Before I apply the shellac, I need to do some last minute prep work. I need to make sure the stain is absolutely even. Color has to be consistent. No blotches. No sticky spots. No dust. It must be completely dry. To be honest, I am never completely satisfied at this point, so I have learned a little trick.
I simply wipe the surface down with a paper towel, dampened with mineral spirits. Doing this may lighten the stain slightly, but I gladly trade the little bit of color for the benefits of doing this. It will give me absoloutely even color and eliminate most of any dust that has accumulated while the stain was drying.
This table had the original "speckled" stain that was so common for a while. It had little tiny black paint specks underneath the clear coat. The owner of the table wanted me to duplicate it. So I need to add some specks before the shellac goes on. It is pretty easy. I just use a very small amount of black acryilic paint, a little water, and a small, stiff, artists brush. I mix the water and the paint to make it a little soupy. Then I dip the brush in the paint, and pull back the bristles with my thumb and release them to create sort of a misty spray. It seems to work better if I hold the brush up fairly high and don't load the brush with too much paint. Take your time and get your specks consitsent across the entire table. Then let it dry completely.
Now it is time to spray the shellac.
Use nice even long strokes. Make sure the surface is covered completely.
Here is a little trick to avoid having to tape off edges.
I didn't want to get any shellac on the table skirt, so I held a piece of hardboard, just under the top to block the spray. Any thin piece of wood or stiff cardboard will work. It was a real time saver on this project.