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Shellac - Flakes vs Canned?

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Forum topic by gfadvm posted 229 days ago 1036 views 1 time favorited 43 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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gfadvm

10737 posts in 1323 days


229 days ago

What are the advantages to mixing your own shellac vs just buying the ready to use Zinsser Bullseye or Sealcoat?

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


43 replies so far

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

4903 posts in 1475 days


#1 posted 229 days ago

From a great review of finishes by Charles Neil. Shellac in can is suppose to last only about 6 months. You can mix flakes in any proportion you want and in as small an amount as you like.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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Loren

7431 posts in 2281 days


#2 posted 229 days ago

The Zinsser keeps for a couple of years from my observation.

Some finer shellacs are only available in flakes. For everyday
shellacking I use the stuff in the can as it’s a good cut of
shellac for the money and keeps ok.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View JL7's profile

JL7

7127 posts in 1598 days


#3 posted 229 days ago

Agree with Doc, buy the flakes and mix small batches….I wrap some black tape around the jar lid also…...

-- Jeff - I have not failed. I've just found 10,002 ways that won't work.

View woodenwarrior's profile

woodenwarrior

131 posts in 828 days


#4 posted 229 days ago

I like using Tiger Flake garnet shellac. I really think the finish is better with flake versus canned. It lays out smoother and buffs out easier than Zinsser does. The ability to mix your own in any cut and in any amount is a really nice benefit. In the end, flakes end up being cheaper than canned shellac.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View rance's profile

rance

4130 posts in 1793 days


#5 posted 229 days ago

You can also mix flakes to a thinner consistency which folks do sometimes for that first coat. That way it will soak in a bit more. And yes, the shelf life of mixed Shellac is short.

By the way, did you know that Shellac was made from the secretions from the female Lac bug? If it were from the male Lac bug, they would have called it Hellac.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View toddbeaulieu's profile

toddbeaulieu

389 posts in 1637 days


#6 posted 229 days ago

I’ve read similar,, but I don’t think it as that short of a period. Regardless, the concensus is that from the moment you add alcohol the shellac starts to degrade, so if you’re not turning it over quickly you should consider flakes.

You can thin premix just as easily, though.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1426 posts in 994 days


#7 posted 229 days ago

No advantage either way. Shellac is unnecessary.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

View BuckI's profile

BuckI

49 posts in 1781 days


#8 posted 229 days ago

Where do you guys buy the shellac flakes from? I bought some flakes from Rockler and haven’t used them yet-thanks for any help.

-- Kevin, Ohio

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toddbeaulieu

389 posts in 1637 days


#9 posted 229 days ago

That’s where I’ve gotten mine so far. Be aware that that flakes also come in color and wax.

View dawsonbob's profile

dawsonbob

381 posts in 388 days


#10 posted 229 days ago

Does amber shellac come in de-waxed, too, or would you have to add some dye to get de-waxed back to an amber color?

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10737 posts in 1323 days


#11 posted 229 days ago

Thanks for all the quick answers. I’ll look into the different flakes available. I really thought that being able to choose a color/tint would enter into this discussion?
What does garnet shellac look like?

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

View Lewis Landry's profile

Lewis Landry

10 posts in 246 days


#12 posted 229 days ago

Here’s another tidbit about Zissner shallac… Yesterday I thought I smelled something all day while working in my shop. The smell just kept getting stronger as the day wore on. Late in the day I reached for a cabinet scraper and noticed something dripping from the cabinet. Yep, the Zissner Shallac (nearly full can) had sprung a leak. What a mess. MS wouldn’t touch it. Had to use Acetone for the clean up. This is the second time for me in a couple of years that a can of Zissner shellac broke out of its can. Had two cans. Both went into the garbage. Additionally, the shop is heated 24/7 so can’t blame freeze/thaw. Bye bye

View Lewis Landry's profile

Lewis Landry

10 posts in 246 days


#13 posted 229 days ago

Here’s another tidbit about Zissner shallac… Yesterday I thought I smelled something all day while working in my shop. The smell just kept getting stronger as the day wore on. Late in the day I reached for a cabinet scraper and noticed something dripping from the cabinet. Yep, the Zissner Shallac (nearly full can) had sprung a leak. What a mess. MS wouldn’t touch it. Had to use Acetone for the clean up. This is the second time for me in a couple of years that a can of Zissner shellac broke out of its can. Had two cans. Both went into the garbage. Additionally, the shop is heated 24/7 so can’t blame freeze/thaw. Bye bye

View Loren's profile

Loren

7431 posts in 2281 days


#14 posted 229 days ago

FYI:

Zinsser is a 2 lb. cut generally. That’s 8 oz of shellac
to the quart.

When you figure in shipping on shellac flakes, it’s
not a bad deal since it can be got at hardware
stores easily. If you don’t use shellac often or
on larger pieces, mixing it from flakes can be
economical.

Denatured alcohol has a cost too. A gallon of
2lb. cut mix-it-yourself flake shellac is likely to
run $50 ($15 per lb shellac + $5 shipping, $15
gallon of alcohol) or more when you crunch the
numbers.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Loren's profile

Loren

7431 posts in 2281 days


#15 posted 229 days ago

You can dewax shellac yourself but I don’t know how to
bleach it. The super-blonde grades are in the $30/lb
range (plus shipping) and the ambering of the work
is not too much. It looks and sounds great on spruce
guitar soundboards. The color is just slightly warm.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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