Feeling Frustrated


Remember the project I said I was working on yesterday….. it’s been a problem from the get go

bar cabinet


It’s that red mahogany (I think it’s a record cabinet) from the 1940’s era that is sealed with a lacquer finish. After all these years the finish is crazed and cracked and so the red stain is no longer isolated and sealed in. Usually a coat of shellac will seal it and allow you to proceed with painting.



Not today. After 3 coats of shellac and 2 coats of primer, the red stain is still leaking into my paint. See that ugly pink stain? I don’t know why its being  so stubborn. But until I find a way to stop what’s called the bleed through, I can’t get started with the real painting. You know those days where you work all day and accomplish nothing?.  This is one of them.

The good news is the next set of videos is back from the editors and I’ll be posting those either tonight or tomorrow.


maria bethard

oh yes, i know those days…i had one the other day. i poured a glass of wine and said to myself, ‘ it’s time to quit while i’m behind.’ 🙂


Leslie, I’ve worked with this before and had the exact problem. I even made the HUGE error of stripping that crappy 10 layers of lacquer off before I began to paint because I had grandiose plans to strip and refinish. Hah! I used 3 coats of chalk paint, then 3 coats of water based primer – then it was read for paint. My point is – was your primer water based or oil based?


So far, I’ve not encountered that problem, but I was warned that it would happen with dark woods, especially older vintage pieces. I was told–at an official Annie Sloan Workshop–that a coat of Zinsser’s will correct the problem every time. In fact, we were advised to go ahead and buy a can of Zinsser’s to have on hand specifically for this issue. Have you tried that particular product?


Well, you can only hope that this leads to some epiphany you wouldn’t have otherwise have! Good luck.:)

Dana Geraghty

Leslie…..I feel your pain. I am also in the midst of doing a project that has the same issue. And just got done doing one, BUT instead of Shellacing first I painted 3 coats realized it wasn’t going to cover so then 3 coats of Shellac and then 3 more coats of paint 🙁 that did the trick :). Good luck and keep up the amazing work!

Holly phillips

I can’t wait to find out how you tackled this problem. It only happened once to me and all I did was keep painting and painting and painting. Ugg.


Hi Leslie: When I paint a piece from the 1930’s-40’s with a light color, I do one coat and let it dry overnight. I check for bleed through the next day and apply two – three coats of shellac if needed. I then do the second coat and let that sit overnight just to make sure there is no more bleed through. The stains from that era were not colorfast . Also, some oak will bleed through because the tannins are released from the grains in the wood, and I use the same process if I am forced to paint oak.


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