Zinnser shellac

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #313746
    Ed
    Participant

    I gave up on Zinnser’s canned shellacs a few years ago after a few attempts to use them. It didn’t adhere well. So, I switched to mixing my own shellac.

    Off and on, I’ve tried their spray cans of clear shellac. I just tried using the spray shellac again on one of Paul’s little “curved in both direction” planes thinking it would be quick and easy. What a mess. It didn’t atomize well and left a heavily pebbled surface. I’ve played with different distances for spraying and played with making the application lighter and heavier, but it just won’t lay out. This has been true of all of the 4 or so cans I’ve every played with.

    So, I’m wondering: Has anyone had a positive experience with ANY Zinnser shellac products? I might have had one good outcome with their Sealcoat, but that’s not a top coat. I’ve also used their BIN primer in a couple of extreme house-painting circumstances and had a good outcome. But for getting a finish coat of shellac on wood…..it’s stunk every single time.

    Others?

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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    Replies
  • #313747
    Nick Puiia
    Participant

    @njpuiiajr

    I have been using Zinnser shellac-both clear and orange-for many years with good results. I always start with a “spit coat”, a 5:1 mix of denatured alcohol to shellac. I like it better than the seal coat. This spit coat can also be used between coats of stain to build up the finish and give it depth. There is a good book on finishing and furniture repair called “The Furniture Guys” that has a lot of different finishing methods.

    #313754
    David B
    Participant

    @dbockel2

    I’ve never had a problem with it.

    #314001
    jromano
    Participant

    @jromano

    Never had a problem with it, but does anyone know how long of a shelf life it has?

    #314003
    David Cole
    Participant

    @lonestardave

    I did not give up on Zinzer esp. Sealcote, but I did switch to buying flakes and mixing my own.
    In the short run it seems expensive but over time it has actually been cheaper. And I have really enjoyed the sense of control over the the process that it has given me. You just have to have enough patience to do the mixing at least 24 hours in advance but once you have it mixed, I don’t detect any real problem with shelf life. And because of the self-leveling quality of shellac, I’ve never really felt the need to spray, especially for medium-to-small projects.

    David Cole

    #314013
    Ed
    Participant

    @ed

    Except for Sealcoat and BIN, shelf life for me is zero, but you probably could have guessed that. : – )

    #552846
    joeleonetti
    Participant

    @joeleonetti

    I have used Zinser shellac quite a bit. They have a code on the can that will tell you the mfg date. It is now coded but if you google, you can find how to decode it. I try and get the stuff that is made most recently (usually within last 6 months). I won’t keep it any longer than a year as I worry about degradation. It has served me well. As best I can tell, the Zinnser is about a 3 to 4 pound cut. As such, I dilute it with an equal part of ethanol.

    Lately, I’ve been making my own. It’s not hard to do at all. I make enough to last me about 3 months.

    #555667
    ehisey
    Participant

    @ehisey

    As has been said already, Zinser needs to be cut. I was not having the best results with it in the beginning but discovered that cutting it at a ratio of one to one makes it super workable. If you are doing a quicky project it might work to just cut it 2 to 1 instead of 1 to 1.

    To correct one idea, the Sealcoat is a topcoat product also as it is just a basic shellac. The Sealcoat name is marketing things. That is one of the my personal favorite things about shellac, under coat top coat, middle coat, it just works at all levels.

    Tuscloosa, Alabama
    Lung T'an Hu Huesh Kung-fu Woodshop

    #555668
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @lorenzojose

    To correct one idea, the Sealcoat is a topcoat product also as it is just a basic shellac. The Sealcoat name is marketing things. That is one of the my personal favorite things about shellac, under coat top coat, middle coat, it just works at all levels.

    Sealcote is DEWAXED shellac. It’s not just the same product with a different label.

    Regular shellac has wax in it, which prevents some finishes from adhering well when applied over it.

    If the only finish you are using is shellac, then it doesn’t make much difference which you use. All types of shellac stick to all types. A traditional varnish like spar varnish also does well with both types as an overcoat.

    The old saw that “shellac sticks to anything and anything sticks to shellac” is not true with polyurethane varnish or lacquers over regular shellac I don’t use catalised resin finishes, but I don’t think regular shellac works well with that, either.

    For these products, it is best to used a dewaxed product like sealcote.

    Here is a Fine Woodworking Magazine article on the difference.

    https://www.finewoodworking.com/2014/10/01/seal-your-project-with-dewaxed-shellac

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