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Speed up shellac dissolving?

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Forum topic by JesseTutt posted 01-28-2013 04:50 PM 877 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JesseTutt

811 posts in 863 days


01-28-2013 04:50 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shellac dissolving shellac

I am in the middle of applying shellac as a finish I just realized that I will need more shellac. Color match is not a major consideration since each item is a separate craft item and color can vary between them.

Is it possible to speed up the dissolving of shellac flakes in alcohol? I was wondering about placing the glass jar in warm water would work. If so, how warm can I make it?

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri


11 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

11478 posts in 1759 days


#1 posted 01-28-2013 04:52 PM

Warm water ought to do the trick. Just make sure its not around an open flame, that alcohol could make a real firey mess.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

2047 posts in 1246 days


#2 posted 01-28-2013 04:58 PM

You can get the water as hot as you like….realize that the warmth will evaporate some of the alcohol if your jar isn’t closed. But it’s a good way to speed things up.

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

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3570 posts in 1566 days


#3 posted 01-28-2013 05:01 PM

Speed to your local hardware store and buy some Zinssner pre-made shellac.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Swyftfeet's profile

Swyftfeet

169 posts in 924 days


#4 posted 01-28-2013 05:03 PM

5 things speed up any chemical processes ( I hesitate to call this a chemical process because
I don’t believe dissolving shellac fundamentally changes any of its properties) concentration, catalysts, surface area, heat and agitation. This is more of a physical process so we can eliminate the catalyst, and we are trying to have a specific concentration so we can eliminate that as well.

The problem with heating the alcohol will be its low evaporation temp. You’re fundamentally changing your ratios to decrease dissolve time. I don’t think this would work out unless you had a very controlled environment. If I were you, I would grind the shellac flakes into smaller pieces and then agitate the mixture…

-- Brian

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1911 days


#5 posted 01-28-2013 05:40 PM

I agree with Willie. I haven’t seen a real reason to purchase flakes. Compared to the dewaxed Sealcoat, flakes gets a little too expensive…and justs requires more work. That’s two lbs. of flakes and a gallon of DNA to equate to one gallon can of ready-to-go Sealcoat. Mixing your own with flakes costs about twice as much money as either the Sealcoat or regular Bullseye shellac.

I think shelf life issues with shellac are somewhat overblown, but I’ve never had a problem with any shellac I purchase in a can and often use it pretty quickly anyway.

I can think of one reason why I’d want shellac flakes, and that is when I want something finished entirely in shellac with the color that naturally comes from the flakes themselves. Then, I could mix only what I needed…but even so, I still keep it at a 2 lbs. cut or less so I could apply it more easily, which means that I could have just used a dye-tinted Zinsser Sealcoat in the first place and saved a bunch of money.

Maybe I just don’t get it.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

836 posts in 845 days


#6 posted 01-28-2013 07:37 PM

Warmth will speed up the dissolving process. What I’ve done is grind up the shellac flakes in a coffee grinder prior to mixing them with alcohol. You can shake/stir the shellac/alcohol mixture as well to speed things up a bit.

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1378 posts in 936 days


#7 posted 01-28-2013 09:00 PM

I have had problems with non-Sealcoat Zinnser canned shellac going bad after about 8 months or so.

I usually just shake the jar a bunch to help dissolve the flakes when I’m in more of a hurry. Not exactly the most fun thing to do, but it works.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1911 days


#8 posted 01-28-2013 09:09 PM

I can see that, Ian. But I think my point was that the expiration dates on the cans in the stores are well beyond what people deem acceptable, however, I haven’t had those products go bad prematurely because of that. In other woods, if they seal the can well without an ability to oxidize, I think there isn’t really an advantage in flakes once those flakes are mixed. Of course, the flakes keep a long time in flake form, which is certainly an advantage.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

836 posts in 845 days


#9 posted 01-28-2013 09:19 PM

The advantage of mixing your own shellac from flakes is flexibility. You can choose your cut and color. I haven’t personally used Zinnser but everything I’ve read indicates that it’s perfectly adequate.

Some alcohols dissolve shellac more quickly than others. I used the “green” Kleen Strip denatured alcohol. In the summertime it took almost 2 weeks for the shellac to fully dissolve. Then I used their regular SLX denatured alcohol and it took a day.

Now I’ve switched over to using 190 proof Everclear liquor and that dissolved the flakes in about a day.

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1378 posts in 936 days


#10 posted 01-28-2013 09:22 PM

The flakes keep forever, and you can mix exactly how much you need, and at what cut, for a project. That’s their main advantage over canned shellac, which is much more convenient. I use both Sealcoat and from-flake shellac.

The thing that sucks about shellac that goes bad is that you can’t tell until you’ve applied a coat that just stays gummy. It’s not much fun to remove.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View bhog's profile

bhog

2177 posts in 1442 days


#11 posted 01-29-2013 03:24 AM

I write the date mixed etc on the jar.If its over 3 months I will test it by blotting some on a piece of glass ,wood or whatever to double check its going to dry ,fast insurance.

I have had the best results with startex brand alcohol sold by Sherwin Williams .The other brands I have tried(many) suck.

-- I don't drive a Prius.

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