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Shellac--how dangerous is denaturated alcohol?

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Forum topic by DrTebi posted 07-29-2009 12:55 PM 5565 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DrTebi

150 posts in 1990 days


07-29-2009 12:55 PM

Hello,

I have just mixed my first shellac from shellac flakes and denaturated alcohol tonight. Before I get back to my project and start using it, I am wondering how dangerous the fumes of the shellac mix are? The denaturated alcohol itself has quite some scary warnings on the can, I suppose these all apply the same once the shellac is mixed? Should I wear a “serious” respiratory mask? I have seen a couple of videos on applying shellac, the persons applying it wear gloves (which I will certainly do too) but no masks whatsoever.

BTW, my room is fairly well ventilated, and I am planning on using the “Padding Shellac” method described in Jeff Jewitt’s book.

Thanks,

DrTebi


7 replies so far

View Kindlingmaker's profile

Kindlingmaker

2654 posts in 2250 days


#1 posted 07-29-2009 01:57 PM

Fumes are strong and will ignite with flame. Basicly its pretty safe but always use the best saftey gear that you have and are comfortable with. Some saftey gear to pricey but lungs, eyes, ears and fingers are even more costly and really hard to replace. Always work to the safe side!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Julian's profile

Julian

880 posts in 2249 days


#2 posted 07-29-2009 01:58 PM

Alcohol isn’t that bad. You should wear a respirator IF you spray it, but you are fine if your just brushing it.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View Waldschrat's profile

Waldschrat

505 posts in 2159 days


#3 posted 07-29-2009 01:59 PM

DrTebi

I do not think you need to make serious thoughts on the fumes… as long as your shop/work area well vented is and you gloves you have, it should not be a problem. I think it is typical for american products to have “idiot” warnings and what not… one time I have een saw a garbage can with a huge list of warnings on it. One pictogram had a person head first with water as a sort of drowning warning! Which I found pretty funny.

But seriously, you should not have any problems… excecpt for the alcohol, the schellack is about as natural as you can get for a finishing product.

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

View moshel's profile

moshel

864 posts in 2407 days


#4 posted 07-29-2009 02:03 PM

As everyone said, its not too bad unless you try to drink it…. its an acquired taste :-) (DONT TRY TO DRINK IT)

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View Matt's profile

Matt

119 posts in 3140 days


#5 posted 07-29-2009 02:41 PM

I’ve worked with denatured alcohol for the past 13 years at my day job and as has been mentioned already, short of drinking it or exposing it to an open flame your only concern will be it evaporating before it’s completely applied (I wouldn’t worry about that either).

The great thing about the denatured alcohol and shellac is it dries quickly and there’s practically zero smell. I use it all the time in my basement shop.

-- Straight grains & sharp blades

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3966 posts in 2788 days


#6 posted 07-29-2009 03:18 PM

I pad shellac at the kitchen counter unit all the time. Just don’t smoke around it or drink it. They add the wood alcohol so it won’t be a temptation for drinking.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2745 days


#7 posted 07-29-2009 03:48 PM

wikis are agood place to start getting specific information on various things.
They are not always right but then again, what is?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denatured_alcohol

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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