Mixing up some shellac

I'm testing a few different finishes for a new cherry project I'm working on and one involves shellac. This is my first adventure in shellac and I'm not sure what's going on in the mixing. I'm using blonde dewaxed shellac flakes from Hock, which I just mixed with 8 oz of the denatured alcohol they provide to make a 2lb. cut. I've read that it's best to crush the shellac flakes to speed the process, so I had an old coffee grinder in the garage that was unused and used that. I thought I was on the cutting edge of shellac flake grinding until I was doing a ng archive search today on this problem and came upon a post from Paddy describing the same thing. In any case, it's been mixed for about 12 hours and right now I have a lightly colored alcohol solution with about 3/8" of goo in the bottom. I've read the suggestions to immerse in hot water, which I haven't tried yet. Am I being too impatient? I expected the whole thing to dissolve by now, even without the addition of heat.
todd
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That's the natureof the stuff. This weekend I mixed up a 1 1b batch( 4 oz make to 1 qt with Becktol). As we speak, there are still a few chunks in the bottom of the jar. I set it in the sun to warm it up and shook it every 3-4 hours or so. Anyhows, after a few more days of shaking it I would go ahead and filter it then use it.
Larry
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Lawrence L'Hote
Columbia, MO
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I usually mix it all up and set it in the sun as well. Then every half hour or so, give a good shake to try to loosen anything that has coagulated at the bottom. I can typically get a full dissolve of the stuff in a few hours. If it gets really bad, you may need to take a small piece of scrap wood or dowel to it to loosen the mass at the bottom. HTH, cc
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I have been using shellac myself for the last 10 projects, great stuff. I grind the flakes to dust in my coffee grinder, then add to alcohol, shake it up good, and it dissolves in an hour or less sitting in the sun. So the only thing I can think of is you need to warm it up some, and maybe grind it a bit finer next time, and shake it more often. I shake the solution every 10 minutes or so, while it is dissolving. I have never had to wait more than an hour before the shellac was completely dissolved.
Kruppt
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I think I probably need to a) warm it up and b)shake it more often. After grinding in the coffee grinder, it was a dust consistency. Only way to get the particles any smaller would be to take them over to Fermilab. I've transferred the whole mess into a quart Mason jar and it's sitting in hot water.
todd
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todd wrote:

Keep shaking the jar. Once it settled into a glob at the bottom of the jar it will take a while but eventually will dissolve.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA
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I found a simple and effective method. Put the flakes in a jar. Add the alcohol. Replace the jar lid.
Next, take the jar to your wife. Say "Honey, this is the shellac I'm going to use on your new (fill in blank) so if you just shake it once in a while I'd appreciate it." Takes about for to five chapters of whatever book she is reading at the time. Ed
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Obviously, you don't have a 4-month old and 2-year old at home if your wife is reading books ;-). A better alternative for me would be to give it to the 2-year old and say, "now, be very careful with this and don't shake it". It seemed to work for her chocolate milk yesterday.
todd
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As a father in a very similar situation - your post made me laugh. Out loud. At work. Thanks! :)
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What I usually do is wrap the flakes inside an old (clean) t-shirt and then break them up by pounding with a deadblow mallet. (Hey, it's therapeutic! :-)
Then I pour alcohol into the container and add the flakes to it. In the meantime I run some hot water into a bucket (just enough to cover the jar to the level of the shellac). Then I put the jar in the bucket, stir, cover and place in the sun.
I stir it every time I think of it (maybe every 15-30 minutes for a couple of hours), and replace the water a couple of times as it cools. If I'm not in a hurry, I'll let it sit overnight.
Disclaimers: I recommend just using hot tap water. (Don't use boiling water, etc., as heat sources and alcohol don't mix.) You might want to tighten the lid on the jar completely and then back it off a bit, to release any pressure that may build up. Be careful not to get water into your jar, either from the bucket, or from letting your stir-stick come in contact with the water before or after stirring. If you prefer to shake the jar, you may want to put some plastic wrap over the threads of your jar mouth before tightening the lid. This will keep things from getting stuck. (I prefer to stir, and use a jar with a plastic lid, and have never had any problems with the lid sticking, but YMMV.)
Chuck Vance Just say (tmPL) I stole most of what I know about shellac from Paully Rad (who's probably looking on and smiling about now) and Paddy O'Deen.
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todd wrote:

I just shake the bottle every day or so...it's usually ready-to-go in a few days. If I was in a hurry, I might shake it more often. I don't grind the flakes...just dump them in.
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