Good morning! Please allow this email to answer some questions you raised regarding how we removed shellac from our 1895 Bowling Alley Bead board.
After doing a test sample with denatured alcohol we determined that we did in fact have shellac - as the denatured alcohol softened the finish. Then it really was a matter of soaking a cotton rag with alcohol (in a well ventilated area) and slowly removing the shellac with fine steel wool. Here is a link to some step by step instructions
Once the shellac was removed we made a custom mix of Old Masters Gel (Gel and rubbing stain) stain to match our colors and rubbed that on the beadboard to give it a uniform appearance where things had bleached out over time. Some areas were darker or lighter than others so we found that we needed a few custom mixes depending on the elevation we were working on. We finally sealed it with the Old Masters Satin polyurethane. We did this as we wanted a longer lasting more durable finish based on modern use. See link to the Old Masters Gel stain line.
Wishing you the best of luck with your project. We were incredibly fortunate to have 5 interns for 10 weeks who provided the skilled labor needed to make this happen. If I can be of further help, please feel free to reach out again.
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