What's the Fuss - Shellac

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I'm not sure what the fuss in with shellac, it's not a strong finish and can be destroyed with the splash of good scotch, why not go to varnish which will leave a sturdy finish that might last as long as you?
TIA, Josie
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It looks nice, it is easily repaired if ever needed. Mostly, I like the way it looks and don't need another reason.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Fair enough. How often to you go back and repair?
Josie
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Once that I can think of.
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On Sun, 24 Oct 2004 11:30:22 -0400, firstjois wrote:

Shellac is plenty strong for many applications and I'm not in the habit of dousing everything that I own with hard liquor.
Actually, there are some benefits to using shellac that are attractive to me. One is that the solvent for shellac is simple denatured alcohol. That means that I can use it all I want in my basement shop without fuming the rest of the family out of the house. I also don't have to worry too much about what it's doing to my hands/eyes/lungs.
Another is that I can buy shellac flakes that will keep for a loooong time, while I mix small batches as needed. I'm just a hobbiest and I'd probably end up throwing away alot of unused finish otherwise.
Also, it's easy to repair (so I'm told). And it drys quickly, so multiple coats can be applied rather quickly.
Varnish certainly has its place, but shellac is pretty nice stuff and I'm getting progressively better at applying it.
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Sun, Oct 24, 2004, 10:57am (EDT-1) snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (JoeWells) says: <snip> One is that the solvent for shellac is simple denatured alcohol. That means that I can use it all I want in my basement shop without fuming the rest of the family out of the house. I also don't have to worry too much about what it's doing to my hands/eyes/lungs. <snip>
Not tried it myself - yet, but heard you can use everclear too. I'm thinking I'd rather have that around than denatured alcohol. And, no, I don't drink hard liquor anymore - I'm just trying to get away from some of the more toxic things.
JOAT Eagles can soar ... but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
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On Sun, 24 Oct 2004 12:54:49 -0400, J T wrote:

Well, I couldn't let that just slide by, so I Googled it. I found several sources claiming the same, so it's probably worth a shot. I'd imagine that grain alcohol will be more expensive as it's more heavily taxed, but the trade off is obvious. Hmmm....
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hobby, hobbier...
Joe Wells wrote:

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Have you ever worked with shellac? It's great as a barrier coat, it doesn't have noxious fumes (I can't stand the odor of solvent based polys), it looks great as a top coat, and YES it isn't as durable as varnish, but you don't always need maximum durability for every application.
David
firstjois wrote:

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Haven't worked with shellac for a long time and posts in this newsgroup group made me think I must have been doing something wrong 'cause I don't remember it being that difficult. Probably doing something wrong! I also used it on small projects which might have made it easy to use. I'd forgotten its use as a barrier coat (thanks) and I've always loved the smell - certainly better than some of the varnishes I've tried. And you are right, maximum durability isn't needed for every project, shellac might save time, too.
Thanks!
Josie
David wrote:

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oh, BTW, be sure to use the de-waxed type if you are using it as a barrier coat, so that the topcoats won't have an adhesion problem.
David
firstjois wrote:

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I agree. If you can't hold your scotch then you might not oughtta consider shellac.
UA100
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Unisaw A100 wrote:

LOL I typed in "scotch" because I wasn't sure how to spell "liquor" and "alcohol" is no laughing matter either. The strongest stuff around here is chocolate syrup, but you knew what I meant anyway.
Josie
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On Sun, 24 Oct 2004 18:26:09 -0400, "firstjois"

Hmmmm. Note-to-self: Do NOT attend any parties @ Josie's house...
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Your kahlua milkshakes must be pretty tame. Actually, straight scotch isn't an effective solvent for shellac. Just ask anyone who's mistakenly tried to use rubbing alcohol (70% or 140 proof) as a solvent.
Everclear, otoh, is quite effective if not really really expensive.
Humbly submtted, O'Deen
p.s. An alcohol-related non-sequiter... Even with a resale license you have to pay sales tax on denatured alcohol, if you're a woodworker using it as a solvent, because it all evaporates and is not part of the final product. Aren't those state boards of equalization a bunch of steenkers?
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Patrick Olguin wrote:

Don't know where you are but in the US "rubbing alcohol" is isopropanol, not ethanol. Different solvent.

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On Sat, 06 Nov 2004 09:49:33 -0500, J. Clarke wrote:

Plus the 30% water shure don't help the shellac. OTOH, I found 70% iPrOH to be a relatively inexpensive option for removing shellac from my hands, gloves, and brush handles. Saves the good stuff for the shellac.
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<< I found 70% iPrOH to be a relatively inexpensive option for removing shellac from my hands, gloves, and brush handles >>
Haven't tried it, but IsoHeet gasoline additive is virtually all isopropanol. Regular Heet is methanol, and probably not all that great as a shellac solvent. Might be informative if one of the shallac users in this NG could report back on the possibilities. This time of year both additives are in good supply and rather inexpensive. HTH
Joe
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Sorry about that. Didn't mean to imply they were the same solvent. I meant to underscore that even straight scotch isn't high enough concentration (nor is rubbing alcohol, which is generally 70/30 isopropyl alcohol/water) to be an effective shellac solvent. In other words, the notion that, "Omigod I can't possible put shellac on a coffee or side table because a mixed drink spilled onnit would ruin it in an instant," is pretty much a bogus old wive's tale.
There are real instances where shellac is not the best finish - fear of a spilled Harvey Wallbanger shouldn't rank near the top.
Now, back to other alcohols...Anhydrous isopropyl alcohol, however, used primarily in printing applications, can be used to thin shellac. Some find it's longer flash-off time to help in avoiding orange peel and/or "fat edge."
Humbly submitted, O'Deen
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On Sun, 07 Nov 2004 19:17:03 -0800, Patrick Olguin wrote:

omigod. A solution! Well, a solvent. Thanks, dude. I have a project set aside right now because fat edge showed up.
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