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How do you know your shellac has gone bad.

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Forum topic by PASs posted 06-08-2014 03:09 PM 843 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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PASs

573 posts in 1842 days


06-08-2014 03:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question resource finishing shellac sealing polishing pndswipes pndselling

I use the Zissner sealcoat type shellac.
I buy the gallon can.
I pour about a pint in a flip-top glass jar where it sits with an acid brush and piece of rag in it until I want to wipe it on to finish a project.
On most of my projects where I use the shellac is is just a sealer. I put it on, let it set for a few seconds and wipe the excess off while it’s still wet.
Then I polish it with the Beall Buff ensuring any excess shellac is polished off in the first stage.
If the shellac in the jar gets a little thick I cut it with denatured alcohol.

So, I will I know when the shellac isn’t doing what I want it to do, to seal the wood grain prior to polishing.
It takes me about two years to use up a gallon (so far.)

Appreciate any info, and would appreciate even more if you can identify your sources.
Personal experience is good too.

Thanks,
Pete

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."


13 replies so far

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1378 posts in 927 days


#1 posted 06-08-2014 03:29 PM

When I’ve had bad shellac it just takes forever to dry. If you put on a coat and it’s still gummy 10 minutes later, it’s time to toss it (or just use it to seal the end-grain of rough lumber). 2 years might be pushing it, though the Zinnser SealCoat seems to last longer than their heavier-cut shellac.

I buy the quart cans of SealCoat or mix mine from flakes so I don’t have to worry about using up the full gallon.

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

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

2031 posts in 1237 days


#2 posted 06-08-2014 03:31 PM

That’s the thing, the drying really slows down. If I question whether shellac is good, I’ll put a drop on a piece of glass (or non pourous surface, so none of it gets absorbed) and see if it sets up in 20 minutes or so.

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

View PASs's profile

PASs

573 posts in 1842 days


#3 posted 06-08-2014 03:47 PM

Soooo, if the shellac is bad even thinning it with alcohol won’t speed up the drying?
For me that would mean a sticky texture to the wood.
Then I’m fine (for now.)
Thanks for the feedback…now gotta go shellac some coin displays.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

View woodchuckerNJ's profile

woodchuckerNJ

896 posts in 377 days


#4 posted 06-08-2014 04:06 PM

Why do you wipe off the excess?
Thin it for a sealer and let it dry.
As far as when it goes bad, like everyone says. It should dry in 10 minutes, 20 at most.

I thin seal coat, I don’t use it straight. I always build slowly.

-- Jeff NJ

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

2031 posts in 1237 days


#5 posted 06-08-2014 04:26 PM

If it’s bad, it’s not a solvable problem…it’s only use is to start a fire.

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

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1320 days


#6 posted 06-08-2014 07:39 PM

When shellac goes bad it won’t dry.

The zinsser shellac and sealcoat (dewaxed shellac; I love that stuff) have a shelf life of 3 years from the date of manufacture. Don’t store it in a hot environment; it decreases the shelf life. Using sealcoat, you shouldn’t need to thin it since it’s a 2lb cut, but if desired 50/50 with dna works fine.

Since sealcoat isn’t available locally for me any more, I had to buy a 2 gallon pack from homedepot. When it gets here I stir it and transfer it into quart plastic jars and only bring one down to the shop at a time; the rest are stored in the pantry in the house.

Re: application; I spray it and sometimes wipe it on. If you have to wipe excess off, you’re applying it incorrectly. Shellac doesn’t like to be applied thickly.

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

View PASs's profile

PASs

573 posts in 1842 days


#7 posted 06-08-2014 07:49 PM

woodchuckerNJ,
I wipe the excess off because most of my projects are polished with the Beall System.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7928 posts in 2796 days


#8 posted 06-09-2014 03:44 AM

I just put it on, thin coats, when dry (20 min or so), light scuff with 330 grit, and keep going until I like how it built up… Finish with a light scuff 400+ grit.

Yep, if it doesn’t dry, it’s over & out.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1320 days


#9 posted 06-09-2014 03:54 AM

Joe, that’s the same process I use for applying sealcoat, though I don’t hit it with 400 if a waterborne clear coat is going over it.

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

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7928 posts in 2796 days


#10 posted 06-09-2014 05:26 AM

The ONLY thing I usually put over shellac is wax… nothing more…
Shellac is a rugged hard finish that holds up good… IMHO.

I love Shellac…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1320 days


#11 posted 06-09-2014 11:44 AM

Joe, while I agree shellac is a hard finish, it’s not very rugged to anything exposed to moisture or even sunlight.

I love it too, but for different reasons (fast drying, great sealing properties, works great as a toner, etc.).

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

View Roger's profile

Roger

15261 posts in 1547 days


#12 posted 06-11-2014 12:46 PM

Interesting questions, and lotsa good answers. I’m learning as well.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

4467 posts in 1123 days


#13 posted 06-11-2014 03:31 PM

I use Zinsser and have never had a can go bad to the point where I stopped using it. The can I’m using now is several years old at least and still dries just fine, I added a little fresh DNA to it.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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