SOMEBODY left a full quart can of Zinzer's shellac in a precarious and
metastable position in my shop. Gravity won, the lid failed.
Now I've got a quart of shellac on the linoleum floor in my small
shop, which has sat a day or two. I've soaked up all the still-liquid
phase that I can, but there's a big mess of tacky to dried shellac.
Aside from the obvious solution (pun?) of soaking the spill in
alcohol, is there a better way?
Any help appreciated.
The first thing I'd try is to let it dry completely and then use a
cabinet scraper with a very slight hook to chip it off the lino. It
shouldn't have soaked in...
After that, I'd use denatured ethyl to dissolve it and mop it up. Full
ventilation, with fan(s) running.
Either you're talking about some mysterious synthetic "shellac" or
you're dealing with liquid shellac that's already dissolved in alcohol
(taking advantage of the fact that alcohol is miscible in acetone),
otherwise I'd have to take issue with that statement.
I spent many years messing around with automotive and marine finishing
products, and in that time I'd concluded that acetone and/or lacquer
thinner were the granddaddy of all finishing solvents. Except for some
of the fancier catalyzed polyurethane or epoxies, you could even use
acetone to dissolve and remove most other cured finishes. I kept
copious amounts of lacquer thinner around the shop; there was no job it
couldn't tackle! That is, until I started turning my attention towards
There'd been a few pieces of old furniture I'd tried to strip and
refinish, first with lacquer thinner, then with various paint strippers
when the lacquer thinner didn't work. What the hell; why won't this
crap come off?! I still remember the day (on probably my third piece of
old furniture, when faced with resorting to sandpaper AGAIN) that I
realized this was no ordinary finish, this was shellac! When I began to
apply a generous helping of denatured alcohol, the heavens parted, the
light shone down upon the workpiece, and the shellac was melted away.
Hallelujah! Is there nothing alcohol can't do? :-)
Incidentally, I was on my way out to the shop when I read your post, and
thinking maybe I'd lost my mind again I decided to drop a small chunk of
garnet shellac into a jar of acetone. After an hour and a half... nothing.
See Nad. See Nad go. Go Nad!
To reply, eat the taco.
Also, if the floor really IS linoleum (unlikely, but possible) there's
asphalt in it, and acetone will hurt the floor. Maybe it's really
Instead of dissolving quick, you might consider dissolving agents
that don't evaporate or create a fire hazard. Start with some
then quickly pour a little glycerine on it. Glycerine is a heavy
it (eventually) dissolves most things that are alcohol-soluble, but it
evaporate in minutes, so you can wipe it up at leisure. Some
cellulose-type cat litter spread on the oily glycerine gunk, then
moved around and swept up, can be a good cleaning strategy.
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