Oh, great and knowledgable guru's of finishing, please lend a word of wisdom
to this poor mortal.
I got this pound of "ultra blonde" shellac flakes from Shellac.net about a
year ago and finally made up a 2lb cut. What I got was about 2" of waxy
looking stuff in the bottom of the jar. Thought it might have been the
alcohol so tried a smaller batch with a different can of 200proof and am
getting the same thing, except this batch seems to be cloudy, as well as
having the goo in the bottom.
I assume I have a bad batch of shellac. What do you think?
"Meths" is ethanol + methanol + purple dye + pyridine.
If you search, you can easily find it undyed (even in the UK), which
is good for blonde shellac. If you search harder (and sign paperwork)
you can get it without the pyridine, which avoids the horrible smell.
If you live outside the UK and our alcohol-funded tax system, then you
can afford to buy strong drinking alcohol like Everclear or some
vodkas. These work fine and are less toxic - even methanol fumes are
a nuisance on a hot day in a small volume.
If it's hot weather, especially for a dyed shellac like piano or
coffin black, then try replacing some of the ethanol with isopropanol
(isopropyl alcohol) instead. This is less volatile and allows a
longer working time. Black can be like treacle in this heat.
In the UK, you can buy isopropanol OTC from Boots, but they've
recently started getting suspicious about it, because it's a precursor
to Sarin. It's a precursor to almost every industrial chemical process
in the 20th century, but don't let rationality get in the way of the
great easter-egg hunt.
I have used industrial grade methanol for years. Just be careful of
the fumes, I use it outdoors wherever possible.
Here in NZ, Isopropanol is used (AFAIK !) for the illegal manufacture
of some drugs. Speed I think? So ordering large quantities, (n x
200liter drums) and fitting the druggie profile will get you a visit
from the fuzz. I suspect that you have no problems with a WW shop.
I think you need to shake it up. About once an hour for a day or two.
Thinner cuts dissolve faster, as do flakes that have been pulverized into
powder, but I think it will be just fine, eventually...
Shellac takes a while to prepare, which can be thought of as a pain to deal
with... and dries so fast that it might seem like a pain to deal with... but
when it's finally applied correctly, the result will take your breath away.
Which is way too cool for pain of any kind...
Michael Latcha - at home in Redford, MI
I think you have some very sleepy shellac. Take it to bed with you the
next couple nights, keep it under the covers so it gets nice and warm,
and in a few nights it will be rested enough to behave properly.
Seriously, have you tried a warm (100 F) bath of water to get the
process moving? Almost all of my shellac flakes have required a couple
hours on the stove in a pan of warm water and a VERY low temp setting
to completely dissolve.
Careful now ...
Headline in Denver newspaper: "Resident Tracked Through UseNet and Sued For
In this day and age you can bet there are plenty stupid enough to try that
on a gas stove, and plenty of hungry lawyers around to make the headline a
Don't artificially heat the mixture. Set it in a sunny window and shake
it up every day until the solids are all dissolved. It can take a week
or more, but as others have said, the wait is worth it. Also try the
other grades: Orange, Buttonlac, Seedlac and Garnetlac for really nice
colors. Blonde is pretty much only used where you don't want any color
at all. You can also tint it with alchohol soluble dyes, but they may
not be colorfast in sunlight.
Sounds as if your batch may have aged prematurely, all right. Key is the
cloudy condition. If it persists rather than separating rapidly along a
line of clear demarcation, your shellac may have begun the process of
esterfication. If a clear demarcation line is present, decant and use the
top stuff on a piece of scrap. Should dry to the touch in a few minutes.
If it stays tacky - out with it!
On Fri, 23 Dec 2005 22:31:18 -0600, with neither quill nor qualm, "Dr.
Only if the stuff has been in a warm environment, Deb.
When I make up shellac, it's done in a canning jar with lid and
set in a pan of warm water with the lid loose. I tighten the lid
after a few minutes and shake it up, repeating until the water is
cool and the shellac dissolved. Try that, and in the morning, if
it's still cloudy, the shellac had wax or the alcohol had water in
it. With two different sources of alky, the problem looks to be in
the bug spit itself.
Contact the vendors and see what they have to say. They'll probably
send another batch to you.
In the interim, decant the clear shellac off the top and use it on
a piece of scrap to test the drying properties.
Merry Christmas Eve!
Buy yourself a "very cheap" coffee grinder and let the machine
make the shellac into very little pieces. This will help in the
On this batch...warm it, shake it, repeat, until it's ready to
It will work ....
Dr. Deb wrote:
On Tue, 27 Dec 2005 21:44:52 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm, Pat
Bloody top-posters, anyway. <tsk tsk tsk>
I took the scientific method, using a screwdriver handle to my Super
Blonde flakes and they broke up/powderized pretty quickly. It was
fairly thin to begin with. Alas, Paddy don't play dat no mo.
<sniffle, sob, honk>
I survived the D.C. Blizzard of 2000...from California.
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