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View Zelbar's profile

Replacement for Denatured Alcohol

by Zelbar
posted 08-28-2012 02:32 PM


38 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3589 posts in 2713 days


#1 posted 08-28-2012 03:41 PM

Have ya tried rubbing alcohol? Dunno about that, but it is worth a small trial sample.
Why no DNA in Canada? I do know that the stuff has gotten really expensive here in the states.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View HalDougherty's profile

HalDougherty

1820 posts in 1990 days


#2 posted 08-28-2012 03:57 PM

If you can’t find denatured alcohol, some junk vodka or rum (everclear is one brand) will do the trick.

-- Hal, Tennessee http://www.first285.com

View Surfside's profile

Surfside

3372 posts in 927 days


#3 posted 08-28-2012 04:03 PM

Will kerosene do the job?

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1446 days


#4 posted 08-28-2012 04:05 PM

Everclear. College was rough;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1507 posts in 1386 days


#5 posted 08-28-2012 04:11 PM

Bacardi 151 might work too.
Isn’t DNA just moonshine with an additive that makes it (more) unfit for human consumption? I wonder if ethanol 85 would work?

View ajosephg's profile

ajosephg

1860 posts in 2314 days


#6 posted 08-28-2012 04:13 PM

Rubbing alcohol will also work. What makes alcohol “denatured” is additives that are added to make it taste real bad so that folks won’t drink it.

-- Joe

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

2051 posts in 1246 days


#7 posted 08-28-2012 04:23 PM

I’ve read there was something on the Canadian laws that makes DNA very hard to buy; related the math manufacturing or such. That “thinner” from LV may be your best hope, although I’ve heard of guys using flaming rum and other drinkable alcohol products, that may cost more than what LV wants (and that price is really painful). I was grimacing the other day here in the states when I saw DNA at $15 gal, $14.50 a liter would really get my shorts in a twist!

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Zelbar's profile

Zelbar

68 posts in 2294 days


#8 posted 08-28-2012 04:32 PM

Doing some more research I have found a product called Bio Flame ethanol for fireplaces. They say it is 95% ethanol and sells for $25 for a gallon. I think I will have to give this a go as it is the best deal I seem to be able to find up here.

-- With more power you can make toothpicks faster

View OggieOglethorpe's profile

OggieOglethorpe

907 posts in 863 days


#9 posted 08-28-2012 04:37 PM

The best shellac thinner has as little water in it as possible. Remember this when considering distilled spirits or rubbing alcohols. Most of them have water in varying quantities. I occasionally use lab grade 100% isoprophyl (rubbing) when spraying shellac in some conditions, as it dries more slowly than other alcohols.

Kerosene, or other petroleum products, will not work as shellac thinner, but they make great lubricants for sanding or rubbing out dry shellac.

Also keep in mind that brushes dedicated to shellac do not need to be cleaned with solvent. When you’re done brush them on scrap ‘till they dry and put them away. Next time, dunk them in fresh shellac for a few minutes, and they’re good to go.

Personally, if I didn’t use an anhydrous product sold to dissolve shellac, I’d not risk my work screwing around with any booze other than pure grain (Everclear) 180 proof alcohol.

If it’s that much of a pain to get the correct stuff, choose another finish.

View Bsmith's profile

Bsmith

318 posts in 1423 days


#10 posted 08-28-2012 05:23 PM

Thanks for the tip Cessna. I’m finishing a project right now and wrapping/my brush in plastic to keep it wet between coats. I’ll give this a try.

-- Bryan

View crank49's profile

crank49

3524 posts in 1724 days


#11 posted 08-28-2012 05:30 PM

Due to the very weak corn crop this year we can look forward to alcohol pricing going up even more.

Rubbing alcohol can work but it must be the high concentration type. The one that’s 91% alcohol at least.

I don’t know of another solvent that will work with shellac. Pretty sure nothing petroleum based will work.
Acetone possibly.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Surfside's profile

Surfside

3372 posts in 927 days


#12 posted 08-28-2012 06:54 PM

We can import from other countries who can grow big numbers of corn crops per year. In this way we can help third world countries.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Zelbar's profile

Zelbar

68 posts in 2294 days


#13 posted 08-28-2012 07:10 PM

I pulled up the MSDS on the Bio Flame ethanol and it shows as 95% ethanol and 5% Propanol so I think I will give that a go unless some knows something about Propanol I do not.

