I like to do a light (1 lb.) shellac sealer coat on fumed wood to help bring out the color after fuming. So since I’m going to be fuming my sgian dubh presentation box, I thought I’d make mixing up my shellac one of my projects this past weekend.
When mixing shellac from flakes, I always mix in smaller batches, just because I don’t use a lot of shellac over a six month period, being a small-project woodworker. So I usually mix a one or two pound cut in a small, 10 oz. water bottle. In order to keep it from “burning” (not dissolving properly), you have to swirl or shake the shellac/alcohol mixture every 15 minutes for several hours until the shellac is completely dissolved.
This weekend, I tried something different. I mixed my shellac just before I went out to mow the lawn. Then I tied a short piece of cotton rope to the neck of the water bottle and tied the other end to my belt. Every time I took a step, the bottle hit my right leg and “shook” a little. Every time I stopped to empty my clippings bag (about every 15 minutes), I swirled the shellac for 30 seconds or so. After an hour and a half (.477 acre lawn w/a push mower), my shellac was completely dissolved AND the lawn was mowed.
Oh, and then I grabbed a sharpie and wrote the date, cut, and type (garnet, in case you’re wondering) of shellac in the bottle. After six months, I’ll toss whatever I haven’t used – generally not very much.
If you’re interested in trying some really good shellac, but don’t want to get shellac’d on the price (hehe!), check out www.shellacfinishes.biz. Vijay runs a one-man shellac shop, importing it directly from India. I believe the shellac is processed into flake form by members of his family in India. He has a sampler pack of garnet, orange, super blonde, and beige (4 oz. each) for about $14. If you already know what you like, a one lb bag runs anywhere between $12 and $15, depending upon the variety.
-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com