Vlog #105: Shellac finish & studio camera stand

Vodeo Notes:

  • I finished up my gift boxes. Much better than gift shopping in a store :)
  • Never used shellac before? Give it a try. You’ll probably like it. Apply a bunch of thin coats with a balled up rag inside another rag. Sand with 220 grit before the last coat.
  • This week I’m going to make a studio camera stand. Have you seen Jeremy Schmidt’s version? Check it out here.
  • Have a great week folks.


  1. Nice work Jay, I would gift them quickly or else a bum might purloin them and use as storage containers for small things like loose change, cigarette butts, bottle caps and buttons.

  2. What I have found out about real nice finish is that is comes from sanding between coats.
    This is the way I finish projects from small things like your boxes to large things like 14 ft Mahogany
    wood runabout boat. First apply your finish color if using one , then go over with a scotch bright pad Gray color. Then clean off with air and tach rag. Start putting on your finish of choice ,sanding between all coats. When a good build up has been applied 4 coats min, you will want to flat sand that coat. What that means is to sand with 320 grit, hold up to a light to make sure that and look for low spots, They will still be shiny, you want to sand them out. Then apply your final coat.

  3. Loved watching your box videos (been getting ideas to build my wife a jewelry box for Valentines) they turned out amazing, and really liked the tip of using the shooting board (going to try and make one this weekend). Question on the finish, did you only dilute the thinner three coats of shellac and lay down the first two thicker coats straight from the can (before sanding with 220) or were all of the coats diluted 50/50 with denatured alcohol?

  4. I noticed the camera stand arm sliding down when turning. How about a separate, locking height ring under the bracket?

  5. Hey Jay,
    Not sure why I couldn’t post this on your youtube video to the comments section but figured it was worth mentioning here. It might be a little expensive if you couldn’t find one used or in a junk pile but when you started talking about a solid base I automatically started thinking about the low profile movable bases they use for volleyball nets in schools. One of the brands I saw with a search is Blazer Athletic Portable Heavy Duty Standard Base just in case you’re not sure what I’m talking about.

  6. Shellac is a great finish. Since it’s your first go with it, you should know, if you don’t already, that the Zinsser shellac contains wax. That’s ok if you are just using it as your finish, but not if you are using as a seal coat for another finish, such as varnish. The wax can cause final finish not to adhere well to the shellac coating. Instead, I recommend using Zinsser Seal Cote, which is a 2# cut of very blonde, de-waxed shellac. Unfortunately, the big box stores don’t seem to carry Seal Cote anymore. You may find it at your local hardware or paint store. You can also get it at your woodworking stores such as Woodcraft. If you mix your own from flakes, be sure to buy de-waxed flakes. Also, be aware that premixed shellac has a shelf life even when it’s not opened. If in doubt, try a test with it to make sure it hardens. If you can’t sand it after a little while, it’s gone bad. Zinsser puts a code on their cans that indicates when it was made. If the can of shellac is more than two years after that date, I would test it before using. Open shellac cans will have even a shorter shelf life. That’s one of the benefits for making shellac from flakes as you know it is fresh.

  7. Hi Jay, Find some ‘Kee-Clamps’ or Speed-rail clamps’ to use as your monopod unions. They make one that is adjustable you can use as your pivot points. Either ask the fence company where you found your post at or I believe you can buy them on-line. Semi-commonly used in the fence and rail industry. Kinda pricy but bullet-proof too. Enjoy!
    Larry Mann

  8. Hi Jay,

    For your camera stand, if you leave some extra pipe on the boom arm, you can balance it with a weight. Then you don’t have to put much pressure on the screw that locks the angle on the boom. Once it’s balanced when the arm is level, it will hold at any angle.

  9. I had nasal reconstruction for a deviated septum in 2013. One of the worst decisions I’ve made. I’ve had nothing but sinus trouble since. It doesn’t drain properly now, so I have to deal with my right ear always plugging up and popping a lot. The other big issue is I almost always have no sense of smell, so I can’t taste either. Not trying to scare you but I’d advise you to research this procedure thoroughly before having it. Take care.

  10. Jay, the one thing I was thinking of when you were talking about your monitor, was if you raise it to high, and look at it all the time, you might be “looking over” the camera and not at the camera. I don’t know if this would be disturbing to the viewers or not. It does sound like a great idea though.

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