We painted two pieces of furniture today. One piece had a peculiar odor in the drawers. It was easily fixed with a coat of Shellac. We used Zinsser liquid Shellac, a cotton rag or a staining pad and applied it directly to the inside of the drawers. One coat, 30 minutes to dry, and the odor was completely gone.
What is Shellac?
It starts out in dry flakes, which are dissolved in ethanol to make liquid shellac, which is used as a brush-on colorant, food glaze and wood finish. Shellac functions as a tough natural primer, sanding sealant, tannin-blocker, odor-blocker,stain, and high-gloss varnish.
Shellac is available in most home centers as a liquid in a can. It also comes in an aerosol can, and it has a shorter shelf life than other finishes. If using the liquid form, apply it with a natural bristle brush or cotton rag.
Why would you use Shellac?
Eliminate wood grain from showing through
Stop wood tannins from bleeding through
Eliminate stains from bleeding through (water, grease, etc.)
Eliminate smells like smoke
Use on raw wood if too much paint is penetrating into the wood
Cover wood filler
In most instances, you will not know shellac is needed until you paint and bleed through or grease stains come through on your piece. That’s ok. Just Shellac over the area (do the entire door front, side panel, etc.), wait for the Shellac to dry, and repaint.