Ken are you talking about the flakes or made up shellac .
I buy ready made stuff but once I pour out of container I put in a jam jar that I can seal with lid as sometimes I thin it out a little. So I do not contaminate the original container. I’m not sure of shelf life though maybe six month to a year. ?
Dagenham, Essex, England
Ken, once you mix up a batch, it’s good for several months at least. You may find that some of the alcohol has evaporated though, so the strength may have increased.
As for the flakes, sometimes when they get old they don’t dissolve properly. It could be because they were stored badly or due to oxidization- I don’t know. I had to throw out the end of my 4 year-old bag as it was turning into a jelly without fully dissolving. Now I only buy small amounts.
Not sure if this will help, but here is my procedure.
I’ve only ever used the ready mixed shellac. I try to only pour out what I need for the job at hand. I do use a small jar with an airtight lid. Its a wide mouth canning jar 1 pint here in the states, the kind with a two piece lid. If I don’t use all of the shellac that I poured, I put the lid on and use that bit first on the next project. The first coat is only a sealer coat anyway. So far, so good.
Pretty soon you will be able to eyeball just about the right amount every time anyway.
I try to never dump anything back into the original container though.
Ken, I mix my own and I pour out enough to fully cover whatever brush I am using into a small glass jar. When I am done I pour it right back into the main bottle. This happens to be a plastic soft drink bottle with a tight lid.
Located in Honeoye Falls NY USA. The Finger Lakes region of Western NY.
"If you give me 6 hours to fell a tree, I will take the first 4 to sharpen my axe" Abe Lincoln
Finishing is still a bit of a mystery to me up to now I have only used the Liberon Sanding sealer (Not sure if it is Shellac or just a Shellac substitute als what colour is it?) I usually pour a small amount in the cap of the bottle and pour back any un used into the container.
I will be soon finishing the three redwood ( Pine) clocks I am making and am not sure if I just continue to use the sanding sealer , buy ready mixed Shellac or buy flakes and Methylated spirit and mix my own, Question would also be what colour flakes ?
See link below may contain some answers I have not read it yet
Wigan, Lancs. England :
I prefer to mix my own shellac so that I can control the cut. Store flakes in a tightly sealed freezer ziplock bag in the refrigerator for longest life. Once mixed shellac is usually good for about 6 months if stored in a tightly sealed Mason jar (for canning). I’ve had mixed shellac still be good for about a year. It should be tested on scrap before using though if stored for more than a few months. Simply brush it onto a piece of scrap wood and let it dry. If its not completely dry in 30-60 minutes throw it out. If it is gummy or sticky in the slightest toss it. You have invested too much time in a project by that point to chance ruining it to save a couple of bucks on a finish. I love shellac because it is easy, food safe, natural, low VOC, and versatle. It can be used as a sanding sealer to lock in a stain and/or fill the grain and/or for glazing techniques. It can be equally well used as a top coat finish. I’ve attached 2 a documents for you. One that discusses some of the MANY ways shellac is used and the other a reference I use for various finishing options and methods. BTW, don’t let anyone tell you shellac is not water resistant (its not waterproof, but I have used it successfully in bathrooms and on radiator covers. One of the few things shellac is NOT good for is areas where it will come in contact with alcohol of any kind (alcohol is THE solvent for shellac after all). One of its greatest benefits is that wiping with alcohol will readily dissolve the finish. This is handy in fixing drips during application, restoring shellac finished furniture, or trying to fix rings from drinking glasses. Good luck and I hope this info helps.
Hudson Valley, NY
I’ll try posting the docs again because they were blocked the first time. Also, Fine Woodworking (FWW) Magazine published an article called “Make Shellac Your Go To Finish” in issue no. 234 by Mario Rodriquez who is a great professional woodworker who teaches at the Philadelphia Furniture Workshop in the USA. If you can get that article, I recommend you do so-its a good read. Also, for more information and learning try a website site called shellac.net. I found this helpful. Finally, if you can not find the FWW magazine article just email me. I hesitate to post it here due to copyright infringement concerns, but can share it with you on an individual basis. Any other WWMC member who wants this can email me as well. I’d be happy to help, aid or assist my fellow craftsmen and craftswomen. My email is [email protected]
Hudson Valley, NY
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