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Varnish? or Shellac?

Posted by Rachel in MN on March 6th, 2000 04:07 PM
In reply to Yes, And More ... by Jay J on March 6th, 2000 11:07 AM [Go to top of thread]

Perhaps you can clear something up for me.
Most of the floors (oak) in my 1901 house have (what
appears to be) the original finish on them, which
we believe to be shellac - denatured rubbing alcohol
makes the surface sticky, and then a cloth gets
lots of yellow/orange gooey stuff on it. Is this
likely to be shellac, or is it varnish? What
exactly IS varnish?

All I know, is that most of the floors (even the
ones that have practically no finish left in traffic
areas) look really good still. Whereas my kitchen
floor (maple) was obviously refinished about 20-30
years ago with a urethane of some sort, and looks really
lousy in the worn areas.

So, are we crazy to consider using Shellac to refinish
the oak floors? How would varnish (and exactly
which kinds) be different or better?


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