Spraying shellac

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Forum topic by john2005 posted 329 days ago 2321 views 2 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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917 posts in 803 days

329 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

Ok, how many of you spray shellac, and how do you do it. I work at a body shop and usually spray lacquer but I like the look of shellac, it just doesn’t brush/wipe on for crap. As thin as it is, I see it spraying very well. Thoughts? Ideas? Do’s? Don’ts? Thanks

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

12 replies so far

View TDSpade's profile


70 posts in 1041 days

#1 posted 329 days ago

Spraying shellac is the only way to go. This is my favorite how to video on spraying shellac.

-- For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert.

View Loren's profile


7389 posts in 2273 days

#2 posted 329 days ago

“Spray Finishing” by Andy Sharron covers the spraying of
shellac as he is real into it. I never sprayed it myself
but if you have the space and the size of the job merits
the clean-up, try it.


View NiteWalker's profile


2709 posts in 1202 days

#3 posted 329 days ago

+1 on spraying it.
Bullseye shellac is a 3# cut, sealcoat (dewaxed shellac) is a 2# cut.
I stick to the sealcoat because it’s so versatile. If I need to tint it I use transtint dyes.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Earlextech's profile


958 posts in 1315 days

#4 posted 329 days ago

Sealcoat everyday! I’m with NiteWalker.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "finished"!

View dhazelton's profile


1173 posts in 921 days

#5 posted 329 days ago

I brush it. You have to move fast but I’ve never had a problem. On an antique piece it’s the only way to go if you still want it to look like an antique.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1714 posts in 1118 days

#6 posted 328 days ago

I can apply it 2 ways: I can pad it (and french polish), and I can spray it. Since padding works best on flat areas, everything else gets sprayed. I usually mix my own (1# cut, give/take). What I like most is the easy clean up; soak the gun in some household ammonia and warm water. It destroys the shellac.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, we sent 'em to Washington.

View john2005's profile


917 posts in 803 days

#7 posted 328 days ago

Maybe thats my problem with the brushing. I am too slow.:) Next project, I think I will take to the booth and spray. Sounds like the way to go.
NiteWalker, could you please tell me what 3# and 2# cut is. Sorry for being stoopid…
Thanks guys

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View BilltheDiver's profile


228 posts in 1510 days

#8 posted 328 days ago

I think the number refers to the lbs of shellac dissolved into denatured alcohol to make a gallon. I buy the Bullseye and cut it in half with denatured alcohol for spraying. I usually wind up running it out with wax and 000 steel wool at the end.

-- "Measure twice, cut once, count fingers"

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

473 posts in 1156 days

#9 posted 328 days ago

BilltheDiver – essentially correct. Number of pounds of dry shellac dissolved into a gallon of alcohol. The end result is a bit more than a gallon. And it doesn’t have to be just denatured alcohol. Shellac dissolves (easily) in 4 different kinds of alcohol – methyl, isopropyl, ethyl and butyl. DNA is a mix of ethanol and methanol, in whatever ratio the manufacturer deems appropriate. I make mine with pure methanol, as it is the most economical available to me.

john2005, I spray it by the gallon, using a 1# or 1.5# cut. Those are quite thin weights, about the same viscosity as water, so the technique you use will be different than spraying lacquer.

Because shellac dries fast, it needs to be sprayed in fairly thin layers. As it burns in to itself like lacquer, it is pretty straightforward to build it up. But you don’t want to get too thick as that will cause crazing down the road.

Use a fairly small nozzle/needle combo – I use a 1.2mm set in an Iwata gun (LPH400-LV) but I’d go with a 1.0mm set if they made one. Very low air pressure, too, or you will have clouds of overspray.

Cleanup is easy – alcohol.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View john2005's profile


917 posts in 803 days

#10 posted 328 days ago

Thanks Mark and Bill. I know we have some 1.2 nozzles at the shop. Not too sure about a 1 though. Either way, looks like I could make this happen. Thanks again for the info!

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View mtenterprises's profile


817 posts in 1318 days

#11 posted 328 days ago

I spray shellac with my Pasche air brush using the largest tip available and I think I’m running about 25psi. Thinning is nothing fancy, pour some shellac in the jar add some alcohol and see if it sprays. If not add more alcohol until it sprays. The last project I sprayed was a turned black walnut ring holder. Shot it with about 8 thin coats and got a mirror finish, almost looks better than the rings it holds.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 738 days

#12 posted 328 days ago

We spray 1# seal coat every day (not as a top coat) 1.2 tip is nice – but I have no problem using the 1.4. Its really thin, if you can spray lacquer you can spray seal coat – just don’t try to put too much on – go thin. If it runs on you fix it while its wet – its a whole lot easier than when its dry.

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