentholated spirits. In some states you can find pure ethanol alcohol in liquor stores. It’s commonly called grain alcohol and is sold under the Everclear brand. Be sure to buy the 95% or 190 proof and not the 151 proof.

    2. Paul, I have some shellac (French polish) but it’s very thick and turns pine a caramel colour, if I add some meths to thin it, will it the wood also take on the purple colorant?
      Thanks for all your help, happy new year

  6. Wonderfully produced series Paul. I especially enjoyed the way you ended video 8. It adds the homey, personal touch which makes your videos, blogs, etc… so inviting and enjoyable. Looking forward to future series and attending your school in NY,
    Thanks once again

  7. Paul:
    Question regarding finish – I had heard that finishing only one side of long boards (such as the sides and face) makes them more likely to twist. Old wives tale? And was that an Aston Martin in your driveway? Also, in the U.S., denatured alcohol is available at Home Depot ($16 USD) and most hardware stores. The Absolute Alcohol (190 proof) is in the liquor store but is better used for making limoncello as it is not denatured. (methanol is the additive to ethyl [drinking] alcohol to denature it as methanol causes blindness if taken internally).

    Thanks again for such a pleasant way to learn.

    1. Hello Gaylord. How is your rocking chair. We had fun didn’t we?
      Thanks for the information. Boards don’t twist because of the finish, but they can cup, a different problem really, and so we generally apply finish of equal value to both sides. This doesn’t stop the ingress and egress of moisture, it simply slows down the exchange and controls the amount to equal out the absorption.
      No Aston Martins. Mine is a Ford and my neighbour, who just left, had an Alpha Romeo.

  8. Hi Paul
    A question on the Liberon shellac you are using: is it their Spirit Sanding Sealer? I know it sounds a silly question, but I want to be sure to use the correct thing. I have found many variants on Smith and Rodgers’ site, and am now not sure exactly what to buy. In essence, I am not sure whether the Liberon Spirit Sanding Sealer is the same as the S&R Shellac Sanding Sealer, you see. http://www.frenchpolishes.com/acatalog/Shellac_Polishes.html
    Many thanks

    1. Hello again Jonathan,
      Smith and Rogers sanding sealer is a good grade of shellac that is the same as the Liberon. It’s a little thinner than say the fuller shellac finishes but as you use it the evaporative denatured alcohol releases and you end up with thicker material as the bottle goes down. This may need adding more meths. If or when you amke your own shellac (shellac is unlike other finishes and has a short shelf life, maybe six months to a year, you simply dissolve the flakes of shellac in methylated spirits or pure denatured alcohol. The amount of denatured alcohol determines the thickness or”cut”. Generally, sanding sealers are a thinner cut of a high grade, blond or bleached shellac. The thickness of the shellac is measured by the unit as a #1lb cut, which refers to the weight of shellac flakes dissolved into one gallon of denatured alcohol. For example: a 1-lb. cut of shellac is the strength obtained by dissolving one pound of shellac flakes in a gallon of alcohol. The more shellac flakes you add, the thicker the liquid and the higher the cut number shown as #2 or #3lb cut. Ready mixed commercial prepared shellacs are usually between 2-3lb. cut and may be wholly or partially bleached depending on what the application is for. Shellac sanding sealer is generally made from bleached shellac and this has the greatest benefit on light coloured woods where retaining grain colour is important.Better to apply several thin coats than fewer thick coats as the finish result is significantly better. Items sold as button polish, shellac, French Polish, Knotting are all the same product made from shellac but with colour reduced or removed or concentrated and in different thicknesses. Different makers of premixed stuff may add other evaporatives to increase drying time.

  9. Hi Paul
    Thanks very much – I am very much looking forward to experimenting and perhaps even making my own finishes (although there is also much to be said for taking it straight out of the tin 🙂 ) – I’ll probably order the Liberon Spirit Sealer to start with, then. Many thanks!

