what am I doing wrong with shellac flakes?

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Forum topic by knotsofast posted 12-24-2016 02:28 AM 1038 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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28 posts in 1848 days

12-24-2016 02:28 AM

I have mixed up several batches now and applied them and every coat ends up with a gritty finish, like I applied liquid sand paper on. I am using fresh new can of sunny side DNA, fresh shellac flakes from shellac net, now 2 weeks old,but sealed in 2 ziploc bags. flakes melt 75% in the first 2 hours after mixing and I have been leaving them to the next day before use. When I shake up jar flakes are all gone, but you still can see the grit on sides of jar. the first batch I mixed 2 weeks ago still has grit in jar when you shake it, so I am assuming it has had enough time to melt if it was a time issue. Yes I am using clean jars and cups,etc….I have tried the coffee grinder thing, with a brand new grinder(waste of money they melt the same rate for me) and I strained shellac into a fresh new jar after mixing with the filter that shellac net sent with my order, and the grit was able to get through. so tripped it up I strained through the filter that had 2 layers if the finest straining cloth the paint store had laid in it and then put cheese cloth on top of that and I still have a gritty shellac in the jar !!!! I ordered 3 different color flakes , one for current project, and the other 2 to experiment with and have on hand for possible next projects. I mixed a batch of each of those two to see if maybe the flakes for current project was just bad, and they yielded the exact same result.

14 replies so far

View Rich's profile


3883 posts in 792 days

#1 posted 12-24-2016 04:19 AM

Have you contacted They are pretty much the premier source. I’ve never had a problem using Behlen Super Blonde.

It’s pricier, but the real shellac pros suggest using Everclear instead of denatured alcohol due to its purity.

At a minimum, I’d buy a fresh can of denatured alcohol, and make sure not to get anything that’s “green” or eco-friendly.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Aj2's profile


1881 posts in 2000 days

#2 posted 12-24-2016 04:29 AM

I get my shellac from the shellac shack.Super blonde and button lac.The button lac has wax and and is not as refined as the super blonde.But no grit and dries very hard.
So my point is your shellac is not very good.
Sorry for the bad news.


-- Aj

View TheFridge's profile


10744 posts in 1688 days

#3 posted 12-24-2016 05:47 AM

I’ve decanted the good stuff off and threw the rest out. I also don’t shake before use.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View GlenintheNorth's profile


244 posts in 739 days

#4 posted 12-24-2016 12:29 PM

Perhaps strain with a coffee filter?

-- MFia-made man. But that doesn't mean I don't dig my 45. Minneapolis/St. Paul, burbs.

View knotsofast's profile


28 posts in 1848 days

#5 posted 12-24-2016 12:41 PM

I will contact shellac net. As I wrote before, I am using fresh new DNA ,I’ll bet shellac net tells me my flakes are not bad. I have to admit they probably would be right, if they are the premiere source they most likely would not send 3 pounds of 3 different colors that were bad . I will try applying without stirring,

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5177 posts in 2696 days

#6 posted 12-24-2016 01:51 PM

Is it possible the “gritty finish” is raised grain? The alcohol has some water in it, and will raise grain, though it’s significantly less than a water borne finish or dye. Try this: sand the first coat smooth, and then apply another coat of shellac. If the second goat is also gritty, it has to be the shellac. just a thought…...

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

View jdmaher's profile


439 posts in 2782 days

#7 posted 12-24-2016 02:22 PM

After flakes are dissolved, I always pour my shellac thru a fine paint filter into a fresh mason jar. I have not had a problem with grit.

Merry Christmas!

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View bondogaposis's profile


5093 posts in 2554 days

#8 posted 12-24-2016 02:59 PM

Yes, strain through a paint filter.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3850 days

#9 posted 12-24-2016 05:46 PM

Strain it. I’ve had shellac that did weird things too.

I use scrap fabric, t-shirt or whatever.

View knotsofast's profile


28 posts in 1848 days

#10 posted 12-25-2016 04:49 AM

It’s not raised grain, and I did strain it with filter,lined with the finest paint straining cloth paint store had and with cheese cloth. Still got grit through into clean new jar.

View OSU55's profile


1972 posts in 2192 days

#11 posted 12-25-2016 05:03 AM

No idea. Get my flakes from shellac shack, use dna from the box store, and never had such an issue. 1st coat is “gritty” from raised grain, but you are sure that isnt it.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5177 posts in 2696 days

#12 posted 12-25-2016 01:45 PM

So if you put some on glass to dry it’s also gritty? I did catch that you strained it, that’s why I’m questioning whether it’s the shellac.

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

View EricTwice's profile


246 posts in 736 days

#13 posted 12-25-2016 04:33 PM

It sounds like you’ve picked up a contaminate of some sort.

1)Don’t shake it, stir gently but not thoroughly. Just a little, to make sure all that will dissolve has done so. let stand 24 hours
2) pour off that which has not settled. Put in a clear container,
3)leave for another 48 hour and see if anything else has settled. If yes, repeat step 2
Repeat steps 2 and 3 until it remains clear.

this should do it, but if you are still coming up with grit, filter it through a couple of layers of clean rag t-shirt material (put filter material over top of a mason jar, hold in place with a rubber-band)

make sure you finish area is dust free
clean your brushes and spray equipment

-- nice recovery, They should pay extra for that mistake, Eric E.

View knotsofast's profile


28 posts in 1848 days

#14 posted 12-28-2016 04:49 PM

As soon as I am well enough I am going to follow your suggestion Eric. I’m battling the worst flu I’ve ever experienced, so I still have several batches that have had some time to settle.

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