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Painted Finishes

wood finishing

by Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher



When I first started out I had a lot of designers asking for painted finishes on (what I considered to be) very nice furniture. So nice I sometimes hesitated to agree to paint these pieces but they insisted. Since I detested painting over beautiful hardwoods, I figured that I should at least paint the pieces in such a way that could be reversed in the future for myself or some other restorer. Having to deal with this conundrum, I decided I had to figure out a way to paint the pieces and live with it at the same time. Shellac was the answer.

  1. If the finish is in good shape, sand all surfaces with 320 paper and paint away.
  2. The underlying finish will take the paint off with it when it is stripped.
  3. If the finish is in fair shape and still has good adhesion, apply a thin coat of 2 pound cut shellac, sand with 320 paper and paint.
  4. To paint bare wooden surfaces, again apply a good coat of shellac and sand with 320 then paint.
  5. Using shellac as the barrier allows the use of water based acrylic, oil based and lacquer based paints to be used and removed much easier.
  6. Remove all sanding dust and be sure to use fresh shellac.


Visiting Atlanta? Attend one of Alan's upcoming highly informative Highland Woodworking wood finishing seminars:


April 26, 2014   Spray Finishing
April 30, 2014   French Polish Workshop
May 18, 2014  Antique Restoration
May 24, 2014  Finishing 101



Visit Highland Woodworking's Online
Wood Finishing Supplies Department




Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at anoelfurniturere@bellsouth.net.


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