Q: What’s a more durable wood finish, shellac or varnish?
A: All wood finishes fall into one of two categories: evaporative or reactive. Evaporative finishes such as lacquer or shellac dry as the solvent dissolves. These finishes can then be stripped away by reapplying the solvent. Reactive finishes (such as linseed oil and varnish) bond with the woodgrain through a chemical reaction, which typically makes them more durable.