Im wiping shellac, and the surface is rough; its not taking any shine, even after four coats! Whats wrong?
Nothing. The alcohol will raise the grain, especially in softwoods. This is expected – good even. Knock down the raised grain and little nibs with some 320 grit silicon carbide (available at art supply and automotive finishing supply stores, if your local hardware store doesn’t stock it) sandpaper on a rubber sanding block. Lube with mineral oil to reduce build-up on your sand paper. Wipe off all the mineral oil with a paint-thinner dampened rag, and then keep applying thin cuts of shellac.