  10. Hi
    Does anybody know if the Liberon sanding sealer is affected by cold weather, when I use the container I have which I keep in the garage it is drying white and not transparent. It is a 1/2 litre bottle that I have had for about 4 months . It was ok when I used it last


  11. Hi Davide,
    It is likely that the weather or atmosphere was damp either during application or subsequent to it but before it cured. This means that moisture is trapped in the finish or below it. It can also mean that the wood had a higher moisture level than is acceptable, say 15% and up, and the same problem occurs. The best thing to do is take the project indoors and let it warm up, steel woo or sand the surface and hopefully that moisture will be released. If this doesn’t work it’s a quick thing to sand through and recoat in a warmer and drier environment provided the finish is warm and the wood is dry. I would sand or steel wool and then leave in the warmth for a couple of days first.

    1. I remember answering this already somewhere, but here is my answer:
      In the UK I like to use the soft paste furniture wax made for the National Trust. A flat tin costs about £4. In the USA I like to use Trewax natural.

    1. Hello Raven,
      Depends on the wood and the size of the defect you are filling. Most of the proprietary brands will work well. Elmers, for instance. Buy a small quantity as even if sealed they do dry up and don’t last forever.
      Best for now,

  12. Hello Paul,
    I have a simple and novice question maybe. How do you clean brushes after applying shellac ( I used Zinsser) because many of my brushes became as hard as stone, and I think my mistake was washing them with inadequate substance. Thanks

    1. One of the nice things about shellac is that since it will always re-dissolve in alcohol, you don’t have to clean the brush unless you want to use it for something else. The brush will go hard, but will soften up again very quickly the next time you use it.

  13. Enjoyed this series, especially the finishing with shellac. Have never used shellac as a finish but will try it on the project I have on the bench now. I have really learned a lot watching you use only hand tools.
    Thank you

  14. Paul, I’m currently using shellac to finish a cherry-veneered project. I used an alcohol dye based product to tint the shellac. I’ve also tried a light 1.5# cut of blonde to hopefully minimize splotching before hand. However, it appeared the cherry splotched anyway. Or it could be a heart/sap wood issue or even ray flecks. Not experienced enough with wood types to know. It doesn’t look bad by any means. However, I’ll have to experiment more with toning/dyeing various woods. Like you, I really like shellac as a finish.

  15. I buy the methylated spirits in 4 litre plastic containers, get the shellac flakes in a container roughly the same size. I then pour one 4 litre of meths into the Shellac container shake it a bit and leave it over night to dissolve The next day I decant the shellac half into the empty Meths container fill it to the top with meths form a second container, then add the left over from the Shellac container into that Meths container,
    Finish up with around 8 litres of Shellac. As I use the Shellac it naturally thickens and I add Meths to dilute the colour. As Paul says it is a good sealer and goes under everything. I apply it fairly early onto the project it save dirty marks, seals the timber and makes pencil marks stand out but easier to remove. I hear the comments about it going off but I am currently using some that I mixed over 18 months ago; freshen it with Meths and have not had any issues. If sanded too soon it clogs the sandpaper quickly but is the most versatile sealer and finishing product. I have tried them all and always retreat to Shellac. But I am an Aussie so we tend to be a little different. Regards ALL.

  16. Thanks Paul for the Wallclock Episodes i injoyed very much, i will be starting mine in the new year and very much looking forward to the change,with the differant parts thay go of woodworking i have never done before,take care catch up with you in the new year

  17. Thanks Paul for the Wallclock Episodes ,at this moment mine is in clamps hope to put the shellac on tomorrow it has been a great exercise in joyed the challenge ,looking forward to the next project take care and thanks again.

    1. Hi Stanley,

      Paul says although it may have coagulated the brush will quickly soften when you put it back in the finish. The best time to clean the brush is at the conclusion of applying the layers of finish.

      Kind Regards,

  18. Thank you Paul for this series and everything else you have thought me. I just completed the clock and hang it on our wall. Although it is very beautiful, I just realized it is very out of place in our living room. That is because it is the nicest thing we have now! I will certainly be looking forward to do some more projects, but I wanted to start from the beginning of this website. I am a relative new comer and I will have a lot to catch up.

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