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  • Shellac

    SLRA is driving me crazy and today it is a short ride. He wants to know who uses shellac, what kind do you use, where is it from. He wants to use super blonde, refined shellac flakes. He used to use it many years ago and wants to go back to using it. Heard India isn’t that great. Germany? What kind do you use. Likes, dislikes. Like I said, a short ride.
    Betty

    "Congress needs to realize it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not of the people, by the people and for Congress." - Dr. Benjamin Carson, Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Johns Hopkins Hospital

  • #2
    I use a fair amount of shellac, but most of it is pre-mixed Zinsser brand that I get at Lowes/HD.

    I have used some flakes that I got years ago from Rockler. I have no idea what the country of origin was.

    On other woodworking forums, this website is the one most commonly referred to when shellac sources are discussed;

    https://www.shellac.net/dewaxed_shellac.html
    Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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    • #3
      Thanks Bill. I’ll have him check that out. He doesn’t use that much and seems to waste the Zinsser as it goes bad after awhile. He has started making boxes and wants to use shellac.
      Betty

      "Congress needs to realize it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not of the people, by the people and for Congress." - Dr. Benjamin Carson, Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Johns Hopkins Hospital

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      • #4
        I use shellac for many ornaments. I likewise use the premixed Zinsser. It does come in different shades. I cut it 50/50 with DNA. The beauty is I can dip and less than 30 minutes later tie on a ribbon and be done.
        Scott
        Creator of fine designer sawdust.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the tip on dipping Scott. I may have to try that.
          Betty

          "Congress needs to realize it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not of the people, by the people and for Congress." - Dr. Benjamin Carson, Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Johns Hopkins Hospital

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          • #6
            I use Minwax spray shellac. It's a little pricey and not a perfect solution but it goes on easy, dries quick and won't go bad.

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            • #7
              How does shellac go bad? If the alcohol evaporates you add more alcohol and stir it. You could dig the solid mass out of the can and break it into flakes if you want to dissolve it faster.
              Tim

              If you need a tool and don't buy it, you will pay for it and not have it

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              • #8
                Originally posted by evilbadger View Post
                How does shellac go bad? If the alcohol evaporates you add more alcohol and stir it. You could dig the solid mass out of the can and break it into flakes if you want to dissolve it faster.
                Pre-mixed shellac does have a finite shelf life. Manufacturer says 3 years, but figuring out what the manufactured date is requires a secret decoder ring or something, so it can be hard to tell just how old the shellac is. Shellac that has "gone bad" won't dry properly. Adding more DNA might help. I've never had any that have exhibited any problems and I'm fairly certain I've used shellac that is over 3 years old.

                One problem that is common with the Zinsser pre-mix is that the cans tend to leak after a while. DAMHIKT
                Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bill Wilson View Post

                  Pre-mixed shellac does have a finite shelf life. Manufacturer says 3 years, but figuring out what the manufactured date is requires a secret decoder ring or something, so it can be hard to tell just how old the shellac is. Shellac that has "gone bad" won't dry properly. Adding more DNA might help. I've never had any that have exhibited any problems and I'm fairly certain I've used shellac that is over 3 years old.

                  One problem that is common with the Zinsser pre-mix is that the cans tend to leak after a while. DAMHIKT
                  I currently have one that has glued itself to my shelf.
                  Rolf
                  RBI G4 26 Hawk, EX 16 with Pegas clamps, Nova 1624 DVR XP
                  Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
                  Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
                  And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association

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                  • #10
                    Mixing your own shellac is really quick and easy, and you can make just the pound cut you need.

                    I started doing that with grain alcohol years ago when I needed a confectioner’s glaze for my cake decorations that was lighter in color than the commercial product. Had to go out of state to get it.

                    When I needed the shellac for woodworking, I still had plenty of super blonde flakes left.
                    Carole

                    Follow me on my blog: www.scrollsawbowls.blogspot.com

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                    • #11
                      To understand SLRA, when he sees something he likes another crafter has made he runs his hand lightly across it. Any imperfection he will notice, whether dust, clumps of finish, etc.
                      According to Bruce, he has shellac that has hardened, he added DNA and there were tiny clumps that did not dissolve making it unusable. His question is if you dilute the canned mixture what’s it doing to the protection it provides for boxes, etc. He uses it on his pepper grinders but he burns the first coat in (whatever that means) then follows up with 5 coats of varnish with a top coat of renaissance wax. He has a little shellac left of what he diluted to do a few more grinders. He’s trying to cut the drying time down from 6 days. That’s why he wants to make his own and just use a few coats of shellac with a top coat of renaissance wax, I think. Rolf he has pried a few cans off the shelf. I did refer him to the site Bill gave me but not sure if he checked it or not. Carole, grain alcohol. Isn’t that what moonshiners use?🥃🥃🥃
                      Like I said, a short ride that just got shorter.

                      Betty

                      "Congress needs to realize it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not of the people, by the people and for Congress." - Dr. Benjamin Carson, Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Johns Hopkins Hospital

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                      • #12
                        If using shellac flakes, you may still get some bits of undissolved material in your mix. It takes a while for the flakes to dissolve in the DNA and it's even possible that there are other bits of organic matter in the flakes. Shellac flakes are secretions of the Lac bug and when harvested often contain leaves, twigs, etc. The manufacturer of the flakes will filter most of that foreign material out, but some can still be present in the flakes that you buy. I use a small, electric coffee grinder to grind the flakes into a fine powder. They will dissolve faster that way, but still not instantly.

                        Always pour the mixed shellac into another container, through a paint strainer, to filter out any solids.

                        You can mix shellac to different "cuts" using varying amounts of alcohol, so adding more to a mix won't hurt anything. If you are concerned about diluting the amount of solids in the shellac too much, apply another coat or two, similar to how you would apply wiping varnish vs full strength varnish. The key difference is that shellac doesn't build up in layers like polyurethane. Each coat melts into the previous one, when applied, forming a single layer. Generally you do not want a thick layer of shellac. It's a very hard finish and if applied too thick, crazing can develop, over time.
                        Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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                        • #13
                          The great shellac debate is over! He is getting a can of unwaxed Zinner. He will cut that with DNA and store in a small co trainer. He puts on three coats and uses steel wool between each coat. I told you this was a short ride to crazy. He overthinks EVERYTHING. Thanks for your help. Onto the next overthink project.
                          Betty

                          "Congress needs to realize it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not of the people, by the people and for Congress." - Dr. Benjamin Carson, Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Johns Hopkins Hospital

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                          • #14
                            And you thought the great shellac debate was over. UNTIL he watched a Utube by PSI. Now he’s thinking amber as they showed how it brought out the color on walnut. And they gave a formula for the flakes to make a small amount. When he finishes his latest project, I’ll post what brought on this whole debate. Stay tuned for more episodes. (I can’t believe we are total opposites and managed to stay married for 50 years. It’s been an interesting ride.)
                            Betty

                            "Congress needs to realize it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not of the people, by the people and for Congress." - Dr. Benjamin Carson, Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Johns Hopkins Hospital

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                            • #15
                              Correction! The Utube was by Lee Valley and the shellac was crimson(?). Perhaps I should listen closer. And the beat goes on.
                              Betty

                              "Congress needs to realize it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not of the people, by the people and for Congress." - Dr. Benjamin Carson, Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Johns Hopkins Hospital

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