Shellac preparation


Hello all. I have been using shellac for a while now and the most tricky part of shellac for me is its preparation. I used to mix the total amount of shellac flakes and denatured alcohol togheder and wait for the mix to be ready and this seldom happened, sometimes I got a transparent solution and sometimes I got a suspension with the flakes floating in alcohol and I knew of no way to make it transparent from there. Using filter paper from chemystry supplyes did not yeld a clear transparent liquid, filtering is slow due the shellac clogging the filter paper pores so I dropped that. I dont know how to precipitate it. After using some shellac in this condition the restant part, mostly shellac flakes, dried after a good while and formed a sticky goo in the flask.
Later I came up with this method: Cover the flakes with denatured alcohol, but using a part of alcohol in the cut(just to cover the flakes in alcohol), and wait for a day of so Then I pour the rest of the alcohol carefully to the dissolving flakes. I used a syringe with a needle to do so and I sprayed the alcohol on the flasks walls so by the time the alcohol touched the solution it would not stirr and just deposit itself of the top, making a visible layer of clear alcohol on top of the already dissolving flakes. After using the rest of alcohol I let it sit overnight to let it to get in a homogeneous transparent solution.
With this method I could get a very transparent shellac cut. I used a syringe to remove the top layer of shellac, leaving the dissolved flakes undisturbed. Sometimes I poured more alcohol with the syringe and I guess the flakes keep releasing more shellac. After I gathered all the transparent liquid, I just leave the flask with the dissolved flakes on the shelf and after a month of so the alcohol evapored leaving a brown cake on the bottom, the texture of the cake is gum like, easyly removable from the flask and like a soft gum to the touch but not sticky.
So this is it. I browsed the web for a method to prepare shellac cut and the actual preparation was often omited, going straight to the application part.
I wonder if this method of preparation is allright? How do you prepare your shellac?
Konstantin.
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I make a 1# cut by putting an ounce in 8 of alcohol, but I shake it every time I think of it until it's dissolved. If I want to go up a cut, I then add another ounce to the solution, shaking when I get a chance.
If you do not have dewaxed shellac, I find it convenient to decant before adding to go up a cut.
Doesn't take much of a scale to weigh an ounce. Wife's diet scale is ok. Much more consistent than big flakes versus medium versus powder, and matching with fluid.
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My son has been doing a lot of shellac lately. On his last batch, he put the flakes in a zip lock bag and beat them up using the side of a meat tenderizing mallet. Then he mixed with shellac and stirred, etc. for 24 hours. He strains through cheesecloth.
Bob
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On 15 Apr 2005 14:01:32 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Slowly. It's not a quick process.
I blast mine through a coffee grinder, then add repeated small quantities of powdered shellac to the alcohol over a period of several days. I never have a "glob", because it's easier to avoid it forming than it is to get rid of it afterwards.
All shellac should dissolve, so there's no point in filtering it. Anything solid is something that ought to have been dissolved, not something solid that needs to be removed.
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I weigh the flakes, add the appropriate amount of ethanol, then agitate the mix over a period of a couple of days till it's dissolved.
If there's sediment at the bottom of the jar, I decant it.
It's not rocket science.
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I have been having good results by skipping the preparation all together and using Bull's Eye premixed shellac from home depot. It comes in either clear or honey, and they also sell a spray version (which I don't use). The shellac is thin enough that it can be applied straight out of the can, yet it can be thinned with denatured alcohol for a softer finish. I just finished an end table project where the table top is a 2" thick endgrain slice of some unidentified relatively durable softwood. The top is finished with between 6 and 8 coats of this shellac (I lost count around 5 coats). So far it has worked beautifully.
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Zinsser's premixed shellac is waxy while their spray and Seal Coat are deaxed.
wrote:

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I just put the mix in a mason jar, shake it vigorously for a few minutes then lit it sit for a day or so. If I'm in hurry I'll shake it every few minutes and it's ready to go in an hour. If there's sediment I'll just strain it through a coffee filter.
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