I want to finish a recent project using orange shellac, dissolved at
home. Purchasing flakes locally is somewhat expensive (the cost, gas,
time), about $25 for a pound at Woodcraft. Alternatively, I could buy
5 pounds of top-quality flakes online for $100 and have a supply, but
that may take 10 years or so to use. Has anyone used old dewaxed
flakes without any issues? If so, how did you store the flakes? In
a refrigerated glass jar?
I have heard that unmixed you should not have over a 1 year supply and of
course don't mix more than you can use ina relatively short period of time.
I think I would give up the 25% savings and go with what you need right now.
If any of the 5 #'s goes bad, you likely will be in the hole.
Here's an excerpt from an article on shellac by Jeff Jewitt. He, by the
way, sells finishing supplies (Homestead Finishing Products) and most of
the time I've called to order something, Jeff answers the phone and will
give you advice. He sells high quality shellac by the pound.. I like
buying the dry stuff because you can mix up just the amount you need and
save the rest without it going bad for a long time..
"Dry shellac flakes store indefinitely under proper conditions, but contrary
to what you may hear, it won't store forever. Given enough time, especially
under hot, wet conditions, dry shellac reacts with itself to form polymers
that are insoluble in alcohol. Shellacs that have been dewaxed are more
prone to this. You can extend the usable life of dry shellac flakes by
storing them after purchase in a cool, dry area -- a refrigerator is best. A
test for suspected old shellac is easy -- simply dissolve the flakes in
alcohol. Most shellacs should be totally dissolved within three days. If you
see a gelatinous mass after this time, the shellac is past its usable life
and should be discarded (don't confuse natural wax with this). If you just
purchased it, return it to the company you bought it from. Sometimes in
summer months, shellac will cake together. This is known in the industry as
"blocking" and is not a sign of bad shellac. Break up the shellac with a
hammer and dissolve it in alcohol as usual."
Maybe one of these sources is a better option? Shipping will be sort
of expensive but there's less time and no gas expense.
Why bother with flakes? Get the stuff in a can pre mixed. You can
cut it with alcohol too and has a 3 year shelf life.
There is a video by the "Wood Whisperer" at his web site that explains
how to use it, cut it, etc.
There is one difference. The flakes are non-toxic when the alcohol has
evaporated - or before if you use Everclear :-). The Zinsser stuff has
an additive that apparently does make it toxic, although that may or may
not be true after it dries..
For most stuff it doesn't make any difference, but for childrens toys or
stuff that might come into contact with food, I prefer the flakes.
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw
I keep my stash wrapped up tight in plastic storage bags in a cardboard
box. I don't know how many years I've had the flakes now, and they
dissolve just as well as they did when new. Keep them dry and away from
heat, and they should last forever.
The difference in quality between making up your own shellac from flakes
and buying the pre-mixed stuff is worth the effort and expense. Think
hand-crafted microbrew vs. warm Miller Lite from a can. It is my favorite
finish - quick drying, forgiving, and beautiful.
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