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By Andrew1
#1341147
Hi i am looking for some advice on shellac please.
I have a few small pieces that i am wanting to try shellac as the finish. Checking on interweb, and most people seem to mix their own cut. Can anyone recommend a pre mixed shellac for me to try before i look at buying flakes etc
By profchris
#1341153
The best I found was the Liberon Clear.

But home-made is better, and for the same money you can buy 100g of shellac flakes via eBay and a bottles of meths from your local hardware store. Pour maybe 1/4 of your flakes into a jam jar, just cover with meths, lid on, shake, leave overnight.

A little experimenting will tell you what consistency you want (for finishing musical instruments I want it to pour almost as easily as water, but with some obvious body to it.) If it's as thick as thin honey, it's too thick! Thinking about it, similar in consistency to a sweet liqueur like Tia Maria, Drambuie or Cointreau, not as thick as Baileys.
By sunnybob
#1341166
I was totally befuddled by all the "cuts" talked about on line, and wouldnt even try it because of same.
Then Memzey showed me how to do it the easy way.
Same as prof chris said, but I use a bit more meths.
Jam jar with lid.
1/4" of blonde flakes (bought from ebay, keep in a sealed plastic bag)
3/4" of meths.
Shake each time you walk past untill all the flakes are dissolved. If they wont all dissolve, add a touch more meths and shake again.
Job done.
As soon as you have used a dry cloth to wipe your work, put the lid back tight because it will evaporate.
It stays liquid for months like that.
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By ED65
#1341170
Andrew1 wrote:Hi i am looking for some advice on shellac please.
I have a few small pieces that i am wanting to try shellac as the finish. Checking on interweb, and most people seem to mix their own cut. Can anyone recommend a pre mixed shellac for me to try before i look at buying flakes etc

I know it's not what you asked for but I promise you it's worth getting the flakes and making your own. Quite apart from anything if you use it fairly slowly you'll have a stock that will see you through the next few years, at least, but once made into liquid form shellac has a very finite shelf life (just months in some cases) as I'm sure you'll have read by now.

Another advantage is that you can make the shellac at any strength that suits you, or the specific task at hand. And while it's always possible to dilute shellac – whether bought in or homemade – it's harder to make it stronger, which is occasionally desirable. I learned to use shellac with a much stronger 'cut' than is typical and I still prefer it that way for some tasks, but that cut isn't readily available commercially.

Anyway if you want a recommendation for premade the Americans do love them some Zinsser's SealCote which is available over here, and there are lots and lots of user reports to guide you if you want to try it; not inexpensive this side of the pond though. Liberon, Mylands, Chestnut and Fiddes are all highly regarded and readily available so should be a safe enough bet regardless of the colour you choose to go with. Less commonly Smith and Rodger could be worth a gander, here, and prices certainly seem competitive.
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By ED65
#1341171
Cornersruns wrote:Does the purple dye in the meths not affect the final colour? Es pecially if using bleached?

Nope, not an issue. At normal cuts you just don't see it, the faint dye gets swamped by the native colour of the shellac.

If you were using paler grades of shellac and a heavy dilution it might possibly remain visible in the made-up liquid, but at the coat thickness applied to the wood that just vanishes. Plus even if it did remain the dye is not at all lightfast so would soon fade to nothing due to light exposure.

You could avoid this entirely by using isopropyl alcohol if you wanted to, and this has a reliably more pleasant odour (some meths smells rank, deliberately so of course, but it can make it unpleasant to use). In smaller quantities isopropyl alcohol could well end up being noticeably more expensive than meths though.
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By thetyreman
#1341644
Cornersruns wrote:Does the purple dye in the meths not affect the final colour? Es pecially if using bleached?
One who wants to try shellac too :!:


yes it does, that's why I use isopropyl alcohol, if you are serious get some of that as well as meths, make two lots of it and see for yourself, make a 1/2lb or thinner shellac mix and use a light wood like ash, sycamore e.t.c.

I buy the iso in 5 litre containers to make it more cost effective and it will last you years and years, my last batch has lasted me over 4 years and I've used a lot of it in that time.
By profchris
#1341663
Even blonde shellac adds some yellow/gold to light woods. On the other hand, its effects on darker woods can be spectacular.

Here is a ukulele back which I finished using blonde shellac (and purple meths :D ):

Uke back in shellac.jpeg


It's koa and ash, and the ash is clearly yellower. But the koa!

BTW, this was just multiple coats of thin shellac wiped on, maybe 20 at 3 per day so it took over a week to apply the finish. Pore fill first if needed, and just knock off the shine with P1000 abrasive every 3 coats or so. Once all the shellac is on, leave for 7-14 days to harden, wet sand level (I use White Spirit as my lubricant) and then buff up with automotive polish )in my case, T-Cut).
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By thetyreman
#1341737
when you use a hake brush and have way too much on the brush that's when I've noticed the difference, admittedly I was still quite new to it when I last tried so probably had way too much on the brush, it was a sort of dirty brown colour on some light pinewood.

that's a really nice finish profchris
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By mrpercysnodgrass
#1344196
Hi Andrew.
If you are wanting to try shellac as a finish I really wouldn’t bother mixing your own from flakes. There are several manufacturers in this country that make excellent shellac, they all use isopropyl so no problems with a purple tinge! Flakes do not stay fresher either, they also degrade. Both can be kept longer by keeping them in the fridge.
W S Jenkins, Mylands and Liberon all make SPB (special pale button) polish which is a good all round one and will give a lovely finish on most woods.
There are just two types of shellac polish, Button and Garnet and all other shellacs are derived from these. Hence special pale button is made from button shellac. White polish is quite different in that to obtain the transparent quality the natural waxes are removed making it a very brittle finish. I would only use white shellac if polishing over metal or shell inlays or polishing a white wood like sycamore.
Hope this helps.