I am using Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac, which drys fast, really fast. So fast
in fact, it is difficult to rub on and get done before starting to dry,
making for a not so smooth a finish. Any way to retard drying time a little?
Doing it first thing in the morning before things heat up helps a little,
but not enough. Forget trying to do anything later in the day. Thanks.
Have you thought about spraying it on?
How big is your area that you are using this on.
Are you applying indoors or Out? Can you bring it in to cooler temps.
Shellac like lacquer will haze in humidity I assume you know that.
On lacquers I use a retarder to slow down if its hot or hazy, but I have
never done that to shellac.
Try going to an auto paint store and getting a retarder for lacquer, and
test a spot... See if it helps.
On 9/10/2011 1:29 PM, Paul wrote:
Look up on Google for better hints than this. Shellac dissolves in
ethanol. EtOH (CH3-CH2OH) evaporates rather fast. To slow this, try to
add some propanol (CH3-CH2-CH2OH), or isopropanol (CH3-CHOH-CH3). Longer
and/or more complex carbon backbone makes for higher boiling point, less
evaporation. Also diluting with EtOH or (iso)propanol, especialy for a
first sealer coat, makes things easier to apply.
See also the Bible:
Here's what the "bible" has to say:
Dissolve dry shellac flakes in denatured ethanol, which is sold in most
paint stores. It also dissolves in methanol, butyl and propyl alcohol.
Methanol will evaporate the quickest, followed by ethanol, butyl and
propyl alcohol. The last two alcohols, butyl and propyl can be added to
shellac dissolved in ethanol in small amounts to act as retarders, which
make the shellac stay wet longer for better application (like brushing).
Lacquer retarder can also be used. I do not recommend using methanol as
a solvent because it is very toxic. In some older finishing books,
methanol is referred to as wood alcohol or methylated spirits, but its
use is discouraged.
Add Life to your Days not Days to your Life.
Methanol is toxic if you really drink it instead of or mixed with ethanol.
Methanol isn't all that toxic if you handle it appropriately. I used to
work with mixtures of MeOH, chloroform, ammonia (or acetic acid), and water
as solvent for chromatography. Maybe that's why I'm the way I am now, but
My probem with methanol is that I needed it for something woodworking after
I retired, and here in NJ I can't seem to fid a store that sells it.
Strange places like big box stores - aka - Home Depot, Lowe's and the
corner hardware / lumber yard. Now for the strangest - Pharmacy and
maybe an auto part store.
On 9/11/2011 1:45 PM, Han wrote:
A few years ago I posted this tip under the title "shellac blasphemy"
and got blown out of cyberspace by this group, but I swear it works.
I was using shellac on a large surface area (built-in desk/workspace),
and it became a huge PITA applying the shellac by brush. I found that
using a 4-inch wide high density foam roller worked exceptionally
well. I could apply a coat of Zinsser's shellac over ~40 sq ft in 5
mins or less, keeping the "wet edge" concept intact. There was a
slight orange peel effect that sanded out every 2-3 coats easily. And
I could put on 6-8 coats a day.
But you have to test the batch of shellac to see if the alcohol
denaturing agent is compatible with the foam roller. Some denaturants
e.g. MEK, benzene, &tc. will dissolve the foam and make a huge mess.
All I kniw is that it worked REALLY well for me.
Any time you pad shellac you obviously need to do small areas.
On hot humid days I spray a 1 1/2# cut shellac, cut with 99% isopropyl
alcohol to retard the tendency to blush.
Might want to give that a try. You should be able to get it at any pharmacy.
IME, do NOT use the isopropyl "rubbing alcohol" as it has a higher water
1) Switch from denatured alcohol to isopropyl alcohol.
It dries more slowly.
2) Finish in the early morning, when the humidity is higher and the
temperature is lower.
3) Switch from shellac to Waterlox. (Sorry, had to do it. ;)
Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.
Buy a gallon of denatured alcohol and cut the shellac to 1 pound cut.
You will find the shellac/alcohol ratio on side of shellac can.
I use a throw away chip brush to apply.
Work fast and let the shellac have time to dry hard between
coats. Giveaway is bits of lint from the rag in your shellac.
A couple of drops of mineral, olive, or walnut oil on
the pad will stop it from sticking. Ridges or other defects
can be wet sanded out easily with 320 and paint thinner.
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