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ANTIQUE FURNITURE RESTORATION DISCUSSION BOARD

Short & funny anecdote about shellac salesmen!

Posted By: lee <flsimons@shaw.ca> (h24-81-123-38.ok.shawcable.net)
Date: 6/6/2 19:49

This was funny. After reading Jim's advice and arming myself with information about the uses of shellac etc, how to buy it, how to apply it, how to "know" what you're doing, I trotted off to all the local places where one might expect to find such "manly" things (I already knew that I probably wouldn't find the flakes anywhere locally, but I wanted to scope things out anyway).

Now, I am female, this is true. However I've never subscribed to the belief that you have to be male or female to DO certain things. If it can be learned, I can learn it. End of story. Well, not quite. In one place today, one of the men there finally thought I might be a serious customer and asked me if I needed help. First, I asked about denatured alcohol, and I asked if (are ya laughing yet?) he had any fresh Zinnser as the stuff on the shelf was about a year and a half old. I knew he was holding back--he wanted to tell me that the produce market was just up the street.

Instead, he says, "Now, what are you up to little lady? Where are we going with this shellac?" I gave him a boiled down version of the story. I said I'd take the 3 lb cut, but that I wanted to take it down, 2 to 1, with the denatured alcohol to make my pre-stain and that I would follow that pre-stain with a stain, and several coats of heavier shellac on top of that. He says, "Ohhhh, nooooo, no, nuh uh. Ya can't be doing that." He painstakenly explains to me that wood has to be stained and THEN you can put on shellac as a final thing--seal 'er up with it--can't be putting stuff on toppa shellac. Oh no. Won't stick to it. That's not how ya do it.

So, I explain that he's quite wrong and that the pre-stain will keep my pine from taking the stain in blotches etc etc. And that real woodworkers who actually know about this stuff....well, you get the picture. This man wanted to pat me on the head and send me on my way. Told me that I should just paint the thing, etc. He kept shaking his head at the mere thought of my stupidity. That is, until some other guy standing there--another customer--says that he's used the technique on cherrywood with very pleasing results. He explains exactly what I'd tried to tell this salesman. Even went so far as to say that a person is better with the flakes as there is a shelf life to the manufactured product. I coulda jumped on him with sheer joy! THe salesman was POd and wouldn't even bid me a good day, or good project. Ass.

Moral of the story: if you're a novice, get your info from a good source and stand your ground when the customer service man, the hardware-building supplies-expert in your area tells you that you have rocks in your head!

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