-- With more power you can make toothpicks faster

View CplSteel's profile

CplSteel

142 posts in 917 days


#14 posted 08-28-2012 07:15 PM

Here are some choices that are pretty similar, chemically. You will see a few repeats of the suggestions made above.

The yellow HEET is easy enough to find.

View Zelbar's profile

Zelbar

68 posts in 2294 days


#15 posted 08-28-2012 07:50 PM

Thanks for the suggestions everyone

-- With more power you can make toothpicks faster

View OggieOglethorpe's profile

OggieOglethorpe

907 posts in 863 days


#16 posted 08-29-2012 12:17 AM

I think you’d be fine with the Bio Flame. The key is water, which the Bio Flame appears to lack… it makes white patches in the dried finish.

ALWAYS test on scrap…

View cutworm's profile

cutworm

1068 posts in 1546 days


#17 posted 08-29-2012 12:24 AM

According to Flexner on Finishing lacquer thinner will thin shellac but won’t dissolve it after it has hardened.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View crashn's profile

crashn

519 posts in 1218 days


#18 posted 08-29-2012 01:00 AM

you could further distill rubbing alcohol to get rid of the water, and end up with pure alcohol.

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1479 posts in 1114 days


#19 posted 08-29-2012 01:10 AM

Your inquiry really begs the question of why you want to use shellac, anyway. Alternative finishes, whether waterborne or solvent are superior.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11550 posts in 1443 days


#20 posted 08-29-2012 01:24 AM

Chemical and laboratory supply houses sell 95% ethanol (reagent grade) in 5 gal cans. Check with a HS or college science lab for their local source. Humco is one brand here in the states. I have used rubbing alcohol and it worked but made me nervous about its water content.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Zelbar's profile

Zelbar

68 posts in 2294 days


#21 posted 08-29-2012 01:40 AM

Clint

The reason I want to use the shellac is for a sealer. I do a fair bit of work with exotic woods and other finishes have trouble curing on the oily woods. I am just tired of paying the price from Lee Valley for their thinner and looking for an cheaper alternative.

gfadvm

Thanks for the suggestion.

-- With more power you can make toothpicks faster

View OggieOglethorpe's profile

OggieOglethorpe

907 posts in 863 days


#22 posted 08-29-2012 12:05 PM

Clint,

Shellac is the best barrier on the planet, it even seals in silicone contamination. It can’t be beat between waterborne and solvent components of a finishing schedule. It also does a great job as a fast drying, non-grain raising, pre-stain conditioner or MDF sealer, that doesn’t need as much special equipment to safely use.

Shellac can also speed up a process lots. For example, I don’t have a suitable spray booth for solvent products, so I prefer waterborne clear coats like ML Campbell Ultrastar, and General Finishes Enduro. I often like to add a bit of natural color to certain woods with boiled linseed oil. If I didn’t use a dewaxed shellac sealer over the oil, I’d have to wait several days, even weeks, before applying the clears.

While there are individual products that specialize in any of the above, for those in a non-production environment it’s great to have a single product that is so versatile.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile

OggieOglethorpe

907 posts in 863 days


#23 posted 08-29-2012 12:09 PM

Earl,

Check shellac.net out…

He states that in Canada, denatured alcohol is known as “methylated spirits”. Maybe your paint and hardware stores carry it?

View JimDaddyO's profile

JimDaddyO

288 posts in 1832 days


#24 posted 08-29-2012 12:12 PM

I am in Canada and I use Methyl Hydrate. Works great, get it from Home Hardware

-- I still have all my fingers

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3314 posts in 1408 days


#25 posted 08-29-2012 01:06 PM

I know a few other people posted it, but 95% grain Alcohol does in fact work. I prefer it since it is more “food safe”.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Hartmann's profile

Hartmann

38 posts in 1642 days


#26 posted 08-29-2012 01:29 PM

Methyl Hydrate is a multi-purpose and highly flammable thinner used primarily for thinning shellac. This product is not suitable for oil-based products or stains. This versatile product is also appropriate for cleaning brushes that have been used with shellac, Cleaning windows, when mixed with water, Dissolving gums, resins, and celluloid, and as fuel for fondues or marine unpressurized alcohol stoves. •99.9% Pure •Multi-purpose thinner used primarily for thinning shellac •Not suitable for oil-based products or stains •946 mL

BTW, Recochem Methyl Hydrate – 946 ml $4.19 at homedepot.ca…..

