How to Remove Shellac From Wood-Quick & Easy

Shellac is a popular finish for wood furniture and other objects. It is durable and looks great, but it can be a pain to remove when you want to change the color or finish of the wood. Shellac is a resin secreted by the lac bug, and it dries to form a hard, shiny coating. It was the most sought-after wood sealant in the early 1920s simply because it is a tough primer. In this blog post, we will discuss how to remove shellac from wood quickly and easily.

There are a few different ways that you can use to remove shellac from wood quickly. One way is to use denatured alcohol. This will dissolve the shellac and make it easy to wipe off with a rag. Another way is to use a chemical stripper which will also dissolve the shellac.

Test Whether the Wood Finish is Shellac or Lacquer

The best way to find out if the wood finish is shellac or lacquer is to do a solvent test.

To do this, you will need:

Denatured Alcohol, 5 gal, Solvent
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Denatured Alcohol, 5 gal, Solvent
Scott® Rags In A Box™ (75260), White, 200 Shop Towels/Box, 8 Boxes/Case, 1,600 Towels/Case
LOCCEF Safety Work Gloves MicroFoam Nitrile Coated-12 Pairs,Seamless Knit Nylon Gloves,Home Improvement,Micro-Foam Gloves (12 Pairs, 9/L)
DuraCasa Christmas Cotton Snow Decor - 15 oz of Fluffy Indoor Snow for Decorating - Artificial Snow for Your Mantle, Village or Nativity Set, Flame Resistant, Christmas Decorations (15 oz.)
$126.89
$98.52
$34.90
$24.97
Denatured Alcohol, 5 gal, Solvent
Denatured Alcohol, 5 gal, Solvent
$126.89
Scott® Rags In A Box™ (75260), White, 200 Shop Towels/Box, 8 Boxes/Case, 1,600 Towels/Case
Scott® Rags In A Box™ (75260), White, 200 Shop Towels/Box, 8 Boxes/Case, 1,600 Towels/Case
$98.52
LOCCEF Safety Work Gloves MicroFoam Nitrile Coated-12 Pairs,Seamless Knit Nylon Gloves,Home Improvement,Micro-Foam Gloves (12 Pairs, 9/L)
LOCCEF Safety Work Gloves MicroFoam Nitrile Coated-12 Pairs,Seamless Knit Nylon Gloves,Home Improvement,Micro-Foam Gloves (12 Pairs, 9/L)
$34.90
DuraCasa Christmas Cotton Snow Decor - 15 oz of Fluffy Indoor Snow for Decorating - Artificial Snow for Your Mantle, Village or Nativity Set, Flame Resistant, Christmas Decorations (15 oz.)
DuraCasa Christmas Cotton Snow Decor - 15 oz of Fluffy Indoor Snow for Decorating - Artificial Snow for Your Mantle, Village or Nativity Set, Flame Resistant, Christmas Decorations (15 oz.)
$24.97

First, soak the cotton in the denatured alcohol. Then, apply the soaked cotton swab to a small, hidden area of the wood surface.

If the finish is shellac, the alcohol will dissolve it and you will see the color of the wood start to show through. If the finish is lacquer, the alcohol will not have any effect.

Once you have determined that the finish is shellac, you can proceed with removing it.

Related Article: How to Seal Painted Wood Crafts

How to Remove Shellac From Wood Quickly

When it comes to removing shellac from wood quickly, the best way is to use a chemical stripper. This is because it will dissolve the shellac and make it easy to wipe off with a rag. You can find chemical strippers at your local hardware store.

To Remove Shellac Using a Chemical Stripper

Dumond 027691033322 Smart Strip by Peel Away One Sample Size’ Paint Remover, 1 Quart, White
Smart 'n Easy Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover Gel - Strips Up to 15+ Layers of Acrylic, Latex, Oil, & Water-Based Paints, Varnishes, & Coatings in One Application - Orange Scent - DIY Friendly - 32oz
HOMEXCEL Microfiber Cleaning Cloth,12 Pack Cleaning Rag,Cleaning Towels with 4 Color Assorted,11.5"X11.5"(Green/Blue/Yellow/Pink)
Dumond 027691033322 Smart Strip by Peel Away One Sample Size’ Paint Remover, 1 Quart, White
Smart 'n Easy Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover Gel - Strips Up to 15+ Layers of Acrylic, Latex, Oil, & Water-Based Paints, Varnishes, & Coatings in One Application - Orange Scent - DIY Friendly - 32oz
HOMEXCEL Microfiber Cleaning Cloth,12 Pack Cleaning Rag,Cleaning Towels with 4 Color Assorted,11.5"X11.5"(Green/Blue/Yellow/Pink)
$24.97
$22.97
$6.99
Dumond 027691033322 Smart Strip by Peel Away One Sample Size’ Paint Remover, 1 Quart, White
Dumond 027691033322 Smart Strip by Peel Away One Sample Size’ Paint Remover, 1 Quart, White
$24.97
Smart 'n Easy Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover Gel - Strips Up to 15+ Layers of Acrylic, Latex, Oil, & Water-Based Paints, Varnishes, & Coatings in One Application - Orange Scent - DIY Friendly - 32oz
Smart 'n Easy Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover Gel - Strips Up to 15+ Layers of Acrylic, Latex, Oil, & Water-Based Paints, Varnishes, & Coatings in One Application - Orange Scent - DIY Friendly - 32oz
$22.97
HOMEXCEL Microfiber Cleaning Cloth,12 Pack Cleaning Rag,Cleaning Towels with 4 Color Assorted,11.5"X11.5"(Green/Blue/Yellow/Pink)
HOMEXCEL Microfiber Cleaning Cloth,12 Pack Cleaning Rag,Cleaning Towels with 4 Color Assorted,11.5"X11.5"(Green/Blue/Yellow/Pink)
$6.99

Shellac resin forms a tough coating and may prove difficult to remove, here are the steps to follow when you want to remove it with a chemical stripper.

Step One: First, apply the chemical stripper to the wood surface with the paintbrush. Make sure to cover the entire surface evenly.

Step Two: Next, let the stripper sit for about 15 minutes.

Step Three: After 15 minutes, use the rag to wipe off the stripper and the shellac.

Step Four: You may need to apply the stripper a second time to remove all of the shellac. Once you have removed all of the shellac, you can proceed with refinishing the wood surface.

Related Article: Types of Wood Finishes: A Complete Guide By A Professional

How to Remove Shellac From Wood

Refinishing the Wood Surface

Now that you have removed the shellac from the wood surface, you can proceed with refinishing it. You can choose to stain or paint the wood, depending on your preference.

If you decide to stain the wood, make sure to apply a pre-stain conditioner first. This will help the stain go on evenly and prevent blotching.

Once you have applied the pre-stain conditioner, you can proceed with staining the wood. Make sure to apply the stain evenly and in the direction of the grain. If you decide to paint the wood, make sure to sand it first. This will help the paint go on smoothly and prevent brush strokes.

After sanding the wood, you can proceed with painting it. Make sure to apply the paint evenly and in the direction of the grain.

Related Article: How to Remove Wood Stain Off of Skin In Easy Steps

Removing Shellac Using Denatured Alcohol

Removing shellac from a wood surface can be difficult and tedious especially when you don’t use the right tools and materials. Denatured alcohol is one of the most effective solvents for removing shellac from wood. It’s a strong solvent that will quickly dissolve the shellac without damaging the wood underneath.

To remove shellac using denatured alcohol, you’ll need:

  • A clean cloth
  • Denatured alcohol
  • A putty knife or razor blade
HOMEXCEL Microfiber Cleaning Cloth,8 Pack Cleaning Rag, Premium 300GSM Cleaning for Kitchens, Bathrooms, Offices, Cars,12"X12"(All Black)
4-Pack Denatured Alcohol KleanStrip (GSL26)
DEWALT 3" Putty Knife | Stainless Steel w/Soft Grip Handle | DXTT-2-139
HOMEXCEL Microfiber Cleaning Cloth,8 Pack Cleaning Rag, Premium 300GSM Cleaning for Kitchens, Bathrooms, Offices, Cars,12"X12"(All Black)
4-Pack Denatured Alcohol KleanStrip (GSL26)
DEWALT 3" Putty Knife | Stainless Steel w/Soft Grip Handle | DXTT-2-139
$5.99
$89.99
$13.99
HOMEXCEL Microfiber Cleaning Cloth,8 Pack Cleaning Rag, Premium 300GSM Cleaning for Kitchens, Bathrooms, Offices, Cars,12"X12"(All Black)
HOMEXCEL Microfiber Cleaning Cloth,8 Pack Cleaning Rag, Premium 300GSM Cleaning for Kitchens, Bathrooms, Offices, Cars,12"X12"(All Black)
$5.99
4-Pack Denatured Alcohol KleanStrip (GSL26)
4-Pack Denatured Alcohol KleanStrip (GSL26)
$89.99
DEWALT 3" Putty Knife | Stainless Steel w/Soft Grip Handle | DXTT-2-139
DEWALT 3" Putty Knife | Stainless Steel w/Soft Grip Handle | DXTT-2-139
$13.99

Here’s how to do it:

First, soak a clean cloth in denatured alcohol. Then, apply the soaked cloth to the shellac and let it sit for a few minutes. After a few minutes have passed, use the putty knife or razor blade to scrape off the shellac. Repeat this process until all of the shellac has been removed.

Step One: Pour a small amount of denatured alcohol onto a clean rag.

Step Two: Rub the alcohol into the shellac using circular motions.

Step Three: Continue rubbing until the shellac has been completely removed from the wood surface.

Step Four: Wipe away any remaining residue with a clean, dry rag and enjoy your newly shellac-free wood surface.

Removing shellac can be a time-consuming and frustrating process, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right tools and materials, you can easily remove shellac from any wood surface in no time at all. So what are you waiting for? Give it a try today, you might be surprised at how easy it is.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Do I Remove Shellac from Wood Quickly?

The easiest way to remove shellac from wood quickly is to use a chemical stripper. This is because it will dissolve the shellac and make it easy to wipe off with a rag. You can find chemical strippers at your local hardware store.

What is The Best Way to Remove Shellac from Wood?

The most effective way to get shellac off wood is with a chemical stripper or denatured alcohol. These solvents will quickly dissolve the shellac without damaging the wood underneath.

How Do I Remove Shellac From my Floors?

You can remove shellac from your floors by using a chemical stripper or denatured alcohol. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully and always test a small area first to make sure it won’t damage your floors.

How Do I Remove Shellac From my Furniture?

You can remove shellac from your furniture by using a chemical stripper or denatured alcohol. Just follow the instructions on the label carefully and remember to do a test on a small area first to make sure it won’t damage your furniture.

How Do I Remove Shellac From my Cabinets?

You can remove shellac from your cabinets by using denatured alcohol or chemical stripper. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully and always test a small area first to make sure it won’t damage your cabinets.

Is There Another Way to Remove Shellac from Wood?

You can also remove shellac from wood by sanding it off. This is a more labor-intensive method, but it will eventually remove the shellac. Just make sure to sand in the direction of the grain to avoid damaging the wood.

Conclusion

Removing shellac from wood can be a difficult and tedious task, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right tools and materials, you can easily remove shellac from any wood surface in no time at all. So what are you waiting for? Give it a try today, you might be surprised at how easy it is.

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