The floor has gone through quite a transformation this week. We went from this:
To this: Back to this:
And finally, to this: We're not done yet, but the first coat of shellac went on beautifully this time. No problems. Of course, it also helps that I did it right... This time around, I used clear shellac. For every 2 cups of 3lb cut I used, I added 1/2 cup of denatured alcohol to thin it. I also made sure to spread it as smoothly as possible from one end of the board to the other (lengthwise). I only did 3 boards at a time this time, and I instead of using the lambswool applicator on the pole, I got down on my hands and knees so I could monitor the coverage more closely. I think that the results speak for themselves, but the floor looks so much better than it did before that I can hardly believe it. The far left side in the picture is still wet, which is why it looks a little darker than the rest of the floor, but everything is a uniform golden color with no splotches or thick spots. The only flaw is a deep scratch that runs the width of the floor, right in the middle of the room. It didn't show up well in the above picture, but it's pretty noticeable in person. I sanded the hell out of it, but it was so deep that it didn't help much. Once we have a rug, though, it should be less visible.
Later today I plan to put on another coat of shellac, this time one-third amber and two-thirds clear. I'd like the floor to be just a little darker and less yellow, but I don't want to lose all the bright happiness of the clear coat. After the second coat, I'll add a third coat of thinned clear before I wax. That should be another adventure, since I've never waxed a floor before in my life. Whee...
I really can't express enough how thrilled I am that the floor turned out this well. After having to re-sand the floors, I was terrified that I'd just ruin them again. I agonized over whether I should just give up the whole shellacking thing and just polyurethane them like everyone suggested. Shayne was supportive of whatever I decided, so long as I would be happy with the results. Everyone else said that the shellac was a bad idea and poly was the way to go, except for my best friend Diana. In the end, I followed my gut and my ideals instead of following the crowd, and I'm so glad I did. The poly-ed floors upstairs just don't have the warmth and natural look that the shellacked floor does.