Welcome! Forums General Woodworking Discussions Finishing Different shades of shellac

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    Colin Scowen

    I was in my local finish / paint store today, and I asked the proprietor if he had any shellac. He showed me some orange shellac, it was in a block about the size of a liter carton of milk (2″ by 3″ by 5″ approx). Now, according to him this was a very expensive type, and if I wanted the cheaper blonde, or the ready mixed, I would probably have to drive to Germany to find it. Unfortunately, I didn’t see how much this particular package weighed.
    So, I have a couple of questions.
    Would you consider a bag of flakes that size for 26 quid to be expensive?
    Assuming I dissolved the whole lot, how much meths would I need (roughly speaking, and in liters please, Czechs don’t use imperial measurements)?
    I will still try to find some other sources, but as this is the first time I’ve thought of using shellac, I thought I’d get the dumb questions out of the way.

    David Perrott

    I know nothing of buying shellac in Europe or the cost. I would not buy a large amount of one type of shellac flakes starting out. I’m not a big fan of orange shellac. I’ve tried, blonde, garnet, seedlac, stick lac as well as orange shellac. I will use a different shellac based on the wood, and style of finish I’m going for. I buy small amounts from Kremmer Pigements since they have a store here in NYC. They are based in Germany https://www.kremer-pigmente.com

    Colin Scowen

    Thanks, that’s a useful link for me, they have 5 distributors in Czech, and a shop in Dresden.


    I have used blond, amber and garnet. I do a lot of my work in cherry. Sometimes walnut with maple as a contrast. Generally speaking, I really like the color I get on cherry with garnet shellac. So does my wife. As such, I tend to use more garnet shellac at this point than the others. In reality, what I have found is that I need to look at a piece 6 months to a year after I have finished it. In that timeframe, the wood has further undergone its natural shading so that I get a better idea of how the shellac and wood combo color looks. Again, I like garnet shellac but amber is quite nice as well.


    Lots of good thoughts above. As stated, dewaxed shellac is needed to adhere to other finishes. If using shellac followed by wax as a finish, don’t need the dewaxed. Moisture transfer from the air is slightly slower with waxed as opposed to dewaxed shellac. Neither is significantly better at resisting spilled/standing water though. A good resource for shellac info is donsbarn.com. Don Williams was chief furniture conservator at the Smithsonian in the US, and has a deep and abiding interest in shellac. On his website you can look at “writings” and access the “Shellac archive”

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