20 April 2017 at 7:24 pm #311333
I want to start using my own shellac flakes rather than buying the premixed can stuff. Any advice on what brand seems to be good quality? Thanks everyone.
Kevin21 April 2017 at 12:01 am #311340
I have only used one kind of flakes — http://www.shellacfinishes.com/product/dewaxed-shellac-flakes/
I bought from him because he is here in San Diego, but I haven’t found a reason to go elsewhere. He’s from India, and his source in India is a family member, so he gets really fresh stuff.
I’ve also been using his anhydrous alcohol, and the results have been great. Zero grain raising. I did one french polishing project following his instructions and the results were good, too.21 April 2017 at 5:46 am #311345
If you’re going to the expense and trouble of
” rolling your own”
be sure to use the anhydrous alcohol.The stuff in the hardware stores has about 5 percent water- too much.
Some use 200 proof straight grain alcohol from the liquor store. That way you can save on shipping and drink the leftovers if you’re so inclined.
SW Pennsylvania21 April 2017 at 6:50 am #311346
If you think there is too much water in your alcohol, and can’t get any anhydrous ( there really isn’t anything like real anhydrous, since it will suck moisture from the air when you open the container) There are two relatively easy ways to take the water out of alcohol. The first is freezing it for a few days – the colder the better. The water will form as ice on top and the alcohol will stay liquid. Just skim the ice off.
This time tested method is called Jacking, and is where the term Apple Jack comes from. There…I told you how to make fortified cider. 😉
The second is by salting the alcohol, called azeotropic distillation. Fill a container with a lid about 1/4 full of non-iodized salt. Fill to the 3/4 mark and shake, then let the salt settle out for a half hour or more.
Without disturbing anything, siphon off the top, which will be dehydrated alcohol. Lower down, it won’t be as dry, and lower yet, it might be contaminated.
Neither method does anything for removing the denaturing agents that make the alcohol poisonous.21 April 2017 at 10:02 am #311350
Chemistry fail.Neither method will produce anhydrous ethanol or dry it below hardware store stuff.
Ask your Chemistry teacher.
SW Pennsylvania24 April 2017 at 5:55 pm #311380
Thanks for the input everyone. Now I know what shellac to buy but I’m more confused about how to mix it. Haha.
Kevin.1 May 2017 at 11:35 pm #311592
Go to shellac.net. Great products and great information about how to mix. They sell a good grade of alcohol too. Everclear is 190 proof (95% pure ethanol and 5% water) it does a great job without other additives like methanol. But if you do a little research you can find good grade of alcohol. Paul Sellers has some recommendations if you search his blog.
Douglas26 October 2018 at 11:31 pm #552848
I’ve purchased a brand at WoodCraft called TigerFlakes (I think) and I have been happy with.
I also happen to be a Ph.D. chemist. I’ve used several different kinds of alcohol to dissolve from the stuff at the big box store to special bottles. They have all worked just fine. I haven’t found it necessary to go to extreme lengths. I would close the bottle when done (but not be paranoid about it).
Here’s another way to think about it. Do you think our forefathers who were using this stuff regularly as a finish, went to extreme lengths get stuff that was as close to 200 proof as possible? I doubt it.18 November 2018 at 6:39 pm #553316
Don’t fuss too much about the grade of ethanol. I use 90% and it works great. I do use food-grade ethanol because I don’t like the smell of the additives e.g. ether. I wouldn’t go to 70% though, because that might add to your drying time, and that’s what I like so much about shellac: adding multiple coats in one day.18 November 2018 at 8:25 pm #553319
I used to get flakes directly from India. For a few years now its dewaxed shellac from Lee Valley for me — I think they get it from an Indian supplier. They also have a special “refined in Germany” version that is 3 times pricier — never tried.
As for solvent, hard to get hold of pure ethanol which requires special license to distribute and is heavily taxed as “booze” without an end user license. I know of the paperwork we go though to get it at work for research purposes. Denatured alcohol (methylated and hence toxic) is the usual option for woodworkers, but not that easy to find either. And I can never understand why make something like ethanol toxic with additives because of some trade rules. These days my preference is IPA (isopropanol 99%) sold as rubbing alcohol in pharmacy stores. Get the 99% version, not the 70% one. In some places its easier to get rubbing alcohol containing 95% denatured alcohol which will work too. IPA dissolves shellac, but takes a bit longer than with ethanol (pure or denatured). I leave it overnight with occasional shaking in between.
95% food grade ethanol (like 190 proof everclear or similar rectified spirits) may also work well if available but should be much pricier than IPA or denatured ethanol because of taxes on drinking alcohol.
The biggest advantage of using flakes and mix as needed is the long shelf life of flakes.
29 November 2018 at 9:08 pm #553646
- This reply was modified 11 months, 4 weeks ago by Selva.
Once I finish up the denatured ethanol I have, I am also going to be using food grade 90%+ ethanol. I don’t like the smell or health aspects of some of the denaturing products either. I’m not in fear of them. Would simply prefer to avoid them. As for cost, I likely use at most a quart of shellac a year (certainly not more than a half gallon). There isn’t a large enough cost to worry me.29 November 2018 at 9:32 pm #553649
If only I could get hold of 190 or even 180 proof (90%) drinking alcohol where I’m. Our province-controlled liquor distributor used to have one restricted product line of 95% alcohol but getting a gun looked easier than getting a permit for it. And, it looks no longer available. Anyone knows how to get everclear or something similar (90% or purer food grade ethanol) in Toronto?
- This reply was modified 11 months, 2 weeks ago by Selva.
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