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How to finish the inside of wood windows

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How to finish the inside of wood windows

Postby Vaso7 on Tue Oct 05, 2010 2:09 pm

I have a lot of windows that the inside is still in their originally condition: stained and shellacked. Those windows are casement which means they open to the outside and get a fair amount of weather. If opened during rain (often in summer-fall) they get completely wet in the inside. They are in a bad shape and I want to work on them. My plan is to clean them with alcohol and then stain them again. My question is what should I finish them with. Should I use shellac again? Will shellac keep up with some rain? Is poly my only options? It is just discouraging thinking I need to use 3 coats of poly that I have to sand in between. Every window has 16 panes of glass....
Thanks!
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Re: How to finish the inside of wood windows

Postby moonshadow317 on Tue Oct 05, 2010 4:11 pm

I have a few of those casement windows myself. Whenever it rains I run around like a nut and shut them. In fact those get shut first then the storms on the double hungs. Then in the summertime we all sit around and sweat. Sheesh.... the things we do for these old houses.

My casements are shellac but if you are worried about water how about the waterlox. It is suppose to interact with shellac so you can give them a coat or two of shellac and then top it off with a coat or two of the waterlox. Please don't poly them :cry:
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Re: How to finish the inside of wood windows

Postby sooth on Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:02 pm

Umm, if you're worried about THREE coats of poly, you better sit down when I tell you that an average shellac job takes a minimum of about 10 coats to build-up a nice film (such as on furniture). HOWEVER, shellac is by far the absolute EASIEST finish to strip and repair, since it's easily dissolved in alcohol, even if it's 100 years old. Likewise, if you get a scratch, you can add more shellac over it, and the new shellac will melt and blend into the old. Shellac also gives wood an absolutely beautiful orange glow. It's also non-toxic.... The choice is yours, of course, but if it were me, I'd stick with shellac.

If the finish on your existing windows is still half decent, you could get away with just redistributing the old shellac (using alcohol, rags, and just a drop or two of olive oil), and then recoat over it again with more fresh shellac.
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Re: How to finish the inside of wood windows

Postby Vaso7 on Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:18 pm

Yeah, but ten coats of shellac is more fun to apply that the three coats of poly :)

My only question is if the shellac will stand the occasional rain fall.
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Re: How to finish the inside of wood windows

Postby jade mortimer on Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:39 pm

unfortunately, shellac does not hold up to heat or precipitation...waterlox, tung oil, valoil are a few choices that will serve you well...

me no like poly either... :twisted:

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Re: How to finish the inside of wood windows

Postby Kansas. 1911. on Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:27 pm

But I have a husband who likes poly. What should I say to switch him over to something else. Our south and west windows take a beating from sun, wind, rain and sleet.
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Re: How to finish the inside of wood windows

Postby brick1101 on Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:32 pm

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Last edited by brick1101 on Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to finish the inside of wood windows

Postby lisascenic on Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:02 pm

I thought shellac was easily damaged by water.

Have I been mislead?
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Re: How to finish the inside of wood windows

Postby tankdeer on Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:14 pm

My I ask why people don't like Poly? My ignorance is killing me. :)
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Re: How to finish the inside of wood windows

Postby BettyRubble on Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:54 pm

Hi,

I have varnished casement windows on my 1965 split, and they need some touch-up and 'refinishing love' in spots.

I got Bob Flexner's "Understanding Wood Finishing" out of the town library, and then I bought my own copy. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is a solid reference book that answers all the questions you've ever had about finishes.

All the different finishes have trade-offs: appearance on the wood, ease/difficulty of application, resilience, touch-up ease/difficulty, etc.

Considering the misery of removing a finish that you don't like, I recommend you consult this book to make your decision about the finish.

After poring over this book, I chose to buy a quart of Interlux Schooner Gold varnish to do my touch-up work.

Hope this helps.
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