View Camero68's profile

Camero68

64 posts in 934 days


#27 posted 08-29-2012 02:28 PM

Isopropyl alcohol works for me.

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

5318 posts in 1551 days


#28 posted 08-29-2012 04:11 PM

I had the same problem and finally discovered 99% pure isopropyl at a Buckerfields, sold by the gallon. Don’t remember the price, but cheaper than the Lee Valley DNA. It works very well with my shellac, even for french polishing.

Buckerfields sells it for rubbing down horses.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View Zelbar's profile

Zelbar

68 posts in 2294 days


#29 posted 08-29-2012 07:03 PM

Lots of good options have come out of the woodwork (so to speak) I think I am going to try the Methyl Hydrate first as it is easy to get and fairly cheap. The manufacturer claims that it is to be used for thinning shellac so hopefully they know what they are talking about.

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions.

-- With more power you can make toothpicks faster

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1479 posts in 1114 days


#30 posted 08-29-2012 09:00 PM

Zelbar, Barry, et al….The points you’ve made in favor of shellac are valid, except I have never needed the qualities for which it’s favored. NC lacquer is also fast drying and gives an amber tone while beiing much more durable. I have used solvent lacquers directly over water borne latex, acrylic, and oil stains without any barrier and never had a problem. And the reference to BLO is irrelevant to me, as it’s not allowed in my shop.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View OggieOglethorpe's profile

OggieOglethorpe

907 posts in 863 days


#31 posted 08-30-2012 12:24 AM

Clint…

Have you ever used waterborne clears over solvent stains? Have you ever sprayed NC lacquer on a refinish job that’s been “cleaned” with Lemon Pledge for 25 years? That’s where shellac shines…

I love NC lacquer, but I have no place to safely spray it.

Why is BLO not allowed in your shop?

View GarageWoodworks's profile

GarageWoodworks

447 posts in 910 days


#32 posted 08-30-2012 12:49 AM

FYI Methyl hydrate is more commonly called methanol or ‘wood alcohol’.

-- Subscribe on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/GarageWoodworks?feature=guide

View Dunelm's profile

Dunelm

27 posts in 1240 days


#33 posted 08-30-2012 01:51 AM

I’m in Canada and use methyl hydrate. Several stores carry it where I live, including Rona and some of the marine supply stores. It’s less expensive than the thinner from Lee Valley.

-- Bruce -- Canada

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1676 days


#34 posted 08-30-2012 02:02 AM

Use Seagram’s 83 and throw away the shellac.
Otherwise the MH should work.

-- Life is good.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1479 posts in 1114 days


#35 posted 08-30-2012 02:17 AM

Barry….I have used both waterborne clears and solvent lacquers over cured oil/solvent stains without a problem.

All the refinishing I have done, and that’s just a hand full of jobs, started with a complete chemical stripping and thinner wash, and never ran into a problem. If shellac blocks silicone, I can see where that may be useful, but I’d look for an alternative.

I assume BLO was in some of the varnish formulations I used in the past, and may still be in the oil poly I rarely use now, but the included additives and driers keep it under control. I know it’s not in the solvent lacquers or waterbornes I prefer, so there’s no point in keeping it on the shelf. If I want a drying oil finish I turn to pure tung oil, which also has the ambering and grain emphasizing quality as well. If I really want to change the wood’s color, I use a dye or pigmented stain.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

5318 posts in 1551 days


#36 posted 08-30-2012 04:01 AM

Methyl hydrate is way to volatile for me. You have no time at all. Way too fast. IMHO

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View Zelbar's profile

Zelbar

68 posts in 2294 days


#37 posted 08-30-2012 02:13 PM

I purchased a gallon of Methyl Hydrate and will give it a go. It is cheap any ways at less than $10.00 for the gallon.

-- With more power you can make toothpicks faster

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

1881 posts in 957 days


#38 posted 09-13-2012 06:40 AM

One more one more, even if it a bit far away !!

Denatured alcohol is also known as IMS Industrial Methylated Spirit in Australia, it may be worth a try

I use IMS when I am making shellac mainly due to its low water content as opposed to normal Metho

Regards Robert Brennan

-- Regards Robert

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