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Shellac - Flakes vs Canned?

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Forum topic by gfadvm posted 01-12-2014 02:20 AM 1131 views 1 time favorited 43 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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gfadvm

11237 posts in 1379 days


01-12-2014 02:20 AM

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

5101 posts in 1531 days


#1 posted 01-12-2014 02:25 AM

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

7734 posts in 2337 days


#2 posted 01-12-2014 02:28 AM

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

7274 posts in 1654 days


#3 posted 01-12-2014 02:28 AM

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 883 days


#4 posted 01-12-2014 02:29 AM

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

4142 posts in 1849 days


#5 posted 01-12-2014 02:29 AM

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

391 posts in 1693 days


#6 posted 01-12-2014 02:29 AM

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

1474 posts in 1050 days


#7 posted 01-12-2014 02:32 AM

No advantage either way. Shellac is unnecessary.

-- 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 BuckI's profile

BuckI

49 posts in 1837 days


#8 posted 01-12-2014 02:38 AM

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

391 posts in 1693 days


#9 posted 01-12-2014 02:44 AM

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 444 days


#10 posted 01-12-2014 02:47 AM

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

11237 posts in 1379 days


#11 posted 01-12-2014 02:49 AM

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 302 days


#12 posted 01-12-2014 02:50 AM

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

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Lewis Landry

10 posts in 302 days


#13 posted 01-12-2014 02:52 AM

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

7734 posts in 2337 days


#14 posted 01-12-2014 02:53 AM

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

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Loren

7734 posts in 2337 days


#15 posted 01-12-2014 02:57 AM